12 Huli Huli Chicken done

It’s a hot day today. The temperatures are above triple digits and I’m outside over a hot grill. Is there something wrong here? It brings a whole new meaning to GrillinFools. Nonetheless, I am making Huli Huli chicken. For those fortunate enough to go to Hawaii, you can smell the sweet aroma of these vender treats from the roadsides of the tropical island. I would like to go there at some point in my lifetime because of the coconut braziers and the authentic Huli Huli chicken.

***Editor’s Note ~ Arthur has started his own blog and I’m more than happy to promote his on mine.  His new site is called MajorLeagueGrilling.com***

First off, excuse my photographs for not being up to par this time around. Like I said, it was very hot outside and I somehow missed shots for certain steps in the process.

Along with the Huli Huli chicken, I made trash bag potatoes. I saw this potato recipe on a web site and I thought I give it a try. This was a meal I made on a week night after work, so not a whole lot of preparing was needed. I always try to do keep my grillin time within 2 hours on a work night. Especially today, did I mention how hot it was?

Let’s begin with the Huli Huli chicken…it’s just fun to say.

Huli Huli chicken marinade:

2 Chicken leg quarters
2 Chicken thighs (This can be done with an entire cut chicken rather than just these cuts)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp sherry cooking wine
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp minced garlic
1” fresh ginger
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1/4 cup brown sugar

01 Huli Huli Chicken ingredients

Oops, that lemon pepper seasoning didn’t belong in that shot above. The heat is already affecting me. However, we will need it later.

First, I combined all the ingredients together in a bowl:

02 Huli Huli Chicken combine ingredients

Second, I mixed all of it with a whisk:

03 Huli Huli Chicken marinade

Next, I wash my thawed chicken quarters and thighs in water and pat dry with paper towels:

04 Huli Huli Chicken quarters-thighs

After I washed my hands, I place the chicken in a one gallon sealable baggie. Then I pour all of the marinade in with the chicken and seal the baggie while taking all the air out. I placed the baggie in the rinsed out marinade bowl just to make sure there won’t be any leakage.

The marinating Huli Huli chicken is placed in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. I wouldn’t recommend going any longer than that because the acidic pineapple juice will start cooking the chicken.

While the chicken is marinating, I started the potatoes:

05 tbp yukon golds

Trash bag potatoes ingredients:

5 medium Yukon gold potatoes
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
(makes 4 servings)

06 tbp seasonings

Cut the potatoes into wedges. I suggest boiling the wedges for a few minutes on high heat. The potatoes ended up taking longer to cook than the chicken because I did not do this. After boiling the wedges, let them cool down. When that is done, place them in a one gallon baggie:

07 tbp potato wedges

Start pouring the other items into the baggie. Just for the record, I didn’t use any measurements for this. I just put enough seasoning and oil to cover the potatoes. Measuring isn’t very important to me and it saves me some time. It’s not like I’m baking a cake here, it’s BBQ. It’s suppose to be messy and sloppy.

Once the ingredients are combined in the baggie, seal it and use your hands to move the potatoes around in the baggie. Make sure the wedges are coated well:

08 tbp seasoned wedges

Place it in the fridge until the chicken is done marinating.

The grill manufacturer that shall not be named is set up for indirect cooking. This means that the hot charcoal is banked to one side of the grill. This creates a hot side and a cool side. The food will go on the cool side, thus cooking like a convection oven, while not burning it or drying out the meat.

Here, I took a picture of my grill from the inside of the house where it is nice and cool:

09 hhc kettle

After a total marinating time of 45 minutes, I remove the Huli Huli chicken and potatoes from the refrigerator. The chicken immediately goes on the grill:

10 Huli Huli Chicken thighs on grill

As well as the potatoes in a grill pan:

11 tbp on grill

For a more authentic taste of Huli Huli chicken, I placed a pile of mesquite wood chips on top of the grill grate and let them smolder and infuse the chicken during the grilling process. Wood chunks would have worked well here, but I did not have any.

I place the lid on the grill and the food will cook for 45 minutes before I check it again. I make sure the vents are wide open on the lid and it is above the food. This is so the mesquite smoke travels over the chicken on the way out of the grill.

In addition, the grill temperature is about 375 degrees.

