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.
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.
Posts on Simply2Moms may contain affiliate links which means we may earn a small commission on purchases at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read our full disclosure policy here.
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!
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!
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
- Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
- Unsweetened pineapple juice
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Click on any image to shop items from this post
Be sure to leave a star rating and review after you make the recipe!
This helps other people to find and enjoy it too.
Plus it means the world to us!