Huli huli chicken, a beloved favorite of Hawaii, will turn your boring, everyday chicken salad into an unforgettable feast of sweet and savory flavors.
Heat the garlic and ginger
In a medium saucepan over medium to high heat, cook the garlic and ginger for 2-3 minutes or until they become soft and fragrant. Remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer to a large bowl. Note: You may want to prepare the garlic and ginger for the glaze at this time as well — prepare and cook 3 tablespoons of grated ginger and 6 cloves of grated garlic. Divide according to the instructions.
Brine the chicken
In the large bowl, add 6 ounces of water and 2 ounces of frozen pineapple concentrate to make 8 ounces of pineapple juice. Combine the pineapple juice and soy sauce with 3 cloves of grated garlic and 1 tablespoon of grated ginger and mix until the marinade is well blended (reserve the remaining concentrate for the glaze). Pour the marinade into a large freezer bag, add the chicken breasts and massage the marinade into the chicken for 1 to 2 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Discard the marinade when you are ready to cook the breasts.
Heat the garlic and ginger
In a large pot or saucepan over medium to high heat, cook 3 cloves of grated garlic and 2 tablespoons of grated ginger for 2-3 minutes or until they become soft and fragrant.Note: Skip this step if you chose to prepare your grated garlic and ginger for the Huli Huli glaze in the first step of this recipe.
Make the Huli Huli Glaze
Add the remaining 10-ounces of pineapple concentrate, tomato sauce, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, light brown sugar, Sriracha sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the glaze mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the glaze thickens and develops a syrup-like consistency.
Grill the chicken
On a charcoal grill (using wood chips soaked in water for 2 hours along with the coals) or a propane grill using a smoker box, grill the chicken breasts over medium-high heat (375-400 degrees F), flipping the breasts and brushing frequently and generously with the glaze for about 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast measures 165 degrees F. Note: You can remove the chicken from the grill earlier if you prefer (the chicken will continue to cook as it rests) as long as it reaches the recommended temperature. Let the chicken cool and cut into 1/4-inch cubes.
Make the chicken salad sliders
In a large bowl, mix the cubed chicken together with the mayonnaise, red bell pepper, 4 ounces of the pineapple chunks, green onion, and crushed macadamia nuts. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Scoop the chicken salad into the rolls and top each slider with a single pineapple chunk using a toothpick (from part of the remaining canned pineapple chunks).