At the 45 minutes of grilling, the Huli Huli chicken is done.

12 Huli Huli Chicken done

Immediately, I notice the skin of the chicken has turned a burgundy color with charred spots from the sugars in the marinade. And the smell is extremely delightful, a sweet and smoky aroma. Notice the top of the picture where the mesquite wood chips are now a pile of ashes. I remove the chicken from the grill.

However, the potato wedges were not done. They had to continue grilling for an extra 30 minutes. Ouch! This would have been avoided had I boiled the wedges for a few minutes prior.

13 tbp done

All of this extreme heat worked me up a real big appetite. I covered every part of the plate that I could find with Huli Huli chicken, trash bag potatoes and green beans.

14 Huli Huli Chicken plated

The Huli Huli chicken was fantastic. It’s such a sweet fruity marinade. Sorry, I didn’t take pictures of how juicy and moist the chicken quarter was, as a result of sticky fingers from the marinade. Believe me, it was a home run. Next time, I’m going to spatchcock a fryer to see how that turns out with the marinade. On the other hand, the trash bag potatoes were not as tasty as I thought they were going to be. Maybe too much mesquite smoke got into it. But I wasn’t high on the seasoning of the recipe. I typically make oven fries with different variations of seasonings that turn out better than the trash bag potatoes. I’ll stick to my oven fries, and the Huli Huli stays too.

***Editor’s Note ~ Mesquite produces a pretty powerful smoke which is why it is so often used in smoking, but it can overpower food sometimes.  Particularly a fairly bland food like a potato.  I wonder what it would be like with apple or pear wood***

If you have any questions about the Huli Huli chicken or the trash bag potatoes, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email that I will send over to Arthur.

If you are interested in other grilled chicken recipes, click here.

Also, you can follow us on our Grillin Fools Facebook page where you can post your own grilling pictures or join the grilling conversation.  Or follow us on Twitter @GrillinFool.

Huli Huli Chicken
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A tribute to Hawaiian street vendors
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sherry cooking wine
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1” fresh ginger
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Chicken leg quarters
  • 2 Chicken thighs (This can be done with an entire cut chicken rather than just these cuts)
  1. Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl, except for the chicken, and whisk together
  2. Wash the thawed chicken quarters and thighs in water and pat dry with paper towels
  3. Place the chicken in a one gallon sealable baggie
  4. Then I pour all of the marinade in with the chicken and seal the baggie while taking all the air out
  5. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour
  6. Set up the grill for indirect/two zone grilling with coals and smoke wood (mesquite) on one side and nothing on the other
  7. Target temperature inside the grill is around 375
  8. Place the chicken on the side with no coals
  9. Leave on the grill until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees (about 45 minutes)
  10. Allow the chicken to rest for 2-3 minutes and serve

Arthur Aguirre
Major League Grilling’s founder, Arthur Aguirre, is a BBQ enthusiast with a passion to cook anything on the grill. Before reaching the level of pitmaster, Arthur spent years of hopelessly under cooking and overcooking various cuts of succulent meats. With the help of internet forums such as the BBQ Brethren, Char-Broil, and the experts from the GrillinFools, Arthur’s grilling exploits soon followed.
Arthur Aguirre
Arthur Aguirre
Arthur Aguirre

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I live in Orem, Ut. Where do I get mesquite wood chips. This looks so good. I want to make some of your chicken before the snow comes.

Thank you for posting your recipe.



Not sure where in your area has mesquite. Most of the hardware stores in St. Louis carries mesquite. Try a local fireplace/grill store…



Mesquite wood chips are common in the St. Louis area. However, I’m not sure about Utah. You might be able to find it at the grocery store or the hardware store. Just look in areas where they sell the charcoal or grills.

I’ll be making Huli Huli chicken for the guys at G-Fools football party on Sunday. GO RAMS!!!


I made Huli Huli Chicken on a camping trip a few years ago. Delicious! I couldn’t find the recipe and found your blog searching online for it! Everything looks so yummy!!


Thanks for posting the huli huli chicken receipe. I recently saw it on Americas Test Kitchen but could not get the recipe. Your’s sounds great! I’ll let you know how it comes out. I am going to add a bit of Sriracha or Asian chili paste.

Thanks again,


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