Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Huli Huli Chicken~Major Mom

I am so proud to introduce this next blogger. We both grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. We were both Orchestra geeks in high school and we were both Navy brats. Although, I will thoroughly admit that she was a far better violinist than myself.  Please meet my good friend, Patricia. She writes for her blog, Ground Control to Major Mom.
Patricia is a woman of many talents. First of all (and most importantly) she is the Mom to two very amazing little boys.  Patricia is also a meteorologist in the Air Force Reserves. And now you know where she got her blog title from. Yep, she's a weather weenie (and darn proud of it!). She is also very happily married to a fellow meteorologist who is currently on Active Duty in the United States Air Force. 

I admire Patricia in so many ways. She volunteered to go on deployment to the Middle East to serve her country. She went on active duty for several months, was away from her little boys and devoted husband because she wanted to do her part for our country. I know one day her boys will understand the importance of their parents service and understand their Mother's sacrifice.  
She has my undying gratitude, that's for sure.

Patricia's blog isn't a dedicated food blog. She does include recipes from time to time but she also writes about being in the service, about being a Mom, about her home life and gardening. Pretty much anything and everything. I love reading her posts because she is so relateable and it's like we're just sitting around hanging out together and having a chat. Because that's how she makes you feel. Plus, she is so super smart that I always learn something from her.
Speaking of smart, have I mentioned that she also writes for GeekMom? Yep, that's Patricia, she's great at a lot of things and I'm proud to call her a friend.

So everyone, please say hello to Patricia. 

Hello Country Cook Fans!  I'm so honored to be invited to guest-post on Brandie's awesome blog!

I hail from Brandie's hometown of Norfolk, VA.  She and I crossed paths vaguely in high school among orchestra circles, but it wasn't until 2009 when a mutual friend "virtually introduced" us on Facebook.  We've been swapping Facebook and blog comments about our cooking (among other topics) ever since!

When Brandie invited me to share one of the recipes I've blogged about in the past, I realized that many of my recipes aren't that unique.  I have a girl-crush on The Pioneer Woman, so often I'll show the results of her recipes that I've attempted on my family.  Or I'll make some sort of commercial product for the family and will write up the results of that.

But what follows is one of my favorite "unique" recipes.  Seemed appropriate for the time of year, too.  It's a big hit when you want to invite guests over for a summer BBQ!  I had originally written this post in two parts over Memorial Day weekend 2009: the making of the marinade, then the grilling of the chicken.  I've combined them for you here.

Enjoy and Happy Summer!
I don't remember that much in my life before about age 4.  I don't know why, I just don't.  Just the intermittent here-and-there memory.

My family was living in Hawaii when I was 4-years-old.  My Dad, who was in the Navy, was stationed at this small base northwest of Honolulu (not Pearl Harbor).  My first solid memories were from Hawaii.

And here's one of them: Huli Huli chicken fundraisers.  Click here for a history of Huli Huli chicken (thanks to the obituary of the inventor -- a Navy man -- from 2002).  I vaguely remember driving up to a large dirt/gravel parking lot, perhaps at a church or a high school.  And you'd see row-after-row of rotisserie-like skewers, all covered with chickens.  I also have vague memories of large metal trash cans to hold the marinade (this was in the 70s, well before plastic trash cans, apparently), and folks using cotton mops to slop on the marinade on the skewers.

My Dad mentioned to me once that the chickens would be sold whole for just a few dollars (I think he said $5, but I could be wrong), and they'd be wrapped for you in newspaper!

I found this nifty blog entry here about a modern-day operation on Oahu.

As for this blog post, what I'm going to present you with is a recipe that always brings back the memories I had, but I'm sure someone will tell you that it's wrong.  I've had chicken made with commercially purchased "Huli Huli Chicken Sauce" and that just seemed WRONG WRONG WRONG.  Too syrupy, from what I remember.  If you do a web search for "huli huli chicken recipe" you'll come up with a very wide variety of recipes.  I see ginger, sugar and garlic as a common thread throughout, but from there you'll see varied other ingredients: limes, chiles, honey, ketchup, white wine, etc.

Here's the recipe that my family has used over the years:

That's my sister's handwriting, circa 1995 or so (she was still in high school).  I didn't photograph the back of the card, but suffice it to say that the back merely says to cook the chicken.

First, let me introduce the ingredients:

There's "Sugar in the Raw" in the orange sugar dish. Maybe because it's really-truly from Hawaii, I am using it instead of plain white sugar. I feel more authentic that way...

Note the whole chicken...let me warn you, I'm about to show pictures of a chicken dismemberment, so if you're adverse to such images, click away now!

Let's disassemble the chicken.  When I'm motivated enough, I choose to break up a whole chicken rather than buy the parts's cheaper and I can take advantage of ALL of the chicken for broth, soup, etc. The first thing I did was take my kitchen shears and CUT down both sides of the spine.

I can take the spine/back part and toss it into my freezer bag that already contains two other chicken backs...I'll probably make up some broth this week for recipes later.

I got sick of cutting a little bit of the chicken, then washing my hands, taking a couple pictures, then going back to cutting, I decided not to photograph the rest of the disassembly.  I cut the remaining chicken into 2 breasts, 2 leg quarters and 2 wings.

Now I chop the garlic and grate the ginger.  I freeze my ginger, so grating it on the Microplane (BEST KITCHEN TOOL EVAH!!!) is easy:

Now we start to mix everything together in a bowl: this is the ginger, garlic and sugar.

To pour 3/4 c. of soy sauce, I have to pry off the slow-pour spout thingy on my Kikkoman:

That's better:

Now that we have everything -- garlic, ginger, sugar, white wine and soy sauce (I omit the MSG), it's time to stir stir stir. I try to dissolve as much of the sugar as I can.

