Life in a Northern Town

Who Needs A Little Huli Huli??

It's finally warming up. We've been in the deep freeze for the last couple weeks and 25 degrees above zero is my version of a heat wave in February. And that means grilling some huli huli chicken and pineapple for dinner. Lighting the grill with snowflakes drifting downward seems kind of counterintuitive but it's a nice reminder of all the summer nights to come. Who couldn't use a little luau and huli huli in the middle of winter?

Huli Huli Chicken (Adapted from The Best Of America's Test Kitchen 2010)

Brine & Chicken
3 quarts water
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 1/3 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup kosher salt
2 cups brown sugar
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered
2 tbsp red pepper flakes 2 whole chickens, quartered

Glaze
2 1/4 cups pineapple juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup rice vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp Asian chili-garlic sauce

Brine Preparation
In a large stockpot, add the water, sugar and salt. Heat until the sugar and salt is melted and then cool completely. Once the water/sugar/salt mixture is cool, add the remaining ingredients, including the chicken, to a very large container, place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours.

Glaze Preparation
Combine the pineapple juice, sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, ginger and chili-garlic sauce in an empty saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thick and syrupy (you should have about 1 cup) 20 to 25 minutes. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Grilling The Chicken
Prepare a charcoal grill and heat until hot. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Arrange the chicken, skin-side up, on the grill and grill, covered, until the chicken is well browned and the thickest part of the thigh registers 120 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Flip the chicken skin-side down and continue to grill, covered, until the skin is well browned and crisp, about another 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter, brush with half the glaze, and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve, passing the remaining glaze at the table.