Skip to Content

Smoked Huli Huli Chicken

Hey there, food lovers! Today, we’re diving headfirst into a flavor explosion that’s as satisfying as a victory dance at a karaoke night – Smoked Huli Huli Chicken! Yep, you heard that right. Now, I’m gonna take you on a culinary rollercoaster, sharing my journey of crafting this juicy, smoky delight on a pellet grill. So buckle up and get ready to tantalize those taste buds!

smoked huli huli chicken

How to Make Smoked Huli Huli Chicken

Picture this: a warm breeze, friends gathered ’round, and the sweet aroma of marinated chicken sizzling on a pellet grill. It’s practically poetry in motion! Alright, let’s get down to business with a quick rundown of the steps:

  1. Marinate, Marinate, Marinate: Before you even think of firing up that pellet grill, give your chicken a good ol’ soak in a mouthwatering marinade. Whip up a mix of soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and a dash of pineapple juice. Let your chicken soak up all that goodness for a few hours – trust me, the flavors will thank you later.
  2. Preheat and Prep the Grill: Now, grab your pellet grill and fire it up to around 225°F. It’s like giving your grill a gentle “wake-up” nudge. While it’s getting all toasty, take a moment to pat your marinated chicken dry (oh, that marinade will still be in there, don’t worry) and sprinkle on some of that fantastic rub we’re gonna talk about next.
  3. Into the Smoke Zone: Pop your seasoned chicken onto the grill grates and let the magic happen! Close that lid and let those wood pellets work their smoky wonders. Oh, and don’t forget to rotate the chicken every now and then – think of it as a little BBQ ballet.
  4. Keep That Temp in Check: Now, here’s where the real grill wizardry comes into play. Keep an eye on that temperature – you’re aiming for an internal temp of 165°F. It’s like giving your chicken a cozy blanket of perfection. It might take a couple of hours, so grab a cold drink and get ready to showcase your newfound patience.
  5. Glaze It Up: Right before your chicken hits that temperature sweet spot, slather on some more of that marinade you saved. That’s the huli huli sauce doing its thing – adding that final layer of yum that’ll have your guests singing your praises louder than the karaoke champion!

Which rub is best

Let’s talk about the unsung hero of this flavorful fiesta – the rub! Now, I’m all about that balance of sweet and smoky, so my go-to rub includes a dance of paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, a pinch of cayenne, and a sprinkle of thyme. It’s like a flavor party that everyone’s invited to, and trust me, no one’s leaving early!

smoked huli huli chicken recipe

Type of wood pellets to use

Ah, the wood pellets – the aromatic backbone of this whole shindig. For that authentic Hawaiian touch, I’m all in on a mix of mesquite and hickory pellets. It’s like bringing a little slice of paradise to your backyard. The smokiness from the mesquite and the warmth from the hickory create a harmony that’ll have your taste buds doing a hula dance!

What to serve with it

Alright, the main event’s covered, but what about the supporting cast? For me, it’s all about balance. A fresh pineapple salsa adds that zing that complements the smokiness of the chicken like a perfect duet. Throw in some grilled veggies for that touch of earthiness, and you’ve got yourself a meal that’s worthy of a standing ovation.

Any leftovers?

Now, let’s be real – leftovers are a part of life. But fear not, because these smoked huli huli chicken leftovers are like the gift that keeps on giving. Slice ’em up and toss ’em into a salad for a next-level lunch, or get creative and stuff ’em into a quesadilla. You’ve got the power, my friend!

what is huli huli chicken

So there you have it, folks – the saga of Smoked Huli Huli Chicken, brought to life on a pellet grill. From marinades to wood pellets, I’ve spilled the beans (and the rub!) on how to make your taste buds do a happy hula. As I wrap up this flavorful journey, remember – cooking is all about throwing in your personality, your flair, and a dash of adventure.

Thank you for joining me on this culinary escapade, and always remember, in the world of food, there are no rules – just delicious discoveries waiting to be made. Now go on, grab that grill tongs, and let’s create some smoky magic together. Until next time, keep your grills hot and your spirits hotter. Aloha, flavor aficionados!

Smoked Huli Huli Chicken

Craving for some mouthwatering smoked Huli Huli chicken? Look no further! Our easy-to-follow recipe will have you grilling like a pro in no time.

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Marinating 4 hours
Servings 4


  • 4 bone-in skin-on chicken leg quarters

For the Marinade:

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

For Basting:

  • Reserved marinade


Marinating the Chicken

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients: soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, minced garlic, black pepper, and grated ginger. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the marinade for basting later. This will ensure a burst of flavor as the chicken cooks.
  3. Place the chicken leg quarters in a resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken, ensuring it's evenly coated. Seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to let those flavors mingle and dance.

Preparing and Smoking the Chicken

  1. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling. This helps the chicken cook evenly.
  2. While the chicken is resting, preheat your pellet grill to 225°F. Prepare it for smoking using your choice of mesquite and hickory wood pellets.
  3. Pat the marinated chicken dry using paper towels. This helps create a crispy skin when smoked.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together all the rub ingredients: paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and dried thyme.
  5. Sprinkle the rub mixture generously over all sides of the chicken leg quarters, pressing it into the skin for maximum flavor.

Smoking and Basting

  1. Place the seasoned chicken leg quarters on the grill grates, skin side up. Close the lid and let the magic happen.
  2. After about an hour, baste the chicken with the reserved marinade using a grill brush. This adds an extra layer of flavor and moisture.
  3. Monitor the internal temperature of the chicken using a meat thermometer. When the temperature reaches around 150°F, it's time for the next step.

Glazing and Finishing

  1. Give the chicken one last baste with the marinade and increase the grill temperature to around 350°F.
  2. Keep a close eye on the chicken as it cooks. When the internal temperature reaches 165°F (about 2.5 - 3 hours of total cooking time), your huli huli chicken is ready to rock your taste buds!
  3. Carefully remove the chicken from the grill using tongs and transfer it to a serving platter. Let it rest for a few minutes before digging in.

Recipe Notes

Serve: Serve up your smoked huli huli chicken with a side of fresh pineapple salsa and grilled veggies

Recipe Rating