Huli Huli Chicken
Hello Country Cook Friends! 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 in high school among orchestra circles. We’ve been swapping Facebook and blog comments about our cooking (among other topics) ever since!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. My first solid memories were from Hawaii. And here’s one of them: Huli Huli chicken fundraisers. 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.Today, I wanted to share with you a recipe that always brings back the memories I have of Hawaii. I’ve had chicken made with commercially purchased “Huli Huli Chicken Sauce” and that just seemed 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:
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.
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 9×13 baking dish and line it with a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and 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.
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. Baste it with more marinade, if you wish.
Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar (I like Sugar in the Raw)
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 clove fresh garlic minced
- 3 lbs of chicken parts: breasts, leg quarters, wings (whatever your preference)
- 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.
To make in the oven:
- Bake the chicken at 350F for 1 hour, basting occasionally.
To make on a grill:
- Grill the chicken over low heat for 45-60 minutes turning the pieces halfway through cooking time, basting occasionally.