I get cravings – like say how I drool at the thought of the huli huli chicken from Ray’s Kiawe Broiled Chicken on Oahu. Huli Huli chicken is one of those staples of Hawaiian cuisine that is made every which way ’til Tuesday with everyone claiming their Auntie’s recipe as tops. At its best huli huli is chicken dipped in a marinade then rotisserie-d to greatness thanks to local kiawe wood. The problem is I don’t have a backyard or a rotisserie or Hawaiian kiawe wood or an awesome Hawaiin Auntie to replicate the real deal so I hacked the recipe to come up with this version. True, this huli huli chicken is a little more teriyaki meets Hawaii with a dash of huli huli but it works in a pinch.
If you’ve got the chance, cook it up on a charcoal grill so you can at least get some of the awesome smoky flavor that makes it so great. If not, you can, like I had to do, throw it in a grill pan and know this huli huli chicken will more than suffice — at least until the next time you can fly west and get the real stuff.
peeled and roughly chopped
cut into sixths, for serving (optional)
cut into 1-inch pieces
cored and cut into triangles
Combine everything except chicken, red onion, green onions, pineapple, and cilantro in a blender and process until evenly combined. Place chicken in a large, shallow dish and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour marinade over chicken and turn them several times until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate to marinate 1 to 24 hours.
When ready to cook, heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium (about 350°F). Remove chicken from refrigerate, remove from marinade (reserving marinade), let excess drip off. Thread chicken on skewers with red onion wedges, scallions, and pineapple pieces (see picture).
Rub grill with a paper towel soaked in oil then, once skewers are ready, place chicken on grill, close lid, and baste with marinade every few minutes. After 5 minutes flip skewers and continue basting chicken every 5 minutes until temperature on the inside of the thigh registers 165°F (be sure the thermometer is not touching the bone) and, when pierced, the juices run clear, about 5 to 10 minutes more.
Let rest on a cutting board for a few minutes before serving. Meanwhile, boil leftover marinade in a small pan over high heat until reduced and thickened. Strain and serve with chicken along with cilantro, and Sriracha mayo, if using.
For a little kick, serve the skewers with some of this Sriracha mayo -- it's by no means traditional but it's seriously good.