This amazing Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken has the most lip smacking good marinade and gets smoked on the grill over mesquite to a sticky sweet goodness. This is perfect for any cook out, potluck or weeknight dinner.
What is Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken?
I’m telling you this will be a new favorite if you’ve never tried it before! I even love to make extra and chop it up and serve in a salad sometimes.
Huli-Huli Chicken is one of those great, classic Hawaiian treats. The story goes that in 1955, Ernest Morgado of Pacific Poultry barbecued his version of teriyaki chicken for a gathering of farmers. The chicken ended up being such a hit, it became a favorite at Hawaiian fundraisers, raising perhaps millions of dollars over the years for local schools, softball teams and hula groups.
The chicken was cooked between two grills and the grills had to be flipped over. Since “huli” is the Hawaiian word for turn, thus the name Huli-Huli Chicken came about.
What’s in Huli Huli sauce?
Pineapple juice, pineapple chunks, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, sherry, honey, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, Sriracha get puréed in a blender. I often times use or sambal oelek chili paste as a Sriracha substitute, but any Asian chili paste will do.
What does huli huli mean?
Basically it means “turn turn” as on the grill. Flipping the marinated chicken and basting it with the huli huli sauce adds layers of wonderful flavors.
I like to add pineapple chunks to the marinade, and even after a blitz in the blender, it still leaves little pieces that cling to the chicken and add to the caramelization when grilling.
I love those little bits and flavor pops!
What do your serve with Huli Huli Chicken?
I serve this Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken alongside steamed rice. I also slice up the remaining pineapple not used in the marinade and grill it. The pineapple caramelizes nicely bring out even more sweetness and a fantastic grill flavor even if you don’t use mesquite wood chips. Enjoy!
Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken
- 4 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup sherry
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger , grated
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp Sriracha (or Sambal Oelek chili paste)
- In a blender add the pineapple juice, pineapple chunks, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, sherry, honey, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, Sriracha and pulse several times. Reserve 1 1/2 cups for basting.
- Place chicken in a resealable bag or container. Pour the marinade over, squeeze air out and seal. Refrigerate over night.
- Preheat grill to medium-high (350°F) OR set up and light the smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat it to medium (350°F).
- Place chicken on cleaned grill and baste with reserved marinade. Grill chicken for 6 minutes per side, covered. After 3 minutes turn each piece a quarter turn for cross grill marks. Flip over, baste again and continue cooking. You want to check and have an internal temperature of 165°F.