Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meats are dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Jerk seasoning is traditionally applied to pork and chicken. Modern recipes also apply jerk spice mixes to fish, shrimp, shellfish, beef, sausage, and tofu. Jerk seasoning principally relies upon two items: allspice (called "pimento" in Jamaica) and Scotch bonnet peppers (among the hottest peppers on the Scoville scale). Other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Jerk chicken, pork, or fish originally was smoked over aromatic wood charcoal. Most jerk in Jamaica is no longer cooked in the traditional method and is grilled over hardwood charcoal in a steel drum jerk pan. The wood ("pimento wood"), berries, and leaves of the allspice plant among the coals contribute to jerk's distinctive flavor.
Real Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe
Jerk Chicken Recipe
- 1/2 cup malt vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 2 Tbsp dark rum
- 2 Scotch bonnet peppers (or habaneros), with seeds, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 4 green onion tops, chopped
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme or 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 4 teaspoons ground allspice
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- 1 (5 or 6 pound) roasting chicken, cut in half, lengthwise
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- Salt and pepper
1 Put vinegar, rum, hot peppers, onion, green onion tops, thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and molasses into a blender. Pulse until mostly smooth.
2 Place chicken in a large freezer bag, or in a large roasting pan or baking dish. Pour lime juice over the chicken and coat well. Add the jerk paste to the chicken pieces and coat well. Seal the bag or cover the chicken in the pan with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
3 When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove chicken from the marinade bag or pan. Put the remaining marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to use as a basting sauce for the chicken. If you want you can reserve a little of the marinade (once boiled for 10 minutes since it has been in contact with raw chicken) to serve with the chicken or to mix with some ketchup and a dash of soy sauce for a serving sauce.
Preheat grill to medium high. Sprinkle chicken halves with salt and pepper. Place chicken halves, skin side down on the grill grates. Cover. Cook for approximately one hour, keeping the internal grill temperature between 350°F and 400°F, turning the chickens occasionally and basting with marinade, until the chicken halves are cooked through. The chicken is done when the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170°F for the breast and 180-185°F for the thigh. Transfer chicken to platter. Tent loosely with foil to keep warm and let stand 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken halves in a rimmed baking pan, skin side up. Roast until chicken halves are cooked through, about 50-60 minutes. The chicken is done when the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170°F for the breast and 180-185°F for the thigh. Transfer chicken to platter. Tent loosely with foil to keep warm and let stand 15 minutes.
Saving the best for last Cut chicken into pieces.Serve with whatever you love and Enjoy!
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