This Huli Huli chicken recipe is so easy on the grill you will wish you had made it sooner!
I have only been to Hawaii once and unfortunately, Huli Huli chicken was not something I had the chance to try while on the island.
It has been cold here lately and Huli Huli chicken seemed like a good excuse to fire up the grill and try out some grill planks I had been given over the holidays. When I was at the supermarket, I saw a bottle of Huli Huli sauce.
Reading the Huli Huli sauce bottle, for instructions, or a recipe, it seemed very Hawaiian. There was not much information or content in the recipe department. It basically said, put your chicken, pork, or other meat in a bag, and pour the sauce over it. Allow to marinade for a short time, or a long time, and cook.
There was something about the simplicity that both annoyed and attracted me to making it happen. So I did. Five chicken thighs and about a cup of the sauce went into a bag and it took a long, cool nap in the refrigerator overnight.
I love to grill chicken thighs, and have made them dozens of times. Over the years, I find that a long, slow cook on the grill with a hot finish is the best method. Here is how I do it:
- Preheat grill to 275F
- Arrange marinated or brined chicken thighs over indirect heat
- Cook for 90-12o minutes at 275F basting every 30 minutes
- 30 minutes before service, ramp your heat to 400F to allow a finishing crust to develop
It is crucial during the final part that you keep an eye, or better yet a nose on the chicken. This Huli Huli sauce and other sauces with sugar in them can burn quickly and will ruin the chicken. So if something smells like it is beginning to burn, it is and you may need to move it on the grill, or remove it altogether.
The initial slow roasting of the chicken will break down muscle fibers, render fat, and develop flavor. The final sear will make the chicken skin crisp and delicious.
I love using a well soaked grill plank for this recipe because of the protection the plank provides the meat from the heat, and the additional flavor the wood gives the meat. An extra added benefit of using a grill plank is it can make for stunning grill to table presentation.
Just be sure that if you go from grill to table with a hot grill plank, you set it down on a non combustable surface. Burning down the house would be much worse than burning dinner.