Hawaiian BBQ Feast

I don’t know about you but I love Hawaiian BBQ restaurants. We used to have one near our house but for some reason it closed and turned into a sushi bar. I was kind of sad to see it go, but I digress. So I searched on the internet to find the marinade or sauce or whatever it is that they use to make the meat so tasty. I looked and looked and tried some recipes but none had that perfect flavor.

Fast forward a few years…we were at a friends house for a birthday and someone was there cooking the most amazing Hawaiian BBQ’d meat. I asked for the recipe but they couldn’t tell me because they said they really didn’t know all that was in it. Defeated, I let my wife know and figured I had to savor the food right then. Later on in the party my wife and I and one of her friends were sitting down talking about the food. I mentioned my sadness again at not having the recipe and her friend (Fina) said it was easy. I was dumbfounded, the person with the answer had been in front of me the whole time. I didn’t even think to ask her. She told me what the basic ingredients were and I was so excited so I made it a few days later and low and behold the tastiness was found at last. Thanks to Fina for her insight.

Now to go along with the meat you need to add the famous Hawaiian Macaroni Salad and sticky rice they always serve with the meat. I have added the salad recipe below. As for the sticky rice I will leave that up to you and your rice cooker.

Oh and don’t forget the Sriracha!!

Hawaiian Chicken

Hawaiian BBQ Feast

Me and a lot of direction from my wife’s friend Fina.

The Meat and Marinade

  • Boneless skinless Chicken Thighs, beef short ribs, or any kind of meat you want to use.
  • 1 C. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 C. soy sauce (I don’t recommend the Dark kind, it’s too strong, the regular cheap-o will do)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 1/2 T. fresh ginger root chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 large onion sliced
  • Sticks of Salted Butter after grilling

Marinade Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix the brown sugar and soy suace together. Keep mixing until almost all the sugar is dissolved in the soy sauce.
  2. Add in the garlic, ginger and onion and mix.
  3. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes.
  4. Put meat into a zip lock bag and pour mixture over it. Depending on how much meat you have you may need to make more marinade and split this into 2 different bags. Let this marinade for at least 4 hours.

For the Grill

  • 13×9 Pyrex dish or smaller depending on the amount of meat you have
  • 1 stick of butter (trust me this is the linchpin)
  • 4-5 green onions sliced small

Grilling Directions

  1. Place Pyrex dish on the hot grill if you have room otherwise you can put it in the oven.
  2. Add the butter to the Pyrex so it starts to melt.
  3. Add the meat to the grill and cook to perfection.
  4. When the pieces of meat are done place them in the Pyrex to let swim in buttery goodness until all are done and add the green onions.

Grilling the meat and letting the butter melt in the Pyrex

Adding the meat to the butter

Hawaiian Chicken

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Courtesy of food.com

  • 3 C. cooked elbow macaroni cooled (if its hot the mayo will melt and it will be a mess)
  • 1 C. Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C. milk
  • 1/4 C. grated carrot


  1. Pour all ingredients in a bowl and mix.
  2. Refrigerate until you are going to eat it.
  3. Add more mayo if it needs it before you eat it.

Sticky Rice

Follow direction on package.

68 thoughts to “Hawaiian BBQ

  • Tristine

    This looks so yummy! So I’m definitely following you on pinterest! Yay!!

  • Joanna

    I bet this would be good with a side of grilled pineapple too! Looks delicious!

  • Tobias @ T and Tea Cake

    Whoah, I so wish the season would allow me to do some BBQing! This just looks so utterly delicious and you’re right – this IS easy to do! Never had Hawaiian BBQ (or anything Hawaiian, alas…) before.

    It has to be sort of frustrating that the answer to your question was there the whole time but also satisfying to have finally found it! Thank you for sharing!


    • Lee

      Tobias, you are welcome sir!

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  • Lisa

    Hi!! I tried your recipe yesterday and it is one of the best things I have ever eaten, in fact I reviewed it on my blog at http://www.totallypinterested.com…can‘t wait to make it again! Thanks.

    • Lee

      I am so glad you liked it. It’s one of our family favorites!

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  • Denise Rypma

    Made these last night and they were awesome!!!! Can’t wait to try the marinade with pork tenderloin. Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe!

