The Old and New of Barbecue 5/5

The Old and New of Barbecue 5/5

Summer is upon us, dear readers, and nothing says summertime like an old-fashioned barbecue. Barbecue has a rich and long history that has transcended from the creation of the first colonies in the past to the Fourth of July tradition that is near and dear to our hearts. For the concluding chapter of the Barbecue Series, we are wrapping it up with a state that has been an example of our ‘melting pot’ status, the last of our 50 states, Hawaii.

Aloha for the Fourth of July


Hawaii is an interesting example of multiple cultural influences in their cooking. Given their unique location on the Pacific Ocean, they are at a crossroads with the US mainland, the Polynesian Islands, and Japan, and their cooking shows each influence.

Their Polynesian roots are the most prominent in culture and in practice, which would make sense because it was the Polynesians were the first to settle on the islands. There has been an argument over when the first settlements took place in historical communities, but what has been agreed upon was that their early society was very much based on Polynesian customs, religion, and cuisine.

hawaiian bbq,,
An example of both Japanese and American Influences. Copyright Munchies.Vice.Com


The second most prominent cultures that were demonstrated were the Japanese, which again, makes sense considering the first generation of Japanese immigrants settled mostly in Honolulu during the early 1800’s. There, the settlers found work in the sugar plantations that were owned by those of European descent. They adopted Hawaiian culture, and over time became culturally merged with their surroundings, leading to a Polynesian/Japanese hybrid of cuisine, practices, architecture, and businesses.

The last influence, American, started with an influx of missionaries and sugar plantation owners, as well as sandalwood traders in the 1830’s. By the 1840’s power was all but stripped away from the Hawaiian monarchy. Hawaii became American territory in the 1890’s and was established as a state in 1959. The most highly imported food item from America to Hawaii is SPAM (I am not joking, it’s literally spam) and is considered a staple throughout Hawaiian fusion cuisine.

Authentic Huli-Huli Chicken

Huli-Huli (translated to ‘turn turn’ in English) is a style of authentic Hawaiian barbecue rotisserie on a grill. The barbecue is part and parcel of a ‘lunch plate,’ a Hawaiian tradition that serves barbecue typically with a side of white rice and macaroni salad. The glaze itself is a unique combination of soy sauce, fruit juices, and ketchup in a teriyaki style with sriracha sauce as an option for those who love spice. It is the perfect example of the fusion of Polynesian, Japanese and American cuisine influence. Click on the photo below for the recipe!

hawaiian bbq, recipe

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