Transport you and your loved ones to Hawaii with Grilled or Baked Huli Huli Chicken! Its bursting with sweet and savory Hawaiian teriyaki deliciousness from a dynamite pineapple, soy, brown sugar marinade that doubles as your sweet and sticky glaze (no double work!) and a spice rub that elevates this chicken to a whole new level of jaw dropping delicious. With the marinade, spice rub and glaze, this might just be the best Huli Huli Chicken ever. But I’ll let you decide.
Baked or Grilled Huli Huli Chicken
What does Huli Huli mean in Hawaiian?
Have you heard of Huli Huli Chicken? It has been on my To Make “Bucket List” for ages, and I am thrilled I finally get to cross it off that list, because that means I finally got to devour my version of the best Huli Huli Chicken!
Huli Huli Chicken gets its name from the Hawaiian word, “huli” which means to turn or reverse. This is appropriate because the Hawaiian favorite chicken, gets turned over on a grate, to rotate which part of the chicken is closest to the flame, similar to a rotisserie.
What Is Huli Huli Chicken?
Huli Huli Chicken originated from Hawaii around 1955 when Ernest Morgado of Pacific Poultry barbecued his version of teriyaki chicken in a very unique way.
Rather than flipping scores of chicken pieces by piece when catering an event, Morgado, “sandwiched the meat between two mesh grates, and, with the help of an assistant, flipped the whole contraption. Sort of Hawaiian rotisserie. When it was time to turn, he would shout “huli” which is Hawaiian for “turn” to his assistant who would shout “huli” back, grab the handles on the other side of the grates, and turn the chicken over, lickety split. Huli-Huli Chicken was born.” (AmazingRibs.com)
Everyone went crazy for this Huli Huli Chicken and it became a favorite Hawaiian staple, served everywhere from roadside stands and parking lots, to restaurants and fundraisers.
What is Huli Huli Chicken made of?
Huli Huli Sauce itself was originally a teriyaki sauce, but has morphed into a Hawiian Teriyaki sauce often with a base of pineapple juice. For my Huli Huli chicken, I kept the pineapple, soy, brown sugar base but wanted the chicken to taste more mulit-dimensional and not just like a big bite of Huli Huli Sauce, so I whipped up a Spice Mix of paprika, ground ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper.
You whisk this together then add 1 tablespoon Spice Mix to your marinade of pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, Dijon and Sriracha. Now we’re talking savory, sweet, tangy with just the right kick. We reserve some of the marinade to later thicken into our out of this world glaze.
Should I use Chicken Breasts or Thighs?
For the chicken itself, I love the moistness of bone-in chicken thighs, and they are wonderfully economical, but feel free to use any cut of chicken you prefer and adjust cooking time accordingly. Just be aware that the leaner the meat, the less juicy.
After the chicken has marinated, it gets smothered in our Spice mix and then either grilled or seared and baked indoors and finally bathed in our beautiful, intensely flavored glaze to create juicy bite after bite of uniquely sweet and savory, pineapple Huli Huli Chicken. Because you deserve to transport yourself to Hawaii year round.
Want to try this Baked or Grilled Huli Huli Chicken?
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