Make Hawaiian BBQ Fit for a Luau

With the right ingredients, you can bring an authentic Hawaiian vibe right to your kitchen or backyard. Make a Hawaiian BBQ at home with food so good it’ll be fit for a luau!

Hawaiian BBQ

Hawaiian food prides itself in showcasing flavors brought to the islands from its many immigrants. The signature Hawaiian taste is an original blend of tropical juiciness and Asian tang. As diverse as its history is, one thing about Hawaiian food culture is undeniable: authentic, luau-worthy food is never ever served dry. Sauces with the island zest laced throughout its taste and smell are meant to be included in every authentic dish. Hawaiian sauces are used as marinades, drizzles, and dips at every meal.


If you’ve had the pleasure of visiting Hawaii, you should remember the smell of spices and flavorful, slow-grilled meats. Strolling through a casual Hawaiian eatery, you’d see plates full of grilled tender meats, seafood, and locally grown produce that have been soaked in marinades and topped with sweet, tangy sauces like Hawaiian BBQ sauce. Achieving the Hawaiian feel is possible even at home, as long as you have meats, seafood, and veggies – and lots and lots of Hawaiian BBQ sauce. A beautiful, flower lei wouldn’t hurt either!

What is Hawaiian BBQ Sauce?

Tropical-inspired dishes have a sweet and tangy zing, highlighted by the sauces. True Hawaiian BBQ is usually cooked outdoors slowly over indirect heat, similar to roasting. Many notable mainland American dishes are also sauce heavy, but they capture a spicy, smoky, or salty feel. Unlike BBQ sauce from the mainland with a tomato paste base, Hawaiian BBQ sauce has more of a soy sauce base, like authentic Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce. Hawaiian teriyaki sauce leans more on the tangy side thanks to its Asian influences.

Hawaiian BBQ sauce pulls to the sweeter side, with hints of tropical fruits and sugarcane. Besides soy sauce, its main ingredients are pineapple juice, sugar (or molasses) and ground ginger. Other tropical juices like mango or passion fruit could replace the pineapple juice. The fruity notes of Hawaiian BBQ sauce will send your mind to the island’s beaches whenever you have a taste.

How to Use Hawaiian BBQ Sauce

For the full luau effect, Hawaiian BBQ sauce can be (and should be) used on all types of meats, seafood, and vegetables. The most notable of these are chicken, steak, pork, white fish, shrimp, scallops, peppers, onions, zucchini, and squash.


Soak a While

Easily, the most popular use for Hawaiian BBQ sauce is as a marinade. Soak your cuts of meat, seafood, and/or veggies in the sauce for a minimum of two hours- the longer the better! Then, brace your senses, as the flavors will come together and create a delicious aroma once they hit the heat.


Drizzle and Pour

Heat up some Hawaiian BBQ sauce and pour it over your finished dish. Add it onto your meats like a glaze or even drizzle it over your rice or sides for a little something extra. Adding Hawaiian BBQ sauce to shish kabobs and skewers of any kind is always a crowd pleaser. You can even thin out Hawaiian BBQ sauce with a bit of olive oil, and drizzle it over your salad.


Dip and Dunk

Much like mainland Americans, Hawaiians love to dip their meats in a variety of sauces. In fact, dipping sauces are customary at the table in Hawaii. Along with other authentic sauces, Hawaiian BBQ sauce is a must when serving dip-able foods. Try it with chicken strips, egg rolls, spring rolls, and coconut shrimp, for starters.


Recipe Ideas

Need a quick island fix? Hawaiian BBQ sauce can do just that. Here are a couple ideas to quickly and easily bring the taste of Hawaii to your plate with Hawaiian BBQ sauce.


Pulled Pork Sliders

Whether you’re a crockpot kind of person or not, this dish requires you to slow cook a slab of pork. A 3-pound pork shoulder works nicely. It’s best to also put some chopped onions in with your meat. Pour a generous amount of Hawaiian BBQ sauce over your meat and onion and make sure the bottom is well covered in sauce so your meat will not burn. Let it cook covered on low heat for about 8 hours, or medium heat for 4 hours. Once it’s tender, juicy, and sauced up, pull the meat apart with two forks (or your fingers). Scoop some on a slider bun and pair with a side of fruit and salad. This dish also works with pulled beef or chicken.


Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Wrap

Get your carbs, protein, fruit, vegetable, and dairy all wrapped into one with this dish. Cook bite size pieces of chicken over medium heat in a skillet with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts work best. Depending on how your portions are, one breast can make 2-3 wraps. Once the chicken is golden brown, remove the pan from the heat, and toss in some Hawaiian BBQ sauce to coat the chicken. Place a heaping spoonful of Hawaiian BBQ chicken on a tortilla wrap and add the toppings of your choice. Try shredded mozzarella cheese, chopped pineapple, chopped red onion, chopped romaine, and a pinch of cilantro. Wrap or roll, secure with a toothpick, and serve immediately.

The Saucier the Better

Now you know the secret to achieving authentic Hawaiian food: well-seasoned meats, veggies, and seafood slathered and drizzled in fruity, tangy sauces. Adding Hula Sauce to your homemade meal- or treating yourself to a meal at a Hula Restaurant- will have you saying “Aloha” and swaying your hips like a hula dancer once you’ve had a taste of the tropics!