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The Best Easy Grilled Keto Huli Huli Chicken | Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Make any dinner amazing with this recipe for keto Huli Huli chicken. Marinate & baste chicken in a sugar-free Hawaiian BBQ sauce and enjoy!

Have you ever tried Huli Huli Chicken?

I tasted it when we took a trip to Antigua a few years ago at a Hawaiian-themed dinner at the resort.

The best way to describe it is flavorful chicken with a sweet barbecue sauce with some Asian flavors.

When we got back I tried to figure out a way to make something similar that wasn’t filled with so much sugar.

Anne from Simply2Moms holding a platter of Huli Huli Chicken at a backyard luau

Today, I’m sharing what I came up with, and it is without a doubt one of my favorite ways to make chicken!

I can’t wait for you to try it and fall in love with Hawaiian BBQ chicken too.

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Why Is it Called Huli Huli Chicken?

The word Huli means “turn” in Hawaiian.

And that’s exactly what you’ll be doing when you grill it: turning it!

Platter with grilled Hawaiian chicken with Huli Huli sauce

We’re keeping things authentic with this recipe and using bone-in chicken thighs with the skin on.

It helps make this keto chicken recipe so flavorful and juicy.

But the fat in the chicken can cause some flare-ups on a grill so you need to turn the chicken often to protect it from burning up.

A nonstick anti-flare grill topper like this one can also help reduce flames from burning the skin.

I stepped away for a minute at the end of cooking to grab my phone to take pictures and a few of my thighs blackened up some of the sauce, but the skin itself was still so good!

How Do You Make Hawaiian BBQ Sauce?

It’s really easy to make this keto Huli Huli sauce!

Odds are you keep most of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge.

And this sauce is amazing on more than just chicken thighs.

I’ve used it on pork chops, chicken wings, chicken breasts, spare ribs, and pork tenderloin and they’re all delicious!

Ramekins filled with ingredients to make Huli Huli chicken marinade

You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Tomato paste
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Swerve Brown -or- Golden monk fruit (use brown sugar for a non-keto version)
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Minced garlic
  • Minced ginger
  • Soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • Water
  • Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
  • Unsweetened pineapple juice
Bowl of marinade ingredients to make Hawaiian barbecue

I whisk all the ingredients together, except the pineapple juice, in a large glass bowl.

Then I use the same bowl to marinate the chicken.

Before you add the chicken, remove 1 cup of the marinade that you’ll use to baste this easy Hawaiian BBQ chicken at the end of grilling.

Whisk the pineapple juice into the reserved basting sauce.

Cover the sauce and refrigerate it until it’s time to grill.

Large glass bowl of bone-in chicken thighs marinating in Huli Huli sauce

When you add the chicken thighs, be sure to stir them around so that each thigh is thoroughly covered by the sugar-free huli huli sauce.

Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.

I’m dying to give a vacuum marinater a try someday.

Apparently, it marinates in just 5 minutes?

Have you ever tried one?

How Long to Grill Huli Huli Chicken

The secret to grilling Huli Huli chicken thighs is to turn the chicken often and to protect the skin.

Here’s how you do it!

Chicken thighs marinated in huli huli marinade on a grill

Start grilling the chicken skin side up.

Look at how much marinade it absorbed overnight!

You’re going to love how the meat is flavored with the Hawaiian BBQ sauce all the way through.

Cook over medium-high heat, about 350-425 degrees F, for 6 minutes with the lid down.

Keep an eye out for flare-ups!

Huli Huli chicken thighs cooking on a grill

Then flip the chicken skin-side down, and grill for 4 more minutes.

You need to be more cautious about flare-ups when the skin side is down because there will be more fat dripping in the grates.

If a flare-up happens, move the keto Huli Huli chicken away from any flame and then continue cooking with the lid down.

Flip the chicken skin-side up and cook another 6 minutes.

Hand holding a basting brush and basting chicken thighs on a grill

After the second 6-minute time, baste the chicken before turning it skin-side down again.

Baste the other side too, then check the internal temperature.

This quick-read grill thermometer is great!

Continue grilling the keto Hawaiian chicken until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F.

I usually grill thighs until they’re 170 degrees F.

Remove the chicken to a plate and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

It’s the perfect amount of time to whip up a batch of Grilled Pineapple or some grilled veggies!