Now I take a 9 x 13 baking dish and line it with a gallon-sized zip-top bag:

Add the chicken:

Pour in the marinade:

And here's what you get:

Since the chicken is taking up so much space in the bag, a little marinade will go a long way in the zip-top baggie. I will allow this to sit in my fridge for TWO DAYS, flipping the bag about every 12 hours.

Two nights later, we cooked the marinated chicken.

The cooking is the tough part. Because of the sugar content of the marinade, you have to be VERY careful how to cook up the parts. Low low low, for 25 minutes on each side, then you can turn up the heat at the end to give a nice crispness to the skin. I guess I could invest in one of those rotisserie cooker thingies, but we're lazy and just want to throw it on the gas grill.

Another option is to slow bake the chicken first, then throw it on the grill.  In this I don't have a rigid cooking time, or even a rigid cooking temperature.  Let's call it 350F for 1 hour.  Then give it about 5 minutes on each side on a NASA-hot grill (to coin an awesome Alton Brown term).  Baste it with more marinade, if you wish.

So enjoy some pictures of my Dear Husband Dave cooking up the chicken, we're smelling it, hearing it sizzle, looking at it cook up golden brown and delicious...

Looks WONDERUL, doesn't it?  DO NOT be alarmed if you cut into your Huli Huli chicken and you see pink nearest the surface...this is the marinade penetrating the meat!  Trust me, it's a good thing.  So long as it isn't pink next to the bones, you're golden!

Here's the recipe in an easy-to-read format for your convenience.

Major Mom's "Huli Huli" Chicken
based on a recipe passed down through her parents

3/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. white wine
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. grated ginger (I use much more than this, more like 1 Tbsp.)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch MSG (optional, I don't do this)
3 lbs. of chicken parts: breasts, leg quarters, wings

Combine all ingredients except the chicken parts.  Mix thoroughly until the sugar is well-dissolved.  Marinate the chicken parts in a zip-top bag for at least 2 hours.  Overnight is best.

Bake the chicken at 350F for 1 hour, marinating occasionally.  One can then sear the chicken on a hot grill for 5-8 minutes on each side.


Grill the chicken over low heat for 45-60 minutes turning the pieces halfway through cooking time, marinating occasionally.


I'll tell y'all something, I have made this chicken a few times and it so tasty. 
I hope you'll give it a try soon!
Thank you to Patricia for sharing this fantastic recipe.

I hope you'll stop by her BLOG  sometime and say hello!

You can also find her hanging out on Twitter too (she comes up with some hilarious one-liners), click HERE to follow her
She also has a FACEBOOK page!



To the Nth said...

That looks delicious! I'm filing this recipe away for the summer grilling season.

Maryann Goldman said...

I met Patricia when she lived in Apex, NC. Great to see her guest post and this wonderful recipe!

Holly said...

I am printing this recipe as soon as Im done commenting!! lol This sounds heavenly! And so great to meet one of your friends Bran! : )

Sandra said...

This looks amazingly delicious!!!! Nice to meet you Patricia, great recipe!!! Brandy one more amazing guest post!!!!Thank you for sharing it with us!!!!

Veronica Gantley said...

Nice to meet you Patrica. I am from Norfolk Va also. I still live here.I have all the ingredients in my pantry I will make it this weekend. Brandie, the tater salad was so yummy! I finished it off for lunch today.

Pretend Chef said...

Any recipe for grilling I'm all about right now. We're about to hit the 100 degree mark here in Houston and I'm not excited about putting anything in the oven. The marinade for the chicken sounds amazing and it looks even better. What a yummy looking meal Patricia. Thank you!

Major Mom said...

Thanks everyone for the kind comments! It's truly been an honor to be featured on The Country Cook!

carolinaheartstrings said...

What a wonderful post. I really enjoyed reading it. The chicken looks fantastic.

The Farmers Wife said...

This chicken looks amazing! I love new recipes like this, and I know my guys would love it. It is SO nice to meet you Patricia, and thank you for all you've done for our Country!

Thanks for introducing us to your friend Brandie!! Awesome post!

Lisa said...

Having grown up in Hawaii, I have always loved huli huli chicken. Yours looks super good. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Lizzy said...

Brandie, thanks for sharing another magnificent blogger with us all!

Patricia, this chicken looks fabulous...and I may save it for company we're having in a couple weeks. YUM!

Happy When Not Hungry said...

This looks delicious! What a great post!

Annie's Dish said...

Thanks for the intro to Major Mom (anyone who's blog name is a David Bowie reference is a winner in my book!) I've made huli huli chicken before and while it was good it was way complicated. This recipe looks much simpler while just as delicious! said...

I guess if I can't go to the Islands this summer the Island flavors can come to me. I printed this one for next weeks menu. Thanks for reminding me of my awesome vacations!

southernlady64 said...

This chicken recipe looks and sounds wonderful. I must try it. I am getting a new grill tomorrow and this will be a great recipe to try. Thanks for sharing. It's always nice to meet a new blogger, too.

Brooks at Cakewalker said...

Hi Patricia, your post made me smile! I knew I liked you when you mentioned Oahu (I've got family in Kailua)and the Fiesta sugar pot sealed the deal! But the chicken is finger lickin'! Thank you for sharing this recipe and serving up a side of life. Nice to meet you!

Laurie said...

Love this recipe. Huli is one of those wonderful smoky-sweet foods that take me back to 'small-kid time' in Hawaii. Wrapped in newspaper, or later, in the plastic bag :)

Thanks to major mom for posting.

shopannies said...

love grilling season and this recipe is being put on the list to try oh so yummy and a bit different from the ordinary come see me at