Jamaica is not my favorite Caribbean island, which I learned the hard way a few months ago. There’s only one reason I would go back: Jerk Chicken. They make the most ridiculous, fiery, intensely flavored grilled chicken I have ever eaten. And I figure if we learn how to make it at home, all reasons to travel to that particular island will be gone. So we’re on a new quest – Jerk Chicken.
This is actually attempt number 2. Attempt number 1 was… well a complete disaster, made even worse by the work that has to goes into this dish. Besides blending a huge list of ingredients together, the chicken has to marinate for 24 hours and then spend some time on the grill. So we were probably at hour 32 of this entire process when Hubster decided to up the temperature a bit to push the poultry to the right temperature. This action was motivated by intense hunger and is not advised. A few minutes later, Hubster left to check the chicken and walked back into the condo to declare “We have to order dinner.”
The chicken had caught fire and was basically reduced to charcoal in the few minutes it was over direct heat. I tried peeling the skin away and saving the meat, but it really just tasted burnt.
This is a quest, however, so the story doesn’t end there. A few weeks ago we decided to try it again, changing the recipe a bit and giving ourselves plenty of time to grill. This time around the chicken was perfect, totally succulent. Hubster nailed it. Sadly, the marinade was not up to par. The 6 habaneros (yes 6!) that dove into the blender were totally lost. There wasn’t even a whisper of heat in the sauce.
So more peppers and an attempt to cook the extra sauce on the grill so it gets a smokey undertone are in order. Now if we can just get a weekend off to give this a try…
Does anyone else get stuck on a dish and quest until you find perfection? Or do you have a good Jamaica memory to share. I know lots of people enjoy the country, so let’s hear a great story from a trip.