Recipe by Estelle Chait

Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

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Meat Meat
Easy Easy
4 Servings


- Soy
1 Hour

The first Huli Huli chicken was made by a man named Morgado at a farmers’ meeting. People were hungry, so Morgado marinated a whole bunch of chickens in a special sauce (known to be his mother’s) and threw them on the fire sandwiched between two grills. When the chicken had cooked on one side, someone yelled “Huli!”, which means “turn” in Hawaiian, and together they flipped the chicken to cook the second side. The chicken was a  hit and Morgado liked the name “Huli-Huli” so much that he trademarked it and bottled the sauce to be exported and sold. Over the years, schools and charities in the islands have held fundraisers serving Huli Huli chicken — collecting millions, and making this smoked chicken dish a trademark island special. Chances are if you’re in the islands and you see a line of trucks and smoke coming from the side of the road with a delectable, intoxicating smell, this is what’s on the menu.


Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

  • 1 can large pineapple chunks (with juice)

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup ketchup

  • 1/4 cup white wine, such as Tuscanini Cooking Wine, or whiskey

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon fish-free Worcestershire sauce, such as Tonnelli

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or 4 cubes Gefen Frozen Garlic

  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated

  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds chicken breasts, cubed



Add 1/4 cup pineapple juice (reserve chunks for threading skewers and remaining juice for another use), brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, white wine or whiskey, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and ginger to a large Ziploc bag or bowl. Set aside 3/4 cup of the marinade in a saucepan, then add chicken to remaining marinade and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.


To make the basting sauce, bring reserved marinade to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for three minutes, until slightly thickened.


Thread marinated chicken cubes and pineapple chunks onto skewers. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to high heat (alternatively, you can use a grill pan, but that will not impart the same smoky flavor).


Grill until golden on one side and then “HULI!” — flip ‘em!


While the second side is cooking, baste with thickened Huli Huli sauce. Flip again and baste the other side (to make sure chicken is fully coated), then cook for a few more minutes, until little bits of the sauce start to bubble and caramelize on the chicken.  


Serve with rice, furikake, and mac salad.


You can use this marinade for whole chickens, drumsticks or skewers.


Photography by Malky Levine

Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

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