Emeril's Caribbean Chicken

Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs

Sweet spices and hot chiles give the flavor of the islands to this chicken dish. This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse's column, Kick It Up.


  • 4 scallions, ends trimmed, cut into thirds

  • 2 to 4 Scotch bonnet or jalapeno chiles (or to taste), stems and seeds removed (use gloves)

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 3 -inch piece fresh ginger, peeled

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 ½ pounds), giblets and liver discarded

  • Vegetable oil, for grates

  • Coarse salt


  1. In a food processor, combine scallions, chiles, garlic, ginger, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, pumpkin-pie spice, and thyme; puree into a thick paste. Set aside.

  2. To butterfly chicken: Using a knife or poultry shears, cut out the backbone. With a heavy pot, crack breastplate so the bird lays flat. Place butterflied chicken in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Rub reserved paste over chicken, and seal bag. Refrigerate for 12 hours (or up to 1 day).

  3. Heat grill to medium-low; lightly oil grates. Wipe chicken with paper towels to remove excess paste, and season with 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Place, skin side down, on grill and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees, 35 to 40 minutes (if browning too quickly, move to a cooler part of grill). Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes

Butterflying reduces the bird's cooking time -- ask your butcher to do it, or see step 2. To give the meat big taste, puree the marinade ingredients into a smooth paste. Plenty of (hands-off) marinating time deepens the flavor.

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