We've come up with a home-cook-friendly recipe for intensely spicy, crisp-skinned jerk chicken that's steeped in authentic flavor. Scotch bonnets are traditional, but you can use habaneros, which are similar and easier to find.
- Servings: 8
Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2005
- 3 fresh Scotch bonnet, or habanero chiles, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 8 scallions, coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat side of a large knife
- 3 tablespoons (about 1 bunch) fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 to 3 limes), plus lime wedges for serving
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing grill
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 whole chickens (about 5 pounds each), cut into 8 pieces each, or 16 drumsticks and thighs, rinsed well and patted dry
Make jerk marinade: Process chiles, onion, scallions, garlic, and thyme in a food processor until mixture forms a coarse paste. Add brown sugar, allspice, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, and oil; season with pepper. Process until smooth. Marinade can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 day before proceeding.
Transfer 1/3 of the marinade (about 1 cup) to a small bowl; set aside to use for brushing chicken. Transfer remaining marinade to a large bowl. Add chicken; toss to coat, rubbing marinade under the skin and all over chicken. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before grilling.
Heat a grill to low (if using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 7 seconds). Brush grate lightly with oil. Place chicken on grill, skin sides down. Discard used marinade. Grill chicken, brushing occasionally with reserved cup of fresh marinade, until the skin sides are well browned but not charred, about 25 minutes. Turn chicken, and continue to cook, basting it occasionally, until cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Cut chicken breast halves into 2 or 3 pieces, if desired. Serve with lime wedges.