This Jerk Chicken recipe is the next best thing to actually being in the islands. This recipe has been sitting in my “to-try” folder for so many years, I almost forgot I had it. A recent trip to our local Caribbean food restaurant though inspired me to come home and look it up. I mean, this guy’s Jamaican patties are amazing and his Chicken Roti is to die for, but his Jerk Chicken brings tears to my eyes before I’ve even put it in my mouth. It’s so flippin’ hot! I’ve told him this but he insists that his is the real deal. I told him that I’ve been to Jamaica many times and I’ve never come across Jerk Chicken as hot as his. Again, he shrugs and tells me I’ve only had “tourist jerk”. “Dude”, I want to say, “look around you. You are living with the tourists.” Sigh.
Anyway, I knew that I wasn’t going to find the Jerk Chicken I was looking for here so I was inspired to give a go. I am happy to say that this is exactly what the Jerk Chicken I’ve had in Jamaica tastes like. I suppose if you were a sucker for punishment you could add another scotch bonnet but I don’t recommend it. On the flip side, you could cut back by one scotch bonnet, but then you might be called a tourist. Of course, if you want the best Jerk Chicken anywhere, then you really must visit Jamaica.
3 tbsps dark rum (I like Appleton Estate)
2 tbsps water
1/2 cup malt vinegar
10 green onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tbsps dried thyme
2 scotch bonnet chiles with seeds chopped, remove stems
2 tbsps canola oil
4 tsps ground allspice
4 tsps ground ginger
4 tsps ground cinnamon
2 tsps ground nutmeg
2 tsps kosher salt
2 tsps black pepper
2 tsps brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
3 tbsps soy sauce
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
4 chicken breasts, skin on and bone-in
4 chicken legs, skin on
Boil rum and water in small saucepan for two minutes. Pour rum mixture into blender and add malt vinegar and next 12 ingredients ending at the black pepper. Blend until smooth. Mix two tablespoons of the mixture with ketchup and soy sauce in small bowl. Cover and refrigerate (this is your sauce for later).
Place chicken in a large roasting pan and pour 1/2 cup of lime juice over chicken. Rub jerk seasoning all over chicken. Cover and refrigerate for minimum 4 hours, turning occasionally. This can be made 1 day ahead if you desire.
Turn barbecue to medium. Remove chicken from marinade. Place chicken on grill, skin side down and cover, turning occasionally until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear, or meat thermometer registers 165F — about 50 minutes. Transfer to plate and serve with Rice and Beans and Mango and Pineapple Salsa.
Pleasantville Note: When boiling rum mixture, make sure you stick close by. Once my pot caught on fire. A small panic followed. 🙂 Scotch bonnets are the hottest pepper there is and make jalapenos look like candy. Be careful to wash your hands thoroughly after handling.