Grilled Poultry

Hawaiian Huli-Huli Chicken Kabobs

If it seems like our grill has pretty much been going nonstop from the beginning of the month until now…it has! We’re really getting to enjoy our new deck, and firing up the grill for a great meal outside has been a wonderful way to do that.

It’s also a great way to ignore the slow drawn-out death of our oven, and the fact that our over-range microwave doesn’t vent properly. I’ve been trying to hold off on replacing them until we figure out just how much work we want to put into this kitchen, but I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet. That sobbing sound you hear is my wallet. Did I mention the new deck part?


With Baby Bean’s first birthday coming up soon {holy cow, you guys} and with him very enthusiastically eating everything in sight, I’ve been having a lot of fun introducing him to our favorite foods. And since Scott and I spent about ten years of our lives living in Hawaii, there’s a lot of island flavor in there.

Huli-huli chicken usually features prominently. My husband and son devour it with equal gusto.

Huli-huli chicken is chicken basted with sweet and spicy teriyaki-like huli-huli sauce and barbecued over charcoal and mesquite wood. Most Hawaiian chefs won’t give out their huli-huli recipe, so you’ve got to either buy a bottle of the good stuff or make an approximation of your own.

Mine is a total approximation. As with many things I make, I’m sure it’s fairly close to the taste, but there are probably a lot of traditional or local things I’m leaving out. If you want legit authentic huli-huli, buy the sauce. If you just want some really good chicken, mine will do the trick.

Let me just throw it out there. I will never claim that I cook authentic cuisine or that my recipes are 100% accurate. Hell, I don’t even have a working oven right now. However, I will totally tell you how to make some absolutely delicious food.

Trust me when I say this chicken is amazing. And the grilled veg is top notch.

Hawaiian Huli-Huli Chicken Kabobs

Serves 4.

What You’ll Need:

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

For the kabobs:

  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 red onion, cut in half and quartered
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in half and quartered
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut in half and quartered
  • 1/2 a pineapple, chopped into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 1-2 summer squash, cut into 1/2 inch slices

How to Make It:

1. Let’s start with the sauce. In a small bowl, mix together the pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, and vinegar. Set a small sauce pan over medium heat and pour in the pineapple mixture. When it starts to simmer, add the brown sugar and ginger and whisk to combine. Simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand.

2. Once the sauce has cooled, cube the chicken breasts and let marinate in 2 cups of the huli-huli sauce for about 30 minutes. Reserve the rest of the sauce.

3. Preheat your grill to medium heat (about 300-350).

4. Load your skewers with chicken, pineapple, peppers, onions, and squash to your preference. I like to place the chicken near the pineapple so it soaks up some of the pineapple juices and caramelizes nicely.

5. Grill the kabobs for about 15 minutes, turning every 4-5 minutes and basting with additional huli-huli sauce as desired. The kabobs are done when the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165F.

6. Let the kabobs rest until they’re cool enough to handle and serve. You can let folks nibble off the kabobs, or slide the cooked food off the skewer into a bowl.

Nothing like the sight of those hot coals and cooking food!

Pair as you like, but Huli-Huli goes extremely well with a nice cold Longboard Lager from the Kona Brewing Company, if you ask me.

Who’s loving grill season – whether or not your oven is working?


About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.

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