Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jerk Chicken Recipe

After trying a few different jerk marinades, we found a clear winner in Weber's Charcoal Grilling--The Art Of Cooking With Live Fire. You can change the proportions as much as you want, but a few things are fundamental: 1) Chili's are your friend, particularly spicy ones like serranos or habaneros 2) Dark meat is the best, especially drumsticks. Don't even think about using breasts. 3) Cook over low and indirect heat. Invest in some applewood chips to mimic the smokey flavor of authentic jerk chicken, which is traditionally cooked over pimento (allspice) branches.

jerk chicken

1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lime juice
8-10 scallions, roughly chopped
3 serrano chilis, roughly chopped with seeds.
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon fresh
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

10 chicken drumsticks
2 large handfuls applewood chips, soaked in water for a couple of hours

Combine marinade ingredients in a blender until all the solids are liquified. Remove loose pieces of fat from the chicken. Cut a few slashes into the meat of each drumstick to allow the flavors and smoke to penetrate to the bone. Combine the drumsticks and marinade in a ziplock bag and let marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

Prepare a two-zone charcoal fire for low heat. You won't need to fill your chimney all the way to the top, so perhaps 1/2 way full is ideal. Once the coals are hot, dump them off to the side of your grill so that they take up only 1/3 of the surface area. Close the lid and wait until the internal temperature drops to about 350 degrees fahrenheit. "Low" grilling is generally considered to be between 250 and 350 degrees, so you need to start at a hotter temperature to account for the drop in temperature that will surely occur. Once the temperature has stabilized, drain half of the wood chips and place on top of the coals. When they start to smoke, place the drumsticks skin side down on the grate as far away as possible from the coals. Save the marinade. Close the lid and let them cook for an hour. Place the holes of the lid over the chicken to ensure that the smoke passes over the meat as it exits the grill. Keep an eye on the temperature and add 8 unlit briquettes if the temperature drops to 250 or less.

Bring the remaining marinade to a boil to kill the germs from the raw chicken. Flip the drumsticks over after the first hour is complete. Brush some marinade on both sides. Place the rest of the wood chips on the coals, close the lid, and let them cook over low heat for another hour.

The skin can get a little rubbery from the low temperature cooking, so throw some new coals on the fire after 2 hours of grilling to start a medium-heat fire. Finish off the drumsticks for a couple of minutes per side over the fire to crisp the skin.

We've tried many other recipes from this book and it is GREAT! It is a helpful grilling resource to help build different types of fires, recognize when food is done by sight or touch, and gives ideas of new things to cook on a charcoal grill.
Weber's Charcoal Grilling--The Art Of Cooking With Live Fire

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! I let a friend borrow this book, as I have other Weber books, and was really craving this recipe!


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