Huli is the Hawaiian word for “turn.” As the dish was originally made on a grill with a makeshift spit, onlookers shouted “huli” when the chickens were ready to be rotated for cooking and basting the other side.
Huli Huli Chicken
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
6 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup lime juice (or unseasoned rice vinegar)
½ cup chili sauce ((I use Sriracha sauce)
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup honey, warmed
(Alternate: packed dark brown sugar or Swerve)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 ½ to 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
Grapeseed or canola oil, for brushing the grill grate
Combine ginger, garlic, and lime juice in a food processor and process until ginger and garlic are a paste. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and pulse a few times until well mixed. Reserve and refrigerate 1/2 cup of the mixture for basting the chicken later.
In a large bowl or a gallon-size resealable plastic bag, add the chicken to the remaining mixture, and stir or shake until the chicken is evenly coated. If using a bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, turning the chicken several times. Remove chicken from the refrigerator an hour before you start cooking to lose the chill and reduce the cooking time.
When you’re ready to cook, oil your grill grates well. Heat the grill to low-medium. Add the chicken to the grill, cover, and cook 25 to 35 minutes, basting and turning every 5 minutes. Cook until the chicken has an internal temp of at least 165 degrees.
Bake chicken at 350 degrees, basting and turning every 5 minutes, and start checking temperature of the meat after 20 minutes. Cook until the chicken has an internal temp of at least 165 degrees. If needed, broil for 5 minutes for a deeper glaze.
Serve immediately with coconut rice, baked yams, grilled pineapple slices…or a chopped salad of cucumbers and tomatoes with a lemon juice dressing.