The minute the winter chill subsides, the Mainland declares it “grilling time.” Luckily, on Maui we can celebrate our ability to grill year round. In my Wailuku neighborhood we grill even in the rainy months, in our carports and under outdoor canopies.
Our small local food markets make it easy to throw your favorite meats on, and the butchers make their own marinades. When you pick up your pau hana six pack you can grab a container of already marinated-to-perfection kalbi ribs, Korean chicken or teriyaki beef. Takamiya Market in Wailuku makes an awesome sweet kalbi; pick from the quantities on hand or call their butcher in the morning to special-order your quantity. They also have pre-made mac salad and other local food favorites. You’ll find the same at Pukalani Superette, but I honed in on their made-on-Maui hot dogs, produced at Uncle Louie Sausage Co. TJ’s Warehouse’s teriyaki beef has a perfect balance of sweet, gingery and garlicly spices, their yakiniku chicken is made with boneless thighs, plus they have a Japanese goods emporium to add the right touch to your meal. Careful with the thinly sliced teriyaki beef, it’s easy to overcook, and don’t try to pan fry it without patting it dry or you’ll have a steamed piece of meat instead of a caramelized one.
Yes, grilling tends to be meat-centric, but vegetarians don’t have to sit on the sidelines. I recently made slider pupus from Wild Wood organics sproutofu veggie burgers with shiitake, found at Mana Foods. These little brown nuggets are firm enough to flop on the grill and the shiitake mushrooms take to smoky flavors. Embellish with your favorite aioli, veggies and a bun. If you’re in Kihei, Hawaiian Moons has lots of great soy products that are grill-ready, plus prepackaged ready-for-picnicking desserts and salads. Try the tempeh, a fermented soy product that’s firm and nutty; skewer it with veggies, add salt and pepper and char. It won’t crisp on the outside, but it makes a tasty tofu alternative.
At Whole Foods Market in Kahului, the meat department has a few ready-to-grill-meats. I got their lamb skewers made with rosemary and mint and the beef satay skewers. They also have dry-rubbed racks of ribs, steaks and seasoned short ribs. The skewers are fancy, and you can add them to an easy dinner of salad and pasta. They take about four to eight minutes on the grill. If you want something from the sea, the local fish markets have an abundant variety, and the counter people can tell you how to prepare your cut of fish for the grill. Some are firm enough to throw straight on, others may need shelter in foil. Fresh Island Fish in Kahului, the Fish Market in Honokowai and Eskimo Candy in Kihei all have excellent selections. Happy grilling!
For addresses, phone numbers and more info, visit MauiTime’s food blog, www.mauidish.com