Monday, April 11, 2011

Hawaii's Huli Huli Chicken: Hoo Haw!

Be prepared. If you see smoke ahead while driving in Hawaii, get ready to jerk the wheel, skid to a stop, and hit the ground running. Huli huli chicken is on the grill and it's first come, first served. Roadside barbecues are often set up in rural areas, like going north from Anahola on Kauai, near Kawaihae on the Big Island, at Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu, and near Big Beach on Maui. On weekends, beach park parties feature huli huli, and and you're certain to score the tangy-sweet meat at any outdoor event that has food.

Kind of a mix between teriyaki and Texas, recipes for this Hawaiian treat are guarded by the practitioners. But you can count on soy sauce, ginger, sherry, and brown cane sugar to be among the ingredients. The flame, most often supplied by wood chips, is kept hot (often resting on corrugated metal) and grillers must take care to keep the chicken turning—huli huli means "turn turn". At major events, the sooty-and-sauce-stained chefs move like conductors in a symphony orchestra.