Huli Huli Chicken
This Hawaiian favorite discourages even the most adventurous grillers. We wanted to adapt the recipe so everyone could enjoy this chicken.
Why This Recipe Works
Authentic Huli Huli Chicken is continually basted with a sticky-sweet sauce and “huli"-ed, which means “turned" in Hawaiian. We wanted to find a way to make this sweet, smoky, burnished bird at home. For the teriyaki-like sauce, we developed a version with soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, chili sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and lots and lots of pineapple juice—reduced until it was thick, glossy, and sweet. To mimic a Hawaiian rotisserie, we used a moderate number of coals spread in a single layer over the entire grill. The direct heat rendered the fat and crisped the skin, but the chicken was far enough from the coals to avoid burning. Most Huli Huli Chicken recipes instruct cooks to marinate the chicken in the sauce, but with so much sugar, it burned every time we grilled the chicken. Our solution was to use only soy sauce, water, and sautéed garlic and ginger as a brine. We grilled the chicken skin-side up to render the fat, and then turned it skin-side down to finish cooking and to crisp the skin (just one turn sufficed).