Thai-ish Spicy Pineapple Chicken (Paleo)

Chicken, pineapple, and onion pieces on long metal skewers on an outdoor grill. The skewers are laying perpendicular to the grill grates.

It’s been years since I last ate the real thing at a favorite spot back in Philly, but I’ve been craving this Thai-ish spicy pineapple chicken basically since I left town.

The main ingredients are pretty straightforward and I finally knuckled down to create my own version of this amazing sauce. I know the real stuff has tons of sugar and is also usually packed with soy; my version just uses a touch of honey and a splash of coconut aminos, but it still hit the spot to satisfy a five year craving.

Now that the weather is finally drying out and warming up, I’m making skewers, but this also works great as a stir-fry so feel free to switch gears if you don’t have a grill or don’t feel like cleaning it while your partner is away for four weeks.
Note: we’ve got a natural gas grill so my recipe will make mention of high and medium heat. You can absolutely make this on a charcoal grill as well.

A beige background featuring four pineapple tops across the bottom. A black circle with white text inside reads "PALEO". Light coral orange text reads "Thai-ish spicy pineapple chicken"

Grill (gas recommended)
2 large prep bowls
1 measuring cup
Cutting board
Prep surface (I used a sheet pan lined with parchment paper)
Serving platter
Grill brush
Oven mitt
Paper towel

For the marinade:
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp dried Thai red chili flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp avocado oil
20 g raw honey
2 tsp arrowroot powder
2 tsp coconut aminos

For the skewers:
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1″ cubes
1/2 white or yellow onion
1/2 lb of pineapple cut into 1″ cubes
Green bell pepper (optional)
1 tbsp avocado oil

In your measuring cup, combine all the ingredients for your marinade. Mix thoroughly with a fork until honey is dissolved. Taste and adjust to your preferences. Depending on who is at my table, I might add an extra 1/4 teaspoon of dried Thai chili flakes.

An overhead shot of a wide mouth mason jar on a white marble background. The mason jar is full of the marinade I made for the chicken in this recipe.

Using a sharp knife, cut the onion into thick half-moon slices then cut into thirds. We want slightly larger square pieces so they fit and stay together on our skewers. If using bell pepper, remove seeds and cut into thick strips. Cut strips into sections about the same size as your onion pieces. Err on the side of caution, a little big is better then a little small in this case.

Add your sliced onion and pepper (if using) to the same bowl. To the second bowl, add your cubed pineapple. I learned my lesson the hard way and recommend keeping the pineapple separate from the marinade. It soaks up a ton of the sauce, which is delicious, but then unfortunately fails to provide the much needed sweet relief while you’re eating! Note: There is also an enzyme in pineapple that will break down meat and turn it to mush, so I highly recommend not mixing it with the chicken until building your skewers.

Cut your chicken breast into 1″ pieces and add it to the bowl with pepper and onions. Pour your marinade into the bowl and mix well. Let marinate for no more than ten minutes.

While your chicken mixture is marinating, dip a paper towel into your oil and wipe down each of the skewers from top to tip. Repeat the process a second time. This will help prevent your meat and other ingredients from sticking to the skewers and you’ll be so glad you took the extra step!

Turn your grill on high to pre-heat and, using a grill brush, clean off the grates. You should do this before you grill anyway, but especially if – like me – your grill has remained untouched through the winter months.

Now it’s time to start building our skewers! You can take any approach you want, pattern or not. I typically go chicken – onion – pineapple – pepper and repeat. Whichever way you choose to load ’em up, repeat the process until all of the chicken and pineapple has been skewered.

Lower the grill to medium heat. Pour some oil into the grill brush and scrub the grates again to impart some oil and prevent the meat from sticking. Drizzle the remainder of your oil over the skewers.

Grilled chicken, pineapple, and onion pieces on long metal skewers. The skewers are resting on a large rectangular white ceramic plate on a wooden table.

Arrange your skewers on the grill in the opposite direction of the grates. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then using tongs and an oven mitt, rotate the skewers to cook the other side of the chicken for an additional 3-4 minutes.

Once your chicken is full cooked, carefully remove the skewers to a platter. Serve as is or carefully remove contents from skewers using an oven mitt and a fork.

Serve immediately.

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