    • Lee

      Denise, my pleasure!

  • Amy

    This sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing. I LOVE Hawaiian food. You should try Aloha Shoyu, its a Hawaiian brand soy sauce. You will be amazed at the difference in taste and will never be able to use any other brand again! 🙂

  • SoCalMom

    w0w! So yummy! defiantly will be making this one several times a month! I skipped the butter to cut down calories…still so delish!
    My fam bam says,
    Thank You!

  • mori davari

    ohlala its great.

  • Leon

    Just made this recipe last night. It was a major success. I’ve always been looking to find the secret to Hawaiian chicken and feel as though you’ve given it away for the rest of us to share. Good work

  • John

    My wife & I just finished dinner. I made fresh grilled pineapple and brown rice as side dishes. We both loved the recipe. She took a photo of the chicken to put on her facebook, it just like your photo.

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  • Dave Daniels

    Awesome recipe Lee! Made it last night for the kids and they loved it.

    • Lee

      Glad to hear you liked it Dave!

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  • Mari

    I make chicken similar to this but use hoisin sauce instead of soy, looks really good, I will try.

  • Alexis

    How can I cook this if I don’t have a grill? I live in a condo and we can’t have them…will a stove work just as well? And if so what temperature does everyone suggest and for how long?

    • Lee

      You could probably cook it in a pan or on a griddle. Better yet you could get a grill pan, the ones with the ridges and simulate grilling. I would cook it over medium high heat. This my be something you will need to play with so it doesn’t burn because there is a lot of sugar in it. Then for the Pyrex/butter part you could put that in the oven at 250-300 degrees, this part is mainly to get the butter melted and keep the chicken warm and marinating in that butter. Again the temp is something you will need to play with since I haven’t done it that way. Good luck Alexis I hope it works out well for you.

  • Linda G.

    I cannot wait to try this out! I had been lazy and buying a small store package of Hawaiian BBQ sauce and was thinking- Why am I paying so much for so little when I know I can make it at home? I will have to try this next time since I already have some meat marinating in the other mix. What an easy recipe, thank you!

  • Felicia S.

    My husband made this chicken a couple of weeks ago for the family and it was amazing! My husband doesn’t like chicken but he went back for seconds because it was soooo good. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

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  • JujubaSD

    Spot on! Tried your marinade and added a dash of seasame oil. So ono!!!!

    Like someone said, try and get a hold of Aloha Shoyu, this is what they use on the islands. I also grate the garlic and ginger.

    For the mac salad, another common ingredient is maui sweet onions, but again grate it to get all the flavorful juices. And alaea sea salt to taste.

    Thanks for the marinade share. I was playing around with ratios, but I love this one the best 😀

  • Michelle

    For those who don’t have a grill, you can make the marinade using 1cup ratios of shoyu, brown sugar, and water. Add garlic and ginger and put ingredients in pan and boil. Chicken is tender and juicy. Serve with rice. May not have the grilled flavor, but still yummy! 😉

  • Sherry M.

    I have made this SEVERAL times now and it is to die for and my husbands friends think I am da Bomb cook

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  • Delia

    What is the meat to marinade ratio for this recipe? Thanks!

    • Best Recipes Evar

      About 2-3 lbs of meat per the amount in from the recipe, maybe a bit more. I like it to be a bit liquidy so if you see that it’s a bit dry after you put the meat in make another batch of the marinade. It’s really a preference.

  • Donna

    I really want to try this with port tenderloin but am not quite sure how to prepare the meat before I add it to the marinade. Should the meat be cut, such as in cubes or in rounds from the raw stage before I put in into the marinade and then on the grill.

  • Donna

    I really want to try this with pork tenderloin but am not quite sure how to prepare the meat before I add it to the marinade. Should the meat be cut, such as in cubes or in rounds from the raw stage before I put in into the marinade and then on the grill.

  • ada

    Has anyone made this in the oven? I have to a take tray of chicken to a high school football banquet and thinking of making this?

  • jesse

    You should make a video so more people could know this receipe

    • Best Recipes Evar

      That sounds like a great idea. I have toyed around with that idea for a while. I will have to make a try at it.

