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 (geh-verts-trah-meen-er...fun 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 grocer...win 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 veryculinary.com

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!