Bacon Wrapped Huli Huli Chicken & Pineapple Kabobs
Finger-licking “Huli Huli” is Hawaii’s world-renowned barbecued chicken. “Huli huli” means “turn turn” in Hawaiian. Sticky and sweet, huli huli sauce has Japanese roots. It is an ingenious take on teriyaki, enhancing it with tropical pineapple and sugarcane. Pineapple is known for its magical tenderizing powers. The high sugar content in the marinade creates a molasses-like lacquer once grilled. This sugary sauce is prone to burn, so cook low and slow. Don’t forget to “huli huli.” Experiment with it on pork, steak, shrimp, salmon, eggplant, or tofu. Your guests will say “mahalo.”
Plan on preparing the Huli Huli sauce 2 hours prior to grilling. In a large mixing bowl, whisk all the sauce ingredients together until well combined. Place cubed chicken in a large, Ziploc bag. Pour ½ cup marinade over chicken. Turn several times until evenly coated. Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours. Reserve the remaining marinade to make the glaze in a small covered container in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the bacon strips on the parchment paper. Par-bake 8 to 12 minutes until just beginning to get golden around the edges, but still very pliable. Remove from the oven and set-aside until cool. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan on medium heat, simmer leftover marinade until reduced and thickened about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat your grill to medium low about 325°F and no higher than 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. If using bamboo skewers, remove them from the water. Remove chicken from refrigerator. Cut bacon pieces large enough to wrap around the cubed chicken and pineapple chunks. Wrap each piece of chicken with bacon, securing it through the center of the skewer. Next wrap a piece of pineapple with a piece of bacon securing it through the center, of the skewer. Repeat until each skewer is full, alternating the bacon wrapped chicken and pineapple. Place the filled skewers on the baking sheet.
Alternatively, an easier method is to weave the whole bacon strips between pieces of chicken and pineapple on the skewers. Any remaining ingredients, like pineapple, can be skewered and grilled. Guaranteed, they will get devoured.
When the grill is hot, oil the grill plate. Place the skewers on grill and close lid. Now “Huli Huli!” After 5 minutes, turn the skewers, closing the lid. Continue grilling and turning every 5 minutes until the temperature of the chicken’s interior registers 165°F, about 20 minutes total grilling time. Once cooked, brush the skewers liberally with the reserved Huli Huli glaze.
Remove from the grill, placing them on a serving platter. Let rest few minutes before serving.