Today’s guest post is courtesy of our resident grillaholic, Stephen.
This never-ending winter in Boston makes me daydream of a last-minute trip to a tropical locale. When that’s not feasible, I like to eat my way out of the winter blues with some food from the islands. In this case Jamaica. While I’ve never actually been, I suspect the first thing I would seek out after passing customs in Kingston is a roadside grill cooking up Jerk Chicken.
This recipe is actually really simple. It’s just a matter of pulling all the spices into a Chucky sauce, using it to marinate the chicken, then grilling it over indirect heat on a grill. But don’t let its simplicity fool you. There’s lots of variation in the spice combination for jerk rub, the amount of smoke to use, and the cooking temperature and time. While you can technically bake this in the oven, I really think it is worth it to break out the Weber and the charcoal. The subtle interplay of smoke and spice really transport your taste buds to a long walk on a beach without a care in the world. If you serve this with an ice-cold Red Stripe you can almost believe that spring is right around the corner.
Makes: 4-5 servings
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp freshly ground allspice
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3-4 habaneros, stemmed (depending on your heat tolerance)
- 4 scallions, roughly chopped
- 2 shallots, roughly chopped
- 1 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 3-4 lb whole roasting chicken, cut up
Add the oil, lime juice, sugar, vinegar, thyme, soy sauce, allspice, garlic, chiles, scallions, shallots, ginger, and salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Place chicken in a freezer bag and pour marinade over it; rub the marinade into the chicken and be sure to get the marinade under the skin. Place the bagged chicken in a large bowl and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight flipping several times.
Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Put the chicken on grill over direct heat and cook until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Be sure to turn the chicken over a few times in those 10 minutes. If using a charcoal grill, move the chicken off the direct heat to indirect heat. If using a gas grill, reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue cooking the chicken until it is cooked through, about 45 minutes to an hour. Again, be sure to keep flipping the chicken.
For a more authentic flavor, add a handful of your favorite soaked wood chips to the fire. If you want to get extremely authentic, you can order pimento wood chips straight from Jamaica, but I found hickory to be a good substitute. To serve, transfer chicken to a plate. Serve with rice and grilled veggies.
Adapted from Saveur