Hawaiian Chicken and Gewurztraminer

This weekend, I cooked up some good stuff. I was a little behind on blogging (thank you sprained knee for making me immobile for 2 weeks), so I made this last Saturday a "designated blog day" (of "DBD", as my friend called it) and literally cooked 4 blog-post worthy dishes. Yes, my knee is suffering now, but it was so worth it. It was a perfect way to get my blog organized, take my time cooking, take plenty of pictures, and then share it all with a few close friends. I hope to have many of these DBD's in the future as sharing good food with friends and family is why I do all this in the first place. And now I'm 4 blog-posts ahead of my schedule!

I have been on a Hawaiian Mac Salad kick lately. I feel like that's a weird craving, but makes sense since we're into the full swing of hot days and bbq's. This weekend I wanted to make Hawaiian Chicken to go with all this Mac Salad I've been making (another post with the Mac Salad recipe will be posted next!). I was a little nervous on what to pair with them since they are so sweet, but my last-minute decision to try Gewurztraminer turned out to be amazing!

The Pairing

Hawaiian Chicken is chock full of different flavors--it has pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, garlic, onion...lots of things going on. The end result is a slightly sweet, slightly salty, crowd-pleasing flavor. Here's the bad news though...sweet foods are a little difficult to pair with wine. Its not that they don't pair with anything, that's never true...but there aren't 100 options like in other dishes out there. The general rule when pairing wine with sweet foods is to match the sweetness of the wine with the sweetness of the dish, while being careful not to overpower it.

Gewurztraminer ( to say, isn't it?) is generally a fruity, slightly sweet white wine. If you look at my blog pictures, you can see a few bubbles in that glass--its not uncommon to see a gewurztraminer with a little spritz in it. This wine went incredible with the meal. It matched the sweetness of the chicken and equally complemented the mac salad. I think my guests were equally happy: who doesn't like a light, spritzy, slightly sweet wine on a hot summer evening?

A little info on Gewurztraminer since its not the most popular grape--it is most famous from Germany, but also grown in France, Australia, Italy, and the USA. Wine produced from it is incredibly aromatic and sometimes "spicy". Typical flavors associated with the grape are tropical fruit, lychee, and floral. Its a great wine to try if you aren't the biggest wine drinker to begin with or are just discovering wine.

The bottle I picked up for this post was Fetzer Gewurztraminer...a whopping $6.99 bottle...that did the job just fine. Fetzer is a big producer of wines in California. I've always been a fan of this winery as its decent quality and a great price, and if you can't make it to the liquor store, you can usually find this bottle while shopping at your local win! Since gewurztraminer is a sweeter wine, you really don't need to break the bank on a bottle...unless you want to, of course.

Other Great pairings with this dish

  • Fruity beer, especially Maui Brewing Company's Mana Wheat (tested with this recipe and delicious!)
  • Wheat beers
  • Riesling
  • Moscato

Stay away from tannic red wine or hoppy beers--they will conflict with the dish's sweetness

Recipe adapted from

Hawaiian Chicken Thighs

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 15 mins

Total time: 25 mins

Serves: 6


  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 C soy sauce
  • 3/4 C pineapple juice (I used the juice from a can of crushed pineapple)
  • 1 C packed brown sugar
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger


  1. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, onion, garlic, and ginger. Add chicken, Make sure all, or as much of it as possible, is submerged.
  2. Place in fridge for at least 4 hours. The longer this marinades, the better.
  3. Preheat outdoor grill. Grill chicken on each side for about 7-10 minutes, depending on how thick the thighs are (just keep an eye out for it). Mine took about 10-12 minutes a side.
  4. Serve and enjoy with Gewurztraminer!


Roasted Chicken paired with English Pale Ale

Today I went grocery shopping. Not one of those fun grocery adventures, but one that you cringe while checking out, seeing that your bill is over $100 and there's still a pile of stuff on the conveyer belt...

Luckily, we rarely spend this much money on groceries. As I looked at my receipt as I was walking to my car, almost everything I had bought was under $2...except for that $15 pack of pork chops and $10 thing of ribs. Okay, I'll spend my money on meat, that's okay :)

Everything I buy at the grocery store is in its raw form--fruits, veggies, meat...except for the 3 boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese I just need for those lazy nights and sliced bread (who has time to make bread?!) But it always depresses me seeing people buying frozen dinners, boxed rice-pilafs, even pre-seasoned frozen would be a lot cheaper if these people took the time to learn how to make these things from scratch! Maybe its laziness, maybe its time, but its probably more of a reason that people just don't know how to cook, and were never taught how. I'm one of these people, who only 6 years ago though that something as simple as roasting a chicken would be hours of preparation and a day slaving away in the kitchen.

I couldn't have been more wrong, as I now obviously know that roasting a chicken is one of the easiest dinners you can make! You literally just put together a herb blend, rub it on the chicken, and throw it in the oven! And after everyone has enjoyed their dinner, you usually have some leftovers for another night and a carcass to make homemade chicken stock, which is also super easy! You get so much more for your money with a whole chicken than wasting your time with boneless, skinless chicken breasts...I wish I could break my habit :)

The Pairing

Roasted Chicken goes with so many beers, it was truly hard to pick one. I chose Alaskan ESB (Extra Special Bitter), a seasonal beer from Alaskan Brewing Company. I love beers from this brewery, their smoked porter is to DIE FOR. This example is a bit hoppy for a traditional English ESB, but a great American-Craft interpretation.

ESBs (Extra Special Bitter) is literally the same thing as English Pale Ales--I could get confusing and tell you the different levels of English bitters, but just trust me in knowing this is the same style of beer as if you picked out a Pale Ale from an English brewery. ESBs are nice and malty (caramelly, biscuity) which pair perfectly with roasted chicken. Mmmm I want them together again right now! Anyway, the nice caramelization you get on the skin of the roasted chicken is going to line up with the caramel in the beer--a match made in heaven. The carbonation is going to cut right through the crackling fattiness of the skin and will make each bite as exciting as the first. Are you getting thirsty yet? :)

DO NOT use an American Pale Ale or any IPA in this pairing--it will be too hoppy. Of course, do what you please, but I say with this dish, keep it English.

Other fun English Pale Ales/ESBs to pair this with:

  • Old Speckled Hen
  • Fullers ESB
  • Bass Ale
  • Anderson Valley Boont ESB
  • Redhook ESB

Not a Beer Drinker? These are Your Wine Options:

  • Oregon Pinot Noir
  • Red Burgundy
  • California Chardonnay
  • Beaujolais

Recipe Adapted from

Roasted Chicken paired with English Pale Ale

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 1 hour

Total time: 1 hour 10 mins

Serves: 3-4


  • One 3-4 lb whole chicken (use however large of a bird you want, just adjust cooking time)
  • 1/2 Cup softened butter
  • 2 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. Optional--a day ahead, rinse and dry the chicken and place it on a rack on a 9x13 roasting pan. This helps dry the skin out so it becomes nice and crispy.
  2. If you don't have time to wait to cook, rinse and dry the chicken with some paper towels before proceeding
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  4. Mix butter, oil, herbs, salt, and pepper in a bowl
  5. Spread the butter mixture all over the bird, top and bottom, legs and cavity
  6. With your fingers, reach under the skin of the chicken to separate from the meat. Spread the butter in this area too, as deep as you can reach (without breaking off the skin!)
  7. Place chicken back on the rack of the 9x13 pan and roast in the oven until juices run clear when pierced between breast and leg. Depending on the weight of the chicken, this is about and hour to an hour and a half (keep an eye on it after 45 minutes...when the skin is looking nice and crispy, it is close to being done).
  8. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving