This summer was amazing and I owe a huge thank you to Hawaii. As you already know, Brian and I went to Hawaii because our cousin was getting married. So of course we decided to make a vacation out of the occasion. This was one of my favorite trips I’ve ever been on. Maui was not only beautiful and rich with culture, but also has some of the most delicious food. One dish we cannot get out of our minds is Huli Huli Chicken. ‘Huli’ in Hawaiian mean ‘turn’. So the name translates into ‘turn turn chicken,’ also know as, roasted chicken. This chicken was so juicy and tasty we had it more than once.
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I was ready to recreate Huli Huli Chicken
When we got back home to New York, we decided we needed to recreate this dish. I started my research online for any and all huli huli chicken marinate recipes. I don’t have a rotisserie machine so I knew I would have a bake a chicken in the oven and find a sauce/marinate to pair with it. All the marinate recipes I found used very similar combinations of soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, sherry or chicken broth, and garlic. Once I figured out my marinate recipe, I turned to The Food Lab cookbook to find the best method for making a whole chicken in the oven. I decided to go with the butterfly method, or spatchcock. This would allow it to cook faster, have crisper skin and juicier meat.
I was ready to give this recreation a try. It was my first time making a whole chicken and I was little intimidated. Thank goodness for the photos in my cookbook because I had Brian hold up the book when I started to spatcock my chicken.
To spatchcock or not to spatchcock?
Huli Huli Chicken
- Whole Chicken (3-4lbs)
- 2 tbsp. of olive oil
- Kosher Salt and black pepper
- ¼ cup Soy sauce
- ¼ cup Brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Sherry
- 1 tsp. Sesame Oil
- 2 cloves Garlic
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a medium bowl mix together your marinate ingredients: brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sherry and garlic. Place to the side.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Separate the legs of the chicken and remove the giblets from the inside of the turkey.
- Flip the chicken over so that its breast down on a cutting board. You want to remove the spine.
- Using a pair of poultry scissors, start at the legs of the chicken and cut around the thigh. Go straight up until you reach the top and repeat on the other side of the spine.
- Remove the spine and be sure to remove any large packets of fat and or exposed red marrow.
- Flip the chicken over and press down on the breast to flatten.
- After you’re done spatchcocking the chicken, separate the skin from the breast of the chicken gently with your fingers so it does not tear. Separating the skin slightly will allow it to get crispy.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towel. Then rub olive oil all over and under the skin and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Line a rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil, place a wire rack over the cookie sheet, and then place the chicken on top of the cookie sheet, breast side up.
- Place on the middle rack of your preheated oven. Chicken will cook for 35-45 minutes depending on how large.
- 10 minutes before it’s ready, lightly brush the marinate all over the chicken. Cook until the thickest part of the breast reaches 145 degrees and the joint between the thighs reaches 165 degrees.
- Remove from the oven, place on a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes.
We sliced the chicken up and poured more marinate over the top. I made my moms yellow rice recipe to pair with the dish. This chicken was so tasty and I was so proud of myself. However, this is not a weekday meal. It took a while for the prepping and cooking. Did I mention it was 95 degrees out and I had the oven on 450 degrees? Even with the air conditioning, Brian and I were sweating like crazy! But it was absolutely worth it.
When leftovers take over.
I hate eating the same meal twice in a row; I needed to find another use for the leftover chicken. So I decided to make a Panini. I paired the chicken with avocado, caramelized onions, cheese and a spicy mayo on fresh country bread. Brian decided to take some of the extra marinate and mixed it in with his mayo, which was pretty tasty as well.
Huli Huli Chicken Panini
We’re using the leftover chicken from the recipe above. So if you want this Panini, make the chicken first!
- 4 Slices of your favorite bread
- 1 small avocado, sliced
- 1 small onion, sliced into rings
- 2 slices of mozzarella cheese
- 1 small tomato sliced
- Half a cup of baby spinach
- 1 Tbsp. of olive oil
- 2 tsp. Butter
- Leftover huli huli chicken, sliced or shredded
- Spicy Mayo
- 4 tbsps. of mayo
- 1 tsp. of hot sauce
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a small bowl, mix together some mayo, hot sauce, and cayenne pepper. Cover and place in fridge until you are ready to assemble your Panini.
- In a medium pan over medium high heat, warm up your olive oil.
- Once your oil is hot, add your sliced onion and cook until they are soft, translucent, and start to brown slightly.
- Remove from heat and place to the side.
- Let your pan cool and then wipe clean.
- Start to assemble your sandwich: spread you mayo on all slices of bread, then add your chicken, onion, tomato, cheese, avocado and spinach.
- Heat the pan over medium heat and add 1 tsp. of butter.
- Once the butter melts, place the sandwich in the pan and press down with a spatula.
- When the bread is golden brown (about 1-2 minutes) flip it over and cook until golden brown on the other side.
- Remove from pan and repeat for second sandwich.
This Panini transformed the chicken and it didn’t feel like I was eating leftovers. Feel free to mix and match your ingredients within the Panini to make it your own. If you love mushrooms or peppers and hate onion replace it. A Panini offers limitless combinations. Overall, my experience making Huli Huli chicken was a success and I would not be surprised if someone (Brian) asked for this on meal on his birthday.