Nothing marries Caribbean spices better than a great jerk seasoning rub or marinade. The list of ingredients may look long, but the final product is so fiery sweet on your taste buds, it is worth taking the extra few minutes to create your own. There are thousands of jerk chicken recipes available, each with slightly different variations. This one is my favorite so far. If you have a hard time finding Scotch Bonnet peppers, you can substitute either jalapenos or habaneras. The seeds within the peppers are what create the sensation of heat, so remove all seeds if you prefer a milder flavor, or add some seeds for a truly blazing Jamaican taste.
Mix up a batch (or two) and store in a jar in your fridge for up to a month. When planning your chicken or pork menu, be sure to remember to marinate your meat with the seasoning for a minimum of 4 hours, but preferably 24 hours to really get the full effect of all the wonderful spices.
1. Start with about 7 or 8 pounds of mixed chicken parts or what ever parts you prefer. After washing and patting dry with paper towels, leave the skin on.
2. Combine the following ingredients in a blender or food processor to create your jerk paste:
6 peeled garlic cloves
1 piece of peeled ginger
4-6 Scotch Bonnet peppers or jalapenos (the seeds create the heat so eliminate seeds for less heat or add them for more)
3 diced green onion
1 diced white onion
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons allspice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Juice of 2 limes
¼ cup fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried
¼ cup dark rum (optional)
3. After blending all ingredients well, coat the chicken pieces thoroughly both under and over the skin.
4. Toss coated chicken into a large zip lock bag and refrigerate overnight for approximately 12 hours. The longer the better.
5. If cooking inside in your oven, bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour turning the chicken and continually basting with marinade.
6. For the truly Jamaican effect, grill over hot coals and smoked wood chips for 45 minutes or until skin is a nice brown color and juices run clear.
For a typical Sunday dinner, serve with rice and peas and fried slices of banana with a little brown sugar and butter. Fill a big bucket with ice and Jamaican Red Stripe beers to cool down the palate, put on a little Bob Marley for entertainment and you have a Caribbean feast ready to roll! Don’t forget some nice sliced watermelon for desert.