As we all know here in Honolulu, HI, Hawaiian BBQ is strikingly different from other types of American BBQ. From the sauce to the sides, Hawaiian BBQ is its own cuisine, and one that food lovers from coast to coast and beyond enjoy and try to emulate.
If you’re on the lookout for tasty Hawaiian BBQ in Honolulu, HI, there is no shortage of wonderful options, including our own beloved restaurant, Haili’s Hawaiian Foods. But if you’re living away from the islands or want to try and replicate our Hawaiian BBQ at home, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make it authentic and delicious.
Of course, every Hawaiian BBQ restaurant and family has a slightly different way of doing things, and we aren’t about to give away all of our secrets. But for those home chefs just wading into Hawaiian BBQ, we’ve put together a few basic instructions. Read on, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying tasty Hawaiian BBQ in your own home.
Making the sauce
Hawaiian BBQ sauce and mainland BBQ sauce are as different as night and day, so if you’re just starting to make Hawaiian BBQ, throw everything you know about BBQ sauce out the window. Hawaiian BBQ sauce is also known as teriyaki sauce, and it’s sweet, tangy, salty and indescribably perfect with chicken, beef, fish and anything else you want to slather it on.
You can find plenty of teriyaki sauce recipes online and in cookbooks, but most basic teriyaki sauces share the same base: shoyu or soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, honey and possibly some sherry wine. Once you have the basics down, you can add any special spices you like. One of the great things about teriyaki sauce is that there are endless possibilities, and you get to develop your very own secret recipe.
Grilling the meat
Though our BBQ sauce might be different, our views on grilling technique are the same as anywhere else in the U.S.—and by that, we mean that we’re highly divided! Some people prefer to put the meat right on the grill, while others use kabobs or Pyrex dishes to keep to meat more protected. Again, this is a chance to experiment and find what works for you.
Whether you choose to grill chicken, beef or anything else you desire, just make sure to marinate it generously, and grill it with a healthy amount of marinade on it. Hawaiian BBQ is all about big, bold flavors.
Perfecting the sides
Finally, we have are sides. Unlike the mainland, you won’t usually find corn, BBQ beans or grits with our BBQ dishes. Instead, you’ll find a scoop of white rice, or a local favorite: Hawaiian macaroni salad. Again, this is a dish that has endless recipes and variations, but you’ll just want to start with elbow macaroni, vinegar and lots of mayonnaise, and then go from there.
And remember: if you ever have a craving for Hawaiian BBQ in Honolulu, HI but aren’t in the mood to cook, you’re always welcome at Haili’s Hawaiian Foods.