Saturday, September 17, 2011

Huli Huli Chicken on The Egg

We first heard of Huli Huli chicken from a song called, of all things, Huli Huli Chicken, by the Barefoot Natives. We loved the song, and for that matter, the whole album, Slack Key Circus. The more we listened to it, the more we wanted to try this intriguing Huli Huli Chicken thing. So we looked it up on the Internet and found lots of information and recipes for Huli Huli Chicken, most of them quite similar. The magic ingredients are soy sauce, brown sugar, frozen pineapple juice, catsup, rice vinegar, fresh ginger and garlic.

We decided to try Huli Huli chicken - on the Big Green Egg, of course, to see if it measured up to its reputation. And, of course, it did. Simply the best chicken we've ever tasted! That was awhile ago, so we thought it was high time we tried it again - which we did on Labor Day.

"Huli" is the Hawaiian word for "turn." Ernest Morgado "invented" Huli Huli chicken in 1955 when barbecuing a batch of chicken for some farmers using his mother's marinade recipe. It became such a hit that he registered the trademark with the Territory of Hawaii in 1958 and with the US Government in 1965. Morgado cooked the chicken between two grills and when one side was done someone would shout "Huli" and the grills would be flipped over.

We mixed up a batch of marinade, let it soak into a cut up chicken, fired up our Big Green Egg, tossed on some soaked mesquite chips (the other secret ingredient), and turned and swabbed the chicken every five minutes. You have to "huli" (turn) your chicken every five minutes to prevent the brown sugar from burning. 

As luck would have it Wilfred Reinke (Oshawa Ogre's Views, News & BBQ's Blog - an excellent blog, check it out!) had done a review of the Grill Star BBQ App for the iPhone and we decided to try it out on the Huli Huli chicken. It's a cool App and at 99 cents it is well worth the investment. With a little bit of a learning curve on how to use the flip timer serially (OK, when Gary broke down and read the directions) we were faithfully notified to turn the chicken every five minutes. The only downside is that the App only works with Maria's iPhone 4 and not Gary's iPhone 3 working on its ossified operating system.

Meanwhile, back at the Big Green Egg, the chicken took about an hour to cook at about 300 degrees and turned out every bit as good as we remembered it! And we had a blast listening to the Barefoot Natives on Maria's iPhone and shouting "Huli Huli" every time we turned the chicken (honest; we did: every time - we are that goofy). If you haven't tried Huli Huli chicken, then give this recipe a try on your Egg:

One cut up chicken (we got ours from Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup frozen pineapple concentrate
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup catsup (again, Trader Joe's)
1 piece of fine grated ginger
3 cloves of crushed garlic
3 Tablespoons of brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar

Mix up the ingredients and use about half to marinate the chicken for at least an hour. Reserve the remainder to baste the chicken when it is on the grill. Heat the Egg to the 300 to 350 degree range, apply your presoaked mesquite chips and proceed to turn and baste the chicken every 5 minutes until it is done. Oh, and don't forget to shout Huli Huli when you turn the chicken!

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