Huli Huli Chicken is marinated in intensely sweet and savory huli huli sauce and then grilled. In Hawaii it's often cooked on a rotisserie over an open fire, but I've made perfectly delicious versions on my home grill. (Learn more about huli here.)
The kick of red pepper flakes or hot sauce is most certainly is not traditional, but this sauce almost begs to be played with and personalized. This recipe doubles or triples just fine for parties.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. dry sherry
- 2 Tbsp. ketchup
- 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce (optional)
- Red pepper flakes (I use 1/4 tsp.) or hot sauce to taste (optional)
- 1 or 2 chickens or equivalent chicken pieces (around 6 lbs. total)
- Lemon wedges (optional)
- Combine brown sugar, soy sauce, sherry, and ketchup in medium bowl. Peel and mince or grate the ginger and the garlic and add them to the sauce. Add the sesame oil, Worchestershire, and/or pepper flakes or hot sauce, if you like.
- In a large bowl or sealable plastic bags, marinate the chicken(s) for at least an hour and up to overnight.
- Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for indirect heat. For gas: Turn all burners on high and close the lid. When temperature inside the grill reaches 400°F, turn off one burner. The area over the turned-off burner is the indirect heat section. For charcoal: light 4 to 5 dozen briquettes and let them burn until covered with ash, about 30 minutes. Mound them tone side of the grill. The area over the section cleared of coals is the indirect heat section. Brush grill with vegetable oil.
- For whole chicken(s): Set the chicken(s) breast-side up on the indirect heat section of the grill. Close the lid and cook until the chicken is well browned and cooked through, the legs should feel very loose in the joints and/or a meat thermometer should read 160°F when inserted into the joint between the thigh and the body of the bird (it will finish cooking up to 165°F as it rests). Small birds tend to take at least 40 minutes, larger birds can require up to an hour or more - it all depends on the exact grill, size of chickens, and more.
- For chicken pieces: Set the chicken skin-side down on the indirect heat section of the grill. Close the lid if using a gas grill. Cook 15 minutes. Turn the chicken over, closing the lid again if you're using a gas grill, and cook 10 minutes. Move the chicken to the direct heat section and cook, turning once, until the skin is brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Pay close attention: any dripping fat or marinade catch fire easily. You may want to keep a spray bottle of water nearby to douse flames. Test the chicken pieces for doneness by cutting into the center of a larger piece. It should be slightly pink (it will finish cooking while it rests). If the center is very pink, return the chicken to the indirect heat section and cook another 5 minutes.
- Let the chicken pieces rest at least 10 minutes before serving, whole birds need closer to 30 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.