Samoan BBQ Chicken with Coconut Rice

Samoan BBQ Chicken with Coconut Rice

This recipe for Samoan BBQ Chicken with Coconut Rice was inspired by country music artist Tucker Wetmore.

When I first met Tucker at our first songwriter’s showcase in Nashville, Samoa was far from my mind. When we first sat down to do our interview, the first thing I noticed was the deer heads hanging on the wall. It was familiar, and I knew whatever recipe I  decided on would be familiar as well.

We were twenty minutes into the conversation when Tucker brought up Samoa.  Knowing only a few things about these small islands, I had some research to do. Tucker just happened to give me a good start. He mentioned a chicken and rice dish that is a staple of Samoa. I then had an idea I wanted to connect Somoa and Nashville. Good ol’ BBQ was what I would use to bring these cultures together.

I used ingredients Samoan’s know, like chicken, pineapple, coconut, and ginger. Then I used the slow wood-fired BBQ cooking style everyone is familiar with here in the south. Turns out, layering big and bold flavors from two different cultures is a win! This recipe for Samoan BBQ Chicken with Coconut Rice will be a dish you will want to make over and over.

Want to learn more about Tucker Wetmore? Check out his full interview by clicking here! Also, we have so many more recipes! That said, there is going something you and your family will love. Check out all of our recipes by clicking here.


Samoan BBQ Chicken with Coconut Rice

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 45 minutes
Marinate5 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Samoan, South Pacific
Keyword: BBQ, chicken, coconut rice, Samoa
Author: Patrick L.


  • BBQ grill
  • saucepot
  • Chef Knife
  • BBQ sauce brush
  • Cutting Board


Polynesian BBQ Sauce

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp ginger finely diced
  • 3 tsp garlic finely diced
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp sriracha
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • Water

Chicken Marinade

  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger finely diced
  • 2 tbsp honey


  • 4 leg quarters
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch ground clove

Coconut Rice

  • 1 cup short grain rice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • ¾ cup coconut milk



  • Wisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Place the chicken in a Ziplock bag and then add the marinade. Zip the bag tight and work the marinade around the chicken. Refrigerate overnight.

Polynesian BBQ Sauce

  • Place a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sesame oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook until the onions start to become translucent.
  • Add the remainder of the ingredients except for the cornstarch and water. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes and raise the heat to medium-high once more.
  • Dissolve the cornstarch in as little water as possible in a small bowl. Next, stir in the cornstarch slurry into the BBQ sauce. If it looks a little thin, make more cornstarch slurry. Then add a little at a time until you get the thickness you desire.


  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and clove.
  • Preheat a BBQ grill to 275 degrees. (If you are using a pellet smoker, I recommend adding the chicken before you preheat for the best wood-fired flavor.) Place the chicken on the grill and let cook for 40 minutes.
  • Bring the grill to 300 degrees and top the chicken with BBQ sauce. Let cook for about 15 minutes. Next, flip the chicken over and add BBQ sauce to the bottom. Cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Flip the chicken once again and sauce the top. Let it cook for about 10 minutes.
  • To check the chicken for doneness, lift up on the leg if it starts to separate from the thigh section; your chicken is done. If not, give it a little more time. Once done, remove from grill.


  • Short grain rice can be very starchy. Rinse the rice several times to remove some of the starch.
  • In a heavy-bottomed 4 quart pot, add the chicken stock, coconut milk, and salt. Bring to a boil, add the rice, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes until rice has absorbed all the liquid.
  • For a nice touch, serve with sliced green onion, grill pineapple, and red pepper.

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