Jerk-style chicken #1


jerkchicken1.jpgI thought I'd make a batch of this most delicious spicy Jamaican food. I've never been impressed with the jars of jerk seasoning in the grocery store, so I thought I'd try making my own.

This version was good but not great - clearly not spicy enough and I think it might need to spend some time on the grill to get that blackened look of real jerk chicken. But still very flavorful and