Just about anywhere you go on any of the Islands you will find Huli Huli Chicken at the plate lunch stands in the parking lots or at any church fundraiser. And of course at all the beach parks! This is the Hawaiian BBQ chicken recipe and one of the all time favorite Hawaiian recipes.
In Hawaii, plate lunch is a tradition. Almost always served with steam rice and Mac salad, that combination is a constant. Even at the famous L&L Hawaiian BBQs, that is the staple.
Traditional Huli Huli Chicken is grilled over Kiawe wood, which is very similar to mesquite. Huli Huli means "turn turn" and when you see the big vendors they have dozens of chickens turning over their big open grills. Some of these are now gas, some charcoal and Kiawe. We will adapted this for our grill without a rotisserie and being mainland side now, we are using mesquite chips for that smoke flavor.
This Huli Huli Chicken recipe was developed to incorporate mangos as a possible entry into the recipe contest at the Makaha Mango Festival that used to be held at Makaha Resort and Golf Club. Some great times at that resort and you have never seen as many types of mangos as are in the Makaha Valley. But to be sure some of my “Aunties” may raise their eyebrows on this recipe. So we will also post a more traditional one as well.
Start this meal off with an “Ahi Poke” then the Huli Huli Chicken and you are having a Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Feast!
2 whole chickens or 4 half chickens
Huli Huli Marinade & Glaze
½ cup Mango Nectar
½ cup Orange or Pineapple juice
¼ cup shoyu or soy sauce
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sriracha chile sauce *optional
¼ cup dry sherry or white wine
3 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Marinate your chickens at least for hours or overnight.
If you do not have a rotisserie:
If you have whole chickens, spatchcock them or cut into half chickens. Marinate.
Drain the marinade from your chickens. Do not throw it out; reserve the marinade for making your glaze for the chickens. Place your marinade in a non-reactive or non-stick sauté pan and bring to a simmer. Cook it over low heat until it reduces by 25 to 30 percent. Take a spoon and coat the back of the spoon with sauce, if you run your finger through the sauce and it does not run and cover the line you just made it is ready. If it is too thick ad a little water. Test it the same way. Since this sauce/glaze has both fruit and honey keep the heat low when reducing it. Turn off the heat and reserve for glazing the chicken.
Prepare a two-zone fire one side for direct heat, the other for indirect cooking. If cooking on charcoal I like to use mesquite or Kiawe for this recipe or at least some mesquite chips on the fire to add some of that flavor.
Clean your grills nicely and place the chicken on the in direct side of the grill. I like to do the backside first to in case any flare ups occur on the hotter time of the grill. Cook for five to ten minute per side over the indirect heat. This is a good time to use the wood chips if you are opting to do so.
By now your coals should be a bit cooler and it is time to put some nice grill marks on your chickens. Keeping an eye on them to prevent flare-ups from burning your birds “al Carbon”. If you are using a kettle style BBQ you can just spin the side of the grill over the coals.
Once your grill marks are on, now move your bird back to the indirect side of the grill. Using your simmered and reduce marinade which is now a nice glaze paint your chickens with the glaze. Cover and let it cook on for a while. Repeat as necessary or desired.
Using a thermometer check the temperature of the chickens at the thickest part of the thigh and leg or thickest part of the breast. When it is at 165 degrees pull it off the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before cutting. Pau!
As I mentioned in the beginning, this is traditionally served with Mac salad and steamed rice. I like to do fried rice with this (or just about anything).