What Do You Serve with Keto Huli Huli Chicken?

This easy Hawaiian BBQ chicken is perfect for a family dinner, a backyard luau party, or for company.

Dinner plate with Huli Huli Chicken, grilled pineapple, grilled broccoli, and pepper salad on a kitchen island

I tend to serve this chicken with lots of fresh vegetables.

Grilled broccoli, asparagus, or green beans are wonderful. Toss them in a bit of sesame oil with salt, pepper, and garlic, and grill until they’re the way you like them.

A grill basket like this is perfect for grilling veggies.

Grilled pineapple may not be keto or low carb, but if you’re a Trim Healthy Mama, it’s completely on plan! It is a THM E side dish, and the Huli Huli Chicken is a THM S, so eating them together is a crossover.

Another favorite is a bell pepper salad dressed with a light vinaigrette like this one.

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Platter of grilled sugar-free Huli Huli chicken with bowls of side dishes for a backyard luau

The Best Easy Grilled Keto Huli Huli Chicken | Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 35 minutes

Make any dinner amazing with this recipe for keto Huli Huli chicken. Marinate & baste chicken in a sugar-free Hawaiian BBQ sauce and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken thighs, bone-in and with skin
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1-1/4 cup Swerve brown or golden monk fruit*
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp. Better than Bouillon Chicken Base
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

Instructions

Marinade

1. In a large bowl, whisk together warm water and Better than Bouillon until dissolved.

2. Whisk in tomato paste, onion powder, and garlic powder until smooth.

3. Gently stir in apple cider vinegar, sweetener of choice, minced garlic, minced ginger, and soy sauce or coconut aminos.

4. Remove 1 cup of marinade and set aside to use for basting. Stir pineapple juice into the basting sauce, cover, and refrigerate.

5. Add chicken thighs and stir until all the meat is completely covered by the marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Grilling Instructions

1. Heat grill to medium-high heat, approximately 400 degrees. Lightly oil the grates, or use a nonstick grilling pad.

2. Place the chicken thighs, skin side up, on the grill, and cook covered for 6 minutes. Be sure to monitor for flare-ups if not using a grilling pad.

3. Turn the chicken, skin side down, and cook covered for 4 minutes. Flare-ups may be more likely to happen due to the fat in the skin. If one happens, move the meat away from the flames. and continue cooking.

4. Turn the chicken, skin side up, and cook an additional 6 minutes, continuing to monitor for flare-ups. After 6 minutes, baste the chicken and turn. Baste the other side and check the internal temperature. Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F.

5. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it to a platter. Let it sit 3-5 minutes then serve. This is a great time to grill some pineapple to serve with it!

Notes

*Use the same amount of brown sugar if you don't follow a keto or low glycemic lifestyle.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 272Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 95mgSodium 345mgCarbohydrates 6gNet Carbohydrates 5gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 21g

Please note that we are not medical or nutritional professionals. We include nutrition information for our recipes as a courtesy to our readers. However, due to wide variations in brands, nutrition data is subject to change for every user. Nutrition data is calculated using My Fitness Pal Pro. All sugar alcohols are subtracted from the final carb count. Please refer to our complete Nutritional Disclosure for more details.

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Fresh and Easy Pineapple Salsa - Midwest Life and Style Blog

Monday 27th of June 2022

[…] visit Anne & AnnMarie at Simply2Moms to get the recipe for their grilled Huli Huli chicken with […]

Jennifer

Monday 27th of June 2022

This chicken looks out of this world!! There was a Disney Channel movie that my boys loved when they were little that was set in Hawaii and they always talked about Huli Huli chicken...they were obsessed with it (at least saying it!)

Anne

Monday 27th of June 2022

My kids loved Lilo and Stitch too! I promise this chicken is just as much fun to eat as it is to say!

Jen

Saturday 25th of June 2022

I have never had Huli Huli chicken before, but we're always looking for ways to make grilled chicken not so boring. This recipe is going to the top of my must-try list. Yum!!

Anne

Monday 27th of June 2022

I can't wait to hear what you think about it, Jen! I have a feeling you're gonna like it!

Rachel

Saturday 25th of June 2022

Oh wow, I bet this chicken is so tender. I can't wait to try.

Anne

Saturday 25th of June 2022

It is so tender and flavorful! Hope you love it too!

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