Huli Huli Sauce (for chicken or ribs)

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Huli Huli Sauce is a sweet and savory Hawaiian teriyaki barbecue sauce that adds wonderful flavor to chicken or ribs.

huli huli sauce in a a pineapple bowl

Huli Huli chicken is a popular dish in Hawaii. The word huli in Hawaiian means to turn. This famous Hawaiian barbequed chicken is traditionally marinated and then grilled over a fire on a rotisserie or spit.

You might be wondering what does huli huli sauce taste like? The flavor is intensely sweet and savory with a hint of spiciness. Pineapple juice and brown sugar are paired with sweet Hawaiian onions, garlic, and shoyu. The result is best described as a teriyaki barbeque sauce.

What’s in Huli Huli Sauce?

ingredients for huli huli sauce

How to Use

After blending the ingredients to a smooth consistency, the Huli Huli sauce recipe does double duty as a marinade and basting sauce.

Start by using half of the sauce to marinate chicken or pork ribs, and then use the remaining marinade as a basting sauce during grilling.

Marinating the meat overnight is best, then grill chicken on an indirect fire or rotisserie.

huli huli ribs on the grill

How to Make Authentic Huli Huli Chicken

Traditionally huli huli chicken was made by roasting whole fryer chickens that had been marinated over a wood fire on a spit. The chickens were turned rotisserie style.

This marinade recipe can also be used to marinate chicken pieces or even pork ribs.

The Best Huli Huli Chicken on Maui

While Hawaiian huli huli chicken is world famous, most Hawaiian bbq places also have huli huli ribs. The sweet and savory sauce adds mega flavor to either one.

I love to try out all the food places when I’m in Maui, and hands down, the best Hawaiian barbecue on Maui is at Braddah Huts Barbecue in Hana. It’s completely worth the drive if you’re going to be on the Island.

huli huli ribs close up and juicy

Huli Huli Chicken, also in Hana, at Koki Beach Park, is also worth mentioning. They have no website. You’ll find them grilling over a wood fire at the beach park. Bring cash and a hearty appetite.

What to serve with Huli Huli Chicken or Ribs

Hungry for more Hawaiian Recipes?

Check out my full lineup of Hawaiian Recipes and plan your next backyard luau menu.

You’ll find your favorite Hawaiian Cocktails like the classic Mai Tai and new finds like the Pineapple Martini. Plus all the Hawaiian recipes you’ll ever need.

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huli huli bbq sauce in a fresh pineapple bowl

Huli Huli Sauce Recipe

by: Laura Reigel
Huli Huli Sauce is a sweet and tangy Hawaiian barbecue sauce that add wonderful flavor to chicken or ribs.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Course Marinade
Cuisine Hawaiian
Servings 8
Calories 116 kcal


  • high-speed blender
  • grill thermometer
  • probe thermometer
  • zip-top bags
  • basting brush


  • 1 cup pineapple Juice
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • ½ cup soy sauce, or shoyu
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar, or sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha, optional


  • Blend: Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
    1 cup pineapple Juice, 1 cup pineapple chunks, ½ cup soy sauce, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup ketchup, ¼ cup rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, 4 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • Marinate: Use one half of the sauce to marinate either chicken or ribs. Marinate overnight or at least a minimum of 4 hours.
  • Reduce: Add the rest of the sauce to a saucepan and simmer on low until it is the consistency of a barbecue sauce. Use this extra sauce to baste the meat during cooking.
  • Grill: set up you grill for indirect heat.
  • Huli Huli Ribs: Grill @ 250°F for 4 hours. Baste the ribs with huli huli sauce periodically. Ribs should be 225°F to make sure that they are fall off the bone tender. Use a probe thermometer to check the internal temperature.
  • Huli Huli Chicken: Cut a whole chicken into fryer pieces and marinate it. Grill on indirect heat until the internal temperature reached 165°F. Baste the chicken periodically with extra huli huli sauce.

Laura’s Tips + Notes

  1. Nutrtion info is calculated for the huli huli sauce only. 
Keyword hawaiian bbq sauce, huli huli chicken, huli huli ribs, huli huli sauce

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  1. 5 stars
    Best Teriyaki Sauce I’ve ever had.
    Easy to make and better than any store brand I’ve had.
    Bonus- no preservatives.
    Make this snd you will never by store bought again.
    5 Star perfection!

    1. Thank you, so much Mike, for this awesome review. I love that you gave this huli huli sauce recipe a try and loved it. This is one of my old school favorites. Happy Cooking.

  2. 4 stars
    I adpated my own version from this because the soy sause just overpowered the taste. I like the thickness of this in its a marinade and a thin bbq sauce topping.
    To me the hit is the brown sugar versus the pinnaple.
    Try 1 cup ketchup 1/2 cup pin juice 1/2 cup pin chunks, 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 tspn of chopped garlic 1/2 tbsn sesame oil and 1/2 tbsn ginger or ginger powder (PS not a ginger lover)
    Blend it all together and put in pan and cook til boiling then cool off for a marinade and or basting.
    (I put one drop of Mesquite smoke in mine sometimes)

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