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Polynesian BBQ Sauce

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This is a recipe that I first made with an old gentleman who'd lived most of his life in Hawaii. Growing up during the Second World War left me with a very romantic idea of anything to do with the islands, so clothing, art, and especially the music and food was very appealing to me. This recipe is really about the sauce which is good on any chicken or cut of pork that you'd put on the grill. I've never used it on beef, but I don't see why it wouldn't be good on a nice steak or hamburger.



  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Chinese 5-spice powder


Mix the first five ingredients together in a medium size saucepan. Stir and heat on low until sugar is completely melted. Add crushed pineapple and onion; mix thoroughly while still heating on LOW.

Add seasonings, taste, and adjust. We like a bit of hot sauce in ours if no children are going to be eating with us. We prefer the taste of Tapatio if you have it, but you can use use tabasco or one of your choice. I've made it with with the green tabasco suace and it was very good.

Cover the sauce pan and allow the sauce to cook until the onions are done, about 15 minutes.

To save grill time, I will often bake the meat in the oven until it is almost done, then drain, and brush on the sauce before placing meat on the preheated grill for a much shorter time of standing over a hot grill. Make sure your grill is preheated and then turned to LOW.

The sauce has sugar and ketchup, so it will burn if left on too long or if the heat is too high, If you like, you can brush on more sauce when you turn the meat and when you take it off the grill.

Recipe makes about 4 cups of sauce.

Note: I double or triple the recipe and keep some in a quart jar in the refrigerator to eat with rotisserie chicken purchased at the supermarket.

Time:10 Minutes Preparation Time
15 Minutes Cooking Time

Source: My adopted "Uncle" Lee, who was a gentleman and a sweetheart.

By pookarina from Boca Raton, FL

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June 4, 20100 found this helpful

Sounds like a great summer BBQ and nice change of flavors.

Thank you.


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June 9, 20100 found this helpful

An interesting recipe. I've never used the Chinese Five Spice Powder spice, but have always wanted to try it. Husband loves BBQ ribs any which way, so now is my chance. We both enjoy trying new foods and I'm trying to learn to cook something besides opening cans and boxes.

Thank you.


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June 11, 20100 found this helpful

I enjoy your personal bits when you write out the recipes Pookarina. You should write a cookbook.

This is a delicious sounding recipe too.

Thank you,


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2 found this helpful
June 30, 2011 Flag
This is a very easy BBQ sauce to put together. It has a nice variety of flavors and goes well with all sorts of meats. The aroma of it's cooking is enough to make your mouth water just anticipating the taste. Feel free to double or triple the recipe.


  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup prepared mustard
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. Chinese 5-Spice Powder
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2-3 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil


Stir together all ingredients in a saucepan. Place on medium heat and bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes until mixture has thickened a little.

Keep in a jar in the refrigerator and use as a marinade for chicken or pork. Discard portion of mixture used for marinade and use the rest to baste meat while grilling or roasting. Do not reuse the marinade portion for anything.

Servings: Makes 4 cups
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes

Source: Our son Mike's recipe. He made it up and used it to cook all sorts of meats on a grill for his 18th birthday. He is a restaurant manager and often uses his creative cooking talents to surprise us here at home.

By Julia from Boca Raton, FL

Related Content(article continues below)
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June 30, 20110 found this helpful

I am impressed that finally someone has come up with a BBQ Sauce that doesn't require using liquid smoke, but relies on a grill doing what it's meant to do. Have you ever tried this on vegetables? Thank you Julia and thank your son. You are lucky to have a son who

can cook.

Thumbs Up.


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June 30, 20110 found this helpful

Hi HP,

As a matter of fact, yes, we did put the sauce on thick slices of sweet vidalia onion and on slices of zucchini. Both were very good. I'm not sure what other vegetables it'd work on, but if you do any experimenting, do let us know. I'd think yellow squash would work, and I'm trying to "taste in my mind" the flavor of that sauce on slices of sweet potato.

It should work really well on green or red bell peppers and if you're making kebobs, just about any fruit you select should be fine. As I said, let us know what your imagination comes up with.

Thank you for feedback and a great question.


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June 30, 20110 found this helpful

Yum, gotta love a guy who can really cook like this! I've gotta try making this someday. I'm only sorry my younger daughter couldn't try it. She's highly allergic to pineapple.

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June 30, 20110 found this helpful

Oh Yum! This sounds delicious. I will certainly try it on meat as well as vegetables. Thank you and thank Mike too.

Thumbs Up Julia


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June 30, 20110 found this helpful

Can you tell me what you mean by hot sauce please? Obviously not Tabasco.

Heather, Australia

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July 1, 20110 found this helpful

Hi Heather,

Although Tabasco would be too hot for my family, there are people who would prefer it to a lesser hot sauce. We use a brand named Tapatio which is quite a bit less hot on the scale,

and is a very flavorful sauce. It may not be available in your homeland, so if you can only find Tabasco, I'd think a few drops of that one would work all right. Of course, you can leave it out all together too, or simply mince a very small jalapeno pepper and add that at the beginning of the cooking time. I wish you could get the Tapatio brand there. It has such a wonderful flavor without being over-poweringly spicy hot.

Thank you for asking as others might have the same question.

Hope this helps.


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