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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Huli-huli has hot history here

Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Food Editor

The Islands have their own rotisserie tradition — sort of.

The double-grill "huli" method has been used here for decades.

Advertiser library photo • Dec. 12, 2002

In 1955, Ernest Morgado of Pacific Poultry was feeding a group of farmers at a promotional meeting. He barbecued a batch of chicken using his mother's marinade recipe, and the result was so popular that he began making the chicken to sell at fund-raisers.

Morgado barbecued mass quantities of chickens between two grills. When one side of the chicken halves was cooked, someone would shout, "huli," Hawaiian for "turn," and the workers would flip the grills over.

Morgado liked the name "huli- huli" so much that he registered the trademark with the Territory of Hawai'i in 1958 and the federal government in 1965. Later, he began bottling the marinade, now an Island staple.

Though the double-grill "huli" method isn't, strictly speaking, rotisserie, some of today's chicken fundraising companies have begun using contraptions with multiple rotisseries that "huli" without human help.