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Tropical Island Chicken

The marinade makes a savory statement in this all-time-favorite chicken recipe that I served at our son's pirate-themed birthday party. It smelled so good on the grill that guests could hardly wait to try a piece! —Sharon Hanson, Franklin, Tennessee
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. + marinating Grill: 45 min.
  • Makes
    8 servings


  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 broiler/fryer chickens (3 to 4 pounds each), quartered


  • In a small bowl, combine first 10 ingredients. Set aside 1/3 cup for basting; cover and refrigerate. Pour remaining marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken; seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  • Prepare grill for indirect heat, using a drip pan. Place chicken over drip pan; grill, covered, over indirect medium heat 45-60 minutes or until a thermometer reads 170°-175°, turning and basting frequently with reserved marinade during the last 20 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
1 serving: 296 calories, 21g fat (4g saturated fat), 66mg cholesterol, 1199mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 0 fiber), 23g protein.

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  • Bamster53
    Oct 24, 2020

    Great recipe! I used the marinade for wings. Baked them for about 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Will definitely make again.

  • Kelandry
    Jul 26, 2020

    I don't think we have a drip pan for our grill which means everything is just falling right onto the coals. Makes a mess but it tastes good enough to be worth it. We just use chicken legs too. It has a very unique taste but it's very good!

  • wintermom9597
    Dec 10, 2018

    Great flavor! I used Tastefully Simple Onion Onion Seasoning in place of the dried minced onion and marinated the chicken for almost 24 hours. Baked it at 350 for an hour, basting the last 20 minutes. It was terrific! Will make again. And again!

  • lkollock
    Jul 7, 2018

    I didn't try this yet, but I wanted to ask if you can use a drip pan with a gas grill? I have never tried that and I don't know if I should.

  • ladydi001
    May 25, 2018

    We loved this!! I did substitute pineapple juice for the water and used brown sugar. We lived in Hawaii for about a year when my kids were younger and my middle son (now 45) loves pineapple in everything. This chicken was great. I'm making it for the second time tonight. I am going to try it with beef and pork too. Thanks for the recipe.

  • justmbeth
    Dec 27, 2017

    Simple marinade. Very teriyaki like. End result was moist and delicious chicken.

  • Lauraanddiva
    Aug 23, 2017

    This has gone into my favourites file.

  • Corwin44
    Jul 12, 2017

    I returned from a vacation in Maui about two weeks ago and had one Maui gold pineapple left that was a little too ripe. I put the pineapple in the food processor and used this instead of water. I also decided on brown sugar and fresh minced ginger instead of powder and fresh chopped onion. I marinated my masterpiece overnight and it was fantastic! I used a combo of chicken thighs and wings (fresh not frozen). I served chicken rice a roni and broccoli for sides. My family really liked the chicken and I will be grilling this up again this summer.

  • Psalm127-3
    Jul 10, 2017

    to: slocook805I am completely in agreement with you. water is innocuous in flavor, meaning there is no flavor - water may be used as a stretcher. pineapple juice is always associated with sweet&sour or Hawaiian flavor or Luau deliciousness. tomorrow night I'm making this recipe sans water subbing with pineapple juice.hey slocook question: do you use regular sugar/brown sugar/demerara sugar/cane syrup/molasses? believe it or not I even have cane syrup made from "dates" as well as Treacle as well as Lyle's Golden Syrup both from the UK and really only 1 tablespoon of whatever sugar?

  • slocook805
    Jul 8, 2017

    This identical, with the exception of swapping out the water for pine apple juice, to the teriyaki recipe I grew up with having been raised in Hawaii. For decades it has been my go to recipe for a marinade for chicken, beef and pork whether for BBQ, oven or slow cooker and if I ate fish I wouldn't hesitate to use it on that. Once people try this for the first time it will be a keeper.