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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Thursday, September 23, 2004

huli huli chicken mmmmmmmm good

one of the many things i remember about being stationed in hawaii was the huli huli chicken road side fund raisers. i'd get in my car, drive around with the top down, and sniff the air until i found one. one what? one huge ass trailer bbq full of mesquite coals and rotiseries full of chicken. pure heaven. schools and civic organizations rent the trailer/bbq, buy all their chicken from the same company, who also makes the marinade, and volunteers man the fires. if you've lived in hawaii, you know what i'm talking about. if you haven't, you can try my huli huli chicken recipe for a taste of the islands. i went begging for this recipe, and it tastes exactly they way i remember the roadside stands. mmmmmmm.

couple of chickens cut up for the grill, or 3 or 4 lbs of chicken breasts.
1/2 cup of frozen pineapple concentrate (really, and using regular juice doesn't cut it)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup catsup ( yeah, catsup. hawaii IS part of the U.S. ya know)
1 knob/finger of fresh ginger grated fine
couple of cloves of garlic, crushed. (to taste..my recipe card says 1, i use 3)
3 tablespoons of brown sugar

non food items:
  • mesquite charcoal, or better yet, mesquite chunks soaked for at least an hour in water before use. toss them on when coals are ready. the hawaiians have a different name for mesquite, but that's the wood they use to bbq this stuff with. honest.

  • bbq mop or a big paint brush. big. 4 inches or so big

mix all the ingredients up and marinade the chicken for at least 1/2 hour before cooking. i use ziploc bags. wonderful invention.
get the coals fired up. when you are ready to cook, toss on the mesquite chunks, and drop the chicken on the grill.
huli huli means turn over turn over (really). so here's how you cook this gem. once the chicken is on the grill, you mop it with the marinade, let it sit 5 minutes, then turn it over, and mop again. continue until the chicken is done, or you run out of marinade. if you run out of marinade first, keep turning the chicken every 5 minutes until done, or the brown sugar will burn.

this stuff is killer.

you can also do this in an electric rotiserie. every 10 minutes or so, baste the previously marinated bird with more marinade until done/out of marinade. you will thank me in the morning.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

im gonna try your recipe. thanks for posting it. i figure i can trust a fellow sailor, even if your a sewerpipe sailor. lol. once again thanks. drpsync@aol.com

12/16/05, 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ran acroos this recipe and I gave it a try.....really really good! I grew up in Hawaii my dad was a Marine pilot. I have memories of the huli huli chicken sales...I sold may fare share of it.

I sent it to my parents too, they loved it. My dad was happy to hear that it was a fellow service man who posted the recipe.

Thanks for sharing,

Kelley F.

3/18/07, 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lived in Hawaii from 6th to 8th grade. I know of this chicken and loved it.

Thanks for posting up the recipe.

3/31/07, 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aloha from Alaska. Gave this recipe a try after watch a movie with my kids. Everybody loved it. Thanks alot!!

6/9/07, 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too love the Huli Huli. I havemade a variation which is quite good.
Chicken thigh meat only
Hoisen sauce
Wasabi Soy sauce
brown sugar
pinch of cumin
pinch of curry
sea salt
squeeze of orange.
top chicken with sweet onion and let it all marinatge for 5 hours.

7/6/07, 3:50 PM  
Blogger TekBandit said...

Big Aloha! and Much Mahalo for posting this recipe! I was born and raised in Hawaii but have since moved to Minnesota. I have been looking for this recipe all over.

8/1/07, 10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mahalo nui loa for the Huli Huli recipe. I too, lived in Hawaii-- Kaneohe---and loved the Huli Huli chicken. I visit the islands frequently-and no huli-huli chicken anywhere! Very disappointing...so found your recipe and made it the night after our return. Guess what I'm making for my next dinner party? Mahalo again. Shari

8/23/07, 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What memories this brought back. There was a Catholic school just off the LikiLiki heading towards K-bay. The smell was cruel and unusual punishment. They wrapped it up in a plastic bag. It was hard not to break it out before I got back to base. Not bad for a Nuke.

11/17/07, 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aaaaaaaahhhh...huli huli chicken. I too have fond memories of sniffing out a fund raiser on a saturday afternoon. i'm making this for dinner tonight!!!

1/9/08, 4:01 PM  
Blogger Big O said...

I was with patrol squadron six at nas barbers point in the mid eighties. I loved the huli huli and am finally going to cook some today. thanks for the recipe!

2/17/08, 9:08 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I was in Hawaii for about 3 years. I used to follow the smoke and smell all the way to Waianae to get some about every weekend. This is definitly the best chicken I've ever eaten. I fell in love with it the first time I tried it and couldn't believe that something this good acctually exists. I'm gonna make this asap. Thanx.

9/17/08, 1:26 PM  
Blogger BIG D said...

i also lived in hawaii from 6th to 8th grade and huli huli chicken is the fire i love it!

10/6/08, 3:31 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

The Local's call Mesquite Keawe (it's pronounced Kay Ah Vay)

6/21/09, 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just returned from Hawaii and found Rays Huli Huli chicken off the side of the road in Halaweia (hope I spelled it right) across from L & L Drive In on 4th of July. The best ever!

7/15/09, 7:57 PM  
Blogger Keanu Man said...

Aloha you guys! Huli Huli Chicken brings back so many good memories, the days of my youth. It is heart felt to see how many people who lived in Hawaii for a few years grew fond of this dish and how it brought back memories for them too!

Thank you for posting!
Keanu - Houston, Texas

10/20/09, 6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Huli Huli is the best. I love your recipe. My variation is an Uso recipe from my bro Toni L. It goes like this: Two bags of chicken drumsticks, about five pounds. One bottle of good soy sauce like Kiko. Add some water and taste to adjust the saltiness, add one box of C&H Dark Brown Sugar, one knob of garlic crushed, one knob of ginger pounded with a hammer, combine in a large soup pot and heat to a boil, cut four lemons in half, add them to the pot, put in your chicken drumsticks still frozen, peel and quarter three medium sweet onions and add to the pot, bring pot to a boil, lower heat and simmer for twenty minutes, cut heat and cover overnight or at least for one hour. Prepare mesquite charcoal or chunk hardwood in your pit, pour a bunch of your sauce into a spray bottle, put your par boiled chicken on your grill, spray down with your Huli Huli Sauce, keep turning about every three minutes, keep spraying the chicken with the sauce, it will start to get nice and sticky. That is how you want it to be. Once it is sticky and nicely coated and delicious, you have Huli Huli Chicken Samoan Style, eat the onions, and throw the lemons across your yard to keep the flies away, enjoy!!! Uce!!!

9/2/10, 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MAHALO NUI LOA!! my first time to the Islands was '66 and we just got back. We instituted "HAWAII" night upon our return to the Mainland and our first meal was your Huli Huli chicken. We did it over charcoal/mesquite on a rotisserie and it was AMAZING. I'm so glad I found your blog. May God continue to bless you! ALOHA!

9/17/10, 7:44 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Mahalo Nui Loa for posting this recipe. I actually was just looking around at different variations. I order Huli Huli sauce from Hawaii and ship it here to Kentucky where we moved to last year because its cheaper to live here than in Hawaii. We had friends here so we said "why not?" But we miss our local food. I order the Huli Huli Sauce and Aloha Shoyu, small kine bottles and costs about $37.00 to get, but worth the money to save the time it takes to make from scratch for me : )

3/20/12, 4:32 PM  

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