Jamaican "Jerk" is a style of barbecue cooking that employs a dry rub of spices. The two most important spices are allspice and hot "Scotch Bonnet" chilies. One can substitute the more readily available Habanero pepper. WARNING! Scotch Bonnet and Habenero peppers are extremely hot, you are highly advised to use rubber gloves when you are handling them and whatever you do, don't rub your eyes after touching these peppers. or you will be an extremely unhappy person! To put this warning in perspective, these chillies are 10 to 40 times hotter than jalapenos. The recipe below calls for ground allspice, (otherwise known as Jamaican Pimento) which is readily available in grocery stores, but the most authentic method is to burn allspice wood over the cooking coals. Jerk rub is traditionally used with pork and goat although it can be used with chicken, fish, beef or even tofu. You can find jarred ready-made jerk spices, but that's cheating! (particularly since making your own is rather easy and straightforward). Ah sey one! (Jamaican slang for cool and great!)
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 to 5 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chilie, stemmed and seeded
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 chicken breast halves with skin and bones (3 lb), halved crosswise
- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken thighs and drumsticks
- Make marinade by blending all marinade ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Marinate and grill chicken by dividing chicken pieces and marinade between 2 sealable plastic bags. Seal bags, pressing out excess air, then turn bags over several times to distribute marinade.
- Put bags of chicken in a shallow pan and marinate, chilled, turning once or twice. Let chicken stand at room temperature 1 hour before cooking.
Using a Charcoal Grill:
- Open vents on bottom of grill and on lid. Light a large chimney of charcoal briquettes (about 100) and pour them evenly over 1 side of bottom rack (you will have a double or triple layer of charcoal).
- When charcoal turns grayish white and you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds, sear chicken in batches on lightly oiled rack over coals until well browned on all sides, about 3 minutes per batch.
- Move chicken as seared to side of grill with no coals underneath, then cook, covered with lid, until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes more.
Using a Gas Grill:
- Preheat burners on high, then adjust heat to moderate.
- Cook chicken until well browned on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Adjust heat to low and cook chicken, covered with lid, until cooked through, about 25 minutes more.
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