African (Jamaican) Jerk Chicken 非洲雞

African (Jamaican) Jerk Chicken
West Indian Hot Sauce

Jerk Chicken got it’s start when the Maroons (Marooned African Slaves) introduced African grilling and smoking techniques to the Arawak Indians. The Arawaks combined this cooking method with local spices and came up with a spicy smoked meat that has been a delicious favorite in Jamaica for many years.

Scotch Bonnet peppers are what give Jamaican Jerk Chicken it’s heat. They are used in most spicy Caribbean recipes. If they are unavailable in your grocery store then you can use a Jalapeno pepper instead.

Warning! Scotch Bonnet peppers are very hot. Don’t rub your eyes after handling them. I learned this the hard way.

This recipe calls for chicken legs but you can also use just the pieces of chicken you like to eat. However I prefer to use all thighs when making Jerk chicken.

 Marinade (Jerk Paste)

14 scallions (white and light green parts only), finely chopped

2 Scotch bonnet chile peppers, including seeds, finely chopped (Jalapeno pepper is OK)

1/3 cup sherry wine vinegar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1-1/2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce, yellow West Indian style

1/2 cup ground allspice

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Chicken

8 whole chicken legs

Juice of 3 limes

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Cooking (BBQ) Method:

In a food processor or blender combine the paste ingredients. Puree until smooth.

Place the chicken legs in a large bowl and rub them with the lime juice and salt. Let it rest for half an hour.  Pour the paste over the chicken legs and rub it into the meat with your fingers. (Since the chiles are extremely hot, you may choose to wear rubber or plastic gloves when handling them.) Cover and refrigerate the legs for at least 8 hours or as long as 24 hours.

Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over high heat (450° to 600°F).

Grease the cooking surface with vegetable oil. Grill the chicken over indirect high heat, skin down first for 25 minutes, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the meat is opaque throughout and the juices run clear, Turn the chicken over and brush some oil on the skin and let it cooks for another 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve warm with more West Indian hot sauce. (Ketchup optional)  Some cold beers might ease the over heating throat when eating the chicken!

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