  • el

    omg! i tried it and I loved it…
    The best !!!!!!!

  • Ku'ulei

    It’s sooo Ono! Mahalo for sharing.

  • Denise

    I saw and made this recipe last year (6-2014) and cooked it. My sons asked me this year, why don’t you make that Hawaiian chicken. Couldn’t find the recipe anywhere. I was just about to give up looking and viola, I found it. This is, by far, THE BEST!! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Best Recipes Evar

      Denise, I am so glad you found it. I had that happen to me with my potato salad before I put it here on the website.

  • AB

    I usually do not leave comments. However, this recipe was so delicious and so easy; it was a total hit with my family. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Rowlee

    Fabulous. A huge hit at my house! I added a small can of pineapple juice and the siracha. Will definitely make again 🙂

    • Best Recipes Evar

      I am glad you enjoyed it. Good idea about the pineapple juice!

  • Aaron

    This is the undisputed #1 recipe for Hawaiian BBQ!!!!!! Thank you for this site and for sharing!!!!! The macaroni salad is just as awesome!!!! I add a couple teaspoons of sugar to it…

    • Best Recipes Evar

      I am so glad you liked it Aaron! Thanks for the kind words!

  • Ashley Tremain

    My family is from hawaii and since leaving the island i could never find anything similar to the food there and this really hit home for me! Great job! Thank you for making my life so much better here.

    • Best Recipes Evar

      Thank you 🙂 I am so happy you liked it!

  • Maggie

    Do you salted or unsalted butter?

    • Best Recipes Evar

      I use salted butter.

  • Marcy

    This is the best chicken recipe EVER! I make it all the time in the summer. I find that (for my personal taste) that chicken thighs taste better than breasts. This is my first time making the macaroni salad though- it tastes great! I did add fresh cracked pepper and some sliced green onions because I thought it looked too plain with just carrots. 🙂

    For those wanting to try this for the first time: DON’T SKIP THE BUTTER! It really does make it taste so amazing.

  • Maria

    I’m planning to have a Luau this month and I will try the suggested Hawaiian bbq and macaroni salad. They look like a winning recipe to me.

  • Angela

    I have made this so many times. It has become a staple in our household. It’s good grilled, baked, or in the crock pot served over rice!

  • Melissa

    What brand of soy sauce should I use? It states not to use dark soy sauce but I am not familiar with soy sauce. I thought all soy sauce was dark in color.

    • Best Recipes Evar

      I just use the off brand from Kroger, any similar would work like Kikoman or others. Dark soy sauce is usually sold in Asian food markets and is much thicker.

      • Melissa

        Thank you! I will be trying it this weekend, can’t wait to see how it turns out!

        • Best Recipes Evar

          No problem! Good luck, I made it this past weekend and it was a hit as it always is. Don’t forget that butter 😉

  • Denise

    So happy to find this recipe again!

    • Best Recipes Evar

      Me too!

  • amy

    What is the recommended marinade time? Is 3 days too long?

    • Best Recipes Evar

      I usually do it in the morning for that night but I would say no longer than that. If you do 3 days let me know how it turns out.

  • Nate

    I used leg quarters and marinated them for 24 hours. Grilled them on the Traeger. This was really good. I’ll cook this when I want sweet bbq chicken.

  • Timothy M Steele

    Do you think the Chicken or the Short Ribs were better? I bought both but I’m undecided on which one to use for this recipe…

    • Best Recipes Evar

      I love both. It just depends on your preference but man they are both really good.

  • Dave

    OMG: So Easy and so good. We did a Hawaiian themed B-Day party for my 83 year old mom. Everyone loved it. I am a diehard Charcoal Grilling guy – and my sister said that was the best chicken I had ever made. Your are right – don’t forget the stick of butter in the warming pan!

  • Teresa

    Made this with boneless chicken thighs. The most tender, delectable, melt in your mouth chicken I have ever eaten!

    • Best Recipes Evar

      Thank you so much!

  • Justin Thomas

    How long do you grill the chicken for normally ? Never grilled chicken before. Thanks

    • Best Recipes Evar

      It depends on the size of the chicken pieces. I usually cook it until its not squishy. It will firm up when its done.

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