Huli-Huli Chicken Wings

Huli Huli Chicken Wings

In my previous life I gave many presentations to different executives including CEO’s, General Managers and Vice Presidents at Fortune 100 companies.  This never really bothered me and it certainly didn’t prepare me for what was ahead.  This past weekend I was faced with a very daunting and scary task.  A challenge more frightening than the tax collector and potentially more stressful than a sinking ship.

I agreed to let my daughter have a “sleep-over” party for her 10th birthday!

Pinata at Birthday Part

So, here I am — Mr. Logic, Mr Black & White, Type A, fearful of a house full of 10 year old girls.  It was just a couple of years ago that we had a big birthday party for her and even with my mother’s assistance it was stressful.  There was the bickering, the arguing and the “she-said” “no, she said” ordeal.  What had I done?

In advance of the party, my daughter decided that she wanted a pinata and some games for the activities.  She wanted to go out to her favorite ice cream parlor instead of a birthday cake. We also agreed on the specific snacks, drinks and menu which included grilled chicken and homemade potato chips for her posse.  At least with my kids and their friends there can be some finicky ones, so I decided on “plain ole” grilled chicken and Huli-Huli chicken.  I have made Huli-Huli chicken wings a few times.  My son really likes it and at least around here, when I find something they will eat that is not “plain” then it’s a great day.

Huli-Huli Chicken traces its roots back to 1955 when the head of Pacific Poultry in Hawaii, Mr. Ernest Morgado, made some teriyaki chicken for a group of farmers. Mr. Morgado decided to barbecue chickens that had been marinated in his mother’s special teriyaki sauce. The chicken was a hit with the farmers and it left them wanting more. Morgado realized he had discovered a hidden gem and started marketing his mother’s teriyaki chicken sauce. Morgado barbecued the large quantities of chickens between two grills. After one side of the chicken was cooked, someone would shout, “huli,”Hawaiian for “turn”, and then the other side would be barbecued.  He eventually trademarked the name. Anyone who has ever visited Oahu has probably witnessed the Huli-Huli roadside stands on the weekends.

There are many recipe variations for Huli-Huli chicken. Some call for wine, some call for frozen pineapple concentrate.  Because the original Huli-Huli recipe is proprietary, I don’t know if anyone knows the authentic version.  I have tried several incarnations and the kids seem to enjoy this Huli-Huli recipe the best.  You can use this same sauce on chicken breasts and you can bake or grill. I have done both and either works well.  One other comment, I have marinated the chicken for several hours in the Huli-Huli sauce and I’ve also prepared by just simply basting during the last 15 minutes of cooking.  I prefer the basting method as there doesn’t seem to be any noticeable difference by going through the extra step of the marinating process.


  • 3 pounds of chicken wings
  • 1/3 cup Ketchup
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried ginger. I prefer to use fresh ginger root, but didn’t seem to have any for this occasion.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced small and then crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • OPTIONAL: When I make this for the “big kids”, I add a tablespoon of chili sauce or a mild hot sauce (not this time, because of the children).


  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and whisk.
  2. Cook the wingettes for 45 minutes on the grill at medium-high heat. While the wingettes are grilling, bring the pot of mixed ingredients to a slow boil, then reduce to a simmer until it is ready to baste the wingettes.
  3. After 45 minutes, baste the wingettes with your sauce.  Turn frequently and make sure the heat is not too high at this point.  Due to the sugars in the sauce it can burn or overcook very quickly.  It takes about 15 minutes depending on your grill temperature.

The kids loved the potato chips.  Homemade chips were new to all of the them.  The Huli-Huli Chicken…..well, my son ate most of those wingettes when the girls weren’t looking.

The party wasn’t scary at all.  It was probably the best group of 10 year old girls I had ever been around.  No fussing, just a lot of candy eating, ice cream eating and fun. Am I getting older and more tolerant or are they just growing out of one of those younger phases? All I know now is that you might be surprised how aggressive a group of sweet girls can be when you hang a defenseless pinata in the air.  They even beat that thing after all the candy had fallen to the ground!

This entry was posted in Appetizer, BBQ and Grilling, Chicken and Turkey, Hot Sauce & Fiery Food Reviews, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

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