Hawaiian Huli Huli Grilled Chicken

A plate of huli huli grilled chicken
Molly Watson
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1173 Calories
62g Fat
25g Carbs
123g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 1173
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 62g 80%
Saturated Fat 17g 86%
Cholesterol 380mg 127%
Sodium 1049mg 46%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 123g
Calcium 128mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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 it's entirely possible to make perfectly delicious versions on a home grill.

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.


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 or 2 chickens or equivalent chicken pieces (around 6 pounds total)
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Steps to Make It

  1. Combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, sherry, and ketchup in a medium bowl. Peel and mince or grate the ginger and the garlic and add them to the sauce. Add the sesame oil, Worcestershire, and pepper flakes or hot sauce, if you like.

  2. In a large bowl or sealable plastic bags, marinate the chicken(s) for at least an hour and up to overnight.

  3. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for indirect heat. For gas: Turn all burners on high and close the lid. When the 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Enjoy!

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