On Sunday we returned to Jamaica!
Ok, not really. But this was better. There were no offers of pot, no cloud in the air (see aforementioned pot) and no fear of our living area being pillaged.
It was all jerk – awesome, tender, spicy, smoky jerk.
This is it, guys! Or at least as close as we can get to it in the Midwest. You know it’s good when Hubster and I start brainstorming a plan to open a food truck and serve jerk chicken. (Don’t steal that idea because I don’t want to hunt you down.)
I almost didn’t post this recipe, but we’re friends (even though I just threatened you with bodily harm). So don’t let my generosity go to waste. Buy chicken. Marinate. Serve on the 4th of July.
8 garlic cloves
10 habanero or scotch bonnet peppers
2 Tbsp thyme
2 Tbsp all spice
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
½ cup olive oil
½ cup soy sauce
1 c white vinegar
1 5lb chicken or bone in chicken pieces
½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
Chop onion and mince garlic. Place both in a blender. Juice the lime and add it to the blender. Juice the oranges to get ½ cup juice and add it to the blender. Remove the tops of the peppers, quarter them and add to the blender. Add the remaining ingredients then pulse until the veggies have been very finely chopped. Quarter the chicken and place the pieces in a 9×13 glass baking dish. Reserve 1 cup of sauce and pour the rest over the chicken. Wrap tightly and marinate for at least 24 hours.
Soak enough pecan chips to fit in your smoker box for at least 30 minutes. Place the smoker box directly on the burner and preheat the grill about 10 minutes. Place the chicken on the grill and liberally baste with the marinade. Cook the chicken over indirect heat at 300 degrees, flipping and basting after 1 hour and 45 minutes. Check for doneness at 3 hours. The total cooking should be around 3 hours, 15 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, add ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke to the reserved marinade. Bring it to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Notes: The amount of peppers you use can be scaled to fit your tolerance for heat. We liked 10, but if you don’t love heat, start with 6. Also, be careful when cutting these. I wrap my hand left hand in a baggie and cut with my right, being careful not to touch the peppers with my bare skin. Also, I leave these as the last thing to cut and immediately stick the board in the dishwasher.
We’re still working on what to do with the remaining marinade. A small cast iron pot is en route so we can try cooking it on the grill to let it grab the natural smoky flavor.
This recipe is enough for 4 people or leftovers for sandwiches. You want the leftovers, so don’t scale it down.