Authentic Hawaiian Chicken Recipe – Huli Huli with a Twist

An authentic Hawaiian chicken recipe is a step in the right direction to treating your belly this summer! No matter whose chicken you may have tried in the past, you have not had real chicken until you sample the savory, mouthwatering style of Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken. After doing so, you are assured that you would never have enough.

authentic hawaiian chicken recipeWhat is Huli Chicken with a twist?

Huli Huli chicken is a special version of grilled teriyaki chicken that was introduced by a Hawaiian poultry farmer named Earnest Morgado in 1955. The word “Huli” means to turn, and as the name suggests, Huli Huli chicken involves turning the chicken several times on the grill until it’s cooked to satisfaction.

Huli Huli-style chicken is marinated and basted with soy sauce, as it is being turned and cooked. The base is to keep it from burning but still give it a delicious crispy edge. The pleasant odor that emanates from the grill when huli huli chicken is being prepared is irresistible. The added twist to this already tantalizing recipe is lemon juice. This will give the chicken a tangy flavor that will certainly add to your delight. It’s a perfect entree for your American-style luau or authentic Hawaiian party!

Ingredients for this Authentic Hawaiian Chicken Recipe

We can’t give you the official secret Hula Restaurant recipe for making authentic Hawaiian chicken, but we can point you in the right direction with a basic recipe and we’ll coach you on how to use seasonings and sauce like a real Hawaiian chef.

To make things easier, the ingredients are broken down into three groups. These ingredients will be used for the authentic Hawaiian chicken recipe, sauce, and dry rub.

Authentic Hawaiian Chicken Brine

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed/grated)
  • 3 cups ice
  • One whole chicken (5-7 pounds)
  • 1 cup unsweetened pine apple

Authentic Hawaiian Sauce

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup tomato ketchup
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup lemon juice

Dry Rub

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced

authentic hawaiian chicken recipe- huli huli

Directions for making Authentic Hawaiian Chicken Recipe

It is simple to follow this authentic Hawaiian chicken recipe. Cooking is an art, and your results will be different than ours. But if you want to experiment in the kitchen, you simply cannot go wrong by following these steps.

Step 1: Preparing the Chicken

Start by placing the entire chicken on a flat surface for preparation. Ensure that the breast side is facing downwards.

Use a kitchen shear to remove the backbone. Cut from the neck to the tailbone on both sides.

Spread open the chicken and take out the breast and tailbone.

Tuck the wings under by making small cuts below the thighs on both sides.

Step 2: Preparing the Brine

Add 1 cup water, salt sugar, garlic, bay leaves, and pineapple to a pan.

Place to simmer until pineapple dissolves.

Turn off the heat and add the ice.

Once cool, place brine in a re-sealable bag and add the chicken making sure it is completely covered with brine.

Let the bag sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Step 3: Preparing the Sauce

Add sherry vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, and pineapple juice to a small pot.

Place pot over medium to low heat until the liquid simmers.

Whisk in ginger and brown sugar and allow it to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken.

Remove pot from heat and let sauce cool.

Save a cup for when you are ready to serve.

Step 4: Preparing the Dry Rub

Place black pepper, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, and salt in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Remove chicken from brine and pat dry.

Give chicken with a liberal coat of dry rub.

Step 5: The Grilling

Preheat grill on medium heat.

Place chicken on wire mesh and place over open grill flame. Leave for 7- 8 minutes.

Turn chicken and continue to grill for another 15 minutes or so.

Continue to turn chicken at intervals to avoid burning. Squeeze lemon juice as you turn.

Glaze chicken with sauce during the last 5 minutes of grilling.

Leave to rest for 7- 10 minutes.

Your authentic Hawaiian Chicken is now ready to be served. Arrange creatively on a platter. Put out the reserved sauce, try this teriyaki sauce recipe to compliment your authentic Hawaiian chicken! 

DIY authentic hawaiian chicken recipe

What to Serve with your Authentic Hawaiian Chicken

Authentic Hawaiian chicken recipes like this one are often paired with a side dish such as mashed potatoes or a vegetable salad. You could opt for Hawaiian Poi, Poke, baked sweet potato or Pipi Kaula. If you want to make sure you get it right, grab a bottle of Hula Sauce and smother your chicken for authentic Hawaiian flavor. Happy cooking!