Jan went to England this summer, so of course she brought me back a Jamaican cookbook. I did a Jamaican Jerk Chicken earlier this year, but it turned out much greener and soggier than I really had in mind. The book Jan bought me gave me some ideas for making something closer to what I had originally thought was Jamaican Jerk Chicken.
Karl’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken II
1 orange, juice and zest
½ small red onion, coarsely chopped
2 scotch bonnet chilies, seeded
1 Tbs. grated ginger
1 Tbs. rum
1 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
1 Whole chicken cut into quarters
1. Juice and zest the orange and put it in a blender.
2. Add the onion, chilies, ginger, rum and brown sugar to the blender.
Tip: If you like your dish spicier leave in the chili seeds.
3. If you are using whole spices, process them in a spice grinder to a power and add them to the blender.
4. Process the marinade until smooth and pour into a plastic bag.
5. Cut the chicken into 4 pieces, breasts and leg quarters.
Tip: While cutting the chicken into smaller pieces will allow more contact between the chicken and the marinade, larger pieces will not dry out as easily on the grill. For the same reason, do not remove the bones.
6. Marinate the chicken for one hour.
Tip: Many jerk recipes call for overnight marinating. However, acidic marinades that contain citrus juice or vinegar will start to break down the chicken after one hour. This reaction makes the meat mushy and mealy.
Note: An alternative to what I am writing here is to use the dry herbs and spices as a dry rub overnight and then to wet marinate for one hour with the rest of the ingredients.
7. While the chicken is marinating, build a hot bed of coals and push them to one side of the barbeque grill.
Tip: Place an empty aluminum pan in the open space of the grill (see discussion).
8. Remove the chicken and shake off as much liquid as you can.
Tip: You are just trying to remove some of the surface moisture, not to wipe away the herbs and spices.
8. Put the chicken, skin side down on the hot side of the grill and close the cover.
Tip: close the air vents to keep down flare ups.
9. After three minutes flip the chicken and close the lid for another three minutes.
Tip: This is to dry off the skin and sear the meat so the moisture stays in the meat.
10. Move the chicken to the cool side of the grill. Close the lid and open the sir vents.
Tip: This allows the coals to burn hotter and evenly.
11. Pour the remaining marinade into a small pan and reduce to half the volume.
12. After 20 minutes, flip the chicken and baste with the marinade. Insert a constant read thermometer into the thickest part of one breast.
13. Every 15 minutes, repeat the flip and baste.
14. When the thermometer reaches 160° F, about one hour and 15 minutes, remove the chicken to a plate and tent with foil.
15. Cut into portion sizes and serve.