Tropical Grilled Pineapple Chicken is heaven from the BBQ! Make it for an easy dinner or cook it at the game when tailgating.
I love grilled pineapple. It's pretty dreamy — the juicy, smokey flavor and the caramelized bits.
It's so versatile as well, great for savory meals like this tropical chicken or sweet desserts like my Grilled Pineapple with Praline Caramel.
This grilled chicken and pineapple is so easy! It's great to pack up and cook when tailgating, make for a party, or even a simple weeknight dinner when you need to get out of a rut.
A soy and ginger marinade makes this grilled pineapple chicken extra delicious.
Bonus: the chicken can be added to the marinade ahead of time, so you can prep the meal now and enjoy it later!
Grilled Pineapple Chicken Ingredients
This is an incredibly easy pineapple chicken recipe that requires few ingredients. You'll need bone-in, skin-on chicken as well as fresh pineapple.
The marinade is made with soy sauce, garlic, fresh ginger, lemon juice, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. It can be whisked together in just a few minutes!
How to Make Grilled Pineapple Chicken
The tropical chicken recipe is simple. I mince some garlic (try this garlic press!) and grate fresh ginger on a Microplane grater to get all the juice and pulp, then mix them with soy sauce, lemon juice, and brown sugar.
I add some red pepper flakes for a little kick. It's really the best chicken marinade around!
Let the chicken sit in the marinade for at least 3 hours, then throw on the grill and cook over medium heat for roughly 12 minutes.
The pineapple gets sliced into rings and grilled alongside the chicken, but only for 3 minutes or so.
Should I Use Boneless or Bone-In Chicken?
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are one of the easiest ingredients to pull out of the freezer, season, and cook up for dinner. But sometimes those lean breasts are dry and get overcooked quickly on the grill.
Unlike boneless breasts, the bone-in chicken won't dry out quickly. Legs, wings, thighs, and even breasts with the skin and bones actually come out really perfect on the grill.
As the chicken cooks over the flame, the bones inside heat up as well and help cook the chicken evenly from the inside.
Can This Recipe Be Prepared in Advance?
Yes! Make the chicken marinade ahead of time so it's ready to grill when you are!
Or, throw the marinating chicken in the cooler and head to the game. It needs time to soak up all the great flavors and you'll be ready to grill when you get there.
Tips for Making Grilled Chicken and Pineapple
- Grill the chicken over medium (not high) heat for juiciest results.
- You can buy your pineapple peeled and cored to save time. The slices cook quickly and are the perfect side to this tropical chicken.
- The result is juicy chicken and flavorful, crisped skin. You can eat the skin or discard it and still have moist, tender chicken. The skin simply adds moisture and protects the lean meat from drying out over the hot coals.
More recipes like this:
Tropical Grilled Pineapple Chicken
- 8 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken (breasts, legs and thighs)
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 peeled pineapple
- granulated sugar
- In a zip-top bag or a nonreactive bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic, grated ginger, lemon juice, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and canola oil. Marinate chicken in the mixture in the fridge for 3 to 8 hrs.
- Heat grill to medium and discard marinade; grill chicken skin side down over direct heat for 5 to 6 min. Turn and cook 6 to 8 min more.
- Slice pineapple into ½-inch rings and sprinkles each with ½ teaspoon sugar. Grill, turning once, until marked and just soft, about 3 min; serve alongside chicken.
Try these finger-licking-good BBQ recipes
For more fantastic tailgating ideas, check out these recipes from my food blogging friends!
Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Dog Bites
Football Game Day Cookies
Sun-Dried Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Poppers
Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
Sloppy Joe Sliders
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Homemade Soft Pretzels with Mustard Cheese Dip
Bruschetta Turkey Burger Sliders
Bacon Cheese Ball
Red Potato Salad with Bacon
Easy Pizza Kabobs
Recipe by Tara Teaspoon. Photography Peter Ardito. Food styling Cyd Raftus McDowell. Prop styling Paige Hicks. Originally published in LHJ 6/10.