Huli-huli chicken
Huli-huli chicken skewers
Place of originHawaii
Created by
Invented1955; 69 years ago (1955)
Main ingredientschicken, pineapple, ginger, soy sauce
Ingredients generally usedketchup, sugar, sesame oil, garlic

Huli-huli chicken is a grilled chicken dish in Hawaiian cuisine, prepared by barbecuing a chicken over mesquite wood, and basting it with a sweet huli-huli sauce.[1]


In 1954, Ernest Morgado, a naval intelligence officer during World War II, and Mike Asagi, a chicken farmer, founded the Pacific Poultry Company in 'Ewa, Hawaii. The next year, at a meeting with farmers, Morgado and Asagi first barbecued chicken in a teriyaki-like sauce, Morgado's mother's recipe.[2][3][4] After seeing its popularity, Morgado began cooking huli-huli chicken at fundraisers. Millions of dollars have been raised over the years for charities by selling huli-huli chicken, according to Morgado's stepson.[2] Fundraisers at churches and schools selling huli-huli chicken were common around Hawaii for many years.[5]

Huli is the Hawaiian word for "turn."[6] As the dish was originally made on a grill with a makeshift spit, onlookers shouted "huli" when the chickens were to be rotated, cooking and basting the other side.[7][8] Morgado, through the Pacific Poultry Company, trademarked "huli-huli" in 1967.[7][9]

Morgado became famous with his huli-huli chicken recipe. He served on the Hawaii Board of Agriculture,[10] was appointed honorary vice consul of Portugal,[11] and was awarded the Honolulu Portuguese Chamber of Commerce's "Council's Cup" in 1981.[2] Later, beginning in 1986, Morgado bottled and sold huli-huli sauce in stores.[2][7]

Today, huli-huli chicken can be found around Hawaii, in restaurants, road-side stands, mini-marts and drive-ins.[12][13] At many locations, chicken are cooked on racks en masse and sold.[14]


Cooking huli-huli chicken en masse on an outdoor grill

Morgado never released his huli-huli sauce recipe, though other chefs have made approximations.[7]

Most recipes call for a glaze or sauce with ingredients including pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, honey or brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic.[1][7][8][15] Some recipes may call for lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha[8] or red pepper flakes,[7] rice wine or sherry vinegar,[15] chicken broth, white wine, or mustard.[16] Some recipes call for brining the chicken in a solution with kosher salt, sugar, bay leaves, garlic,[15] sesame oil, or thyme,[17] before marinating it in the sauce.

The chicken can be cooked on a grill or a rotisserie. While cooking, it is regularly basted with the glaze, and turned over ("huli-ed").[17] Mesquite (kiawe) wood chips are traditionally used to add a smoky flavor.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Huli Huli Chicken". Cook's Country. June 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Lum, Curtis (7 November 2002). "Huli-Huli chicken creator Ernest Morgado dies at 85". The Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  3. ^ Ronck 1995, p. 228
  4. ^ "The Companies We Keep". Hawaii Magazine. Vol. 21. 2004. p. 49. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  5. ^ Barron, Natania (16 August 2012). "Eat Like a Geek: Huli Huli Chicken!". Wired. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  6. ^ Mishan, Ligaya (19 March 2012). "Lani Kai". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Heckathorn, John (5 June 2009). "Turn! Turn! Turn! How to make Huli-Huli Chicken". Hawai'i Magazine. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Rabine, Rob (13 July 2017). "Recipe — Huli Huli chicken, a trip to the tropics". Shoreline Times. Hearst Media Services Connecticut. Archived from the original on 26 January 2020. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  9. ^ Morales, Manolo (10 November 2014). "Noh Foods sued over 'Huli-Huli' trademark infringement". KHON2. Nexstar Broadcasting. Archived from the original on 2017-08-10. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  10. ^ United States. Federal Highway Administration (1979). FAP-51, Hanamaulu-Ahukini Cutoff Road, Kauai: Environmental Impact Statement. p. F-28. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  11. ^ Tiym Publishing Company 2005, p. 181
  12. ^ Kessler 2012, p. ?
  13. ^ Nabhan 2006, p. 193
  14. ^ Pomai (6 April 2013). "Hoku's "Huri Huri" Chicken". Tasty Island Honolulu Food Blog. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  15. ^ a b c Fieri, Guy. "Huli Huli Chicken on the Grill". Food Network. Scripps Networks. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  16. ^ Carruthers, Valenciana & Scholl 2016, p. 160
  17. ^ a b Raichlen 2003, pp. 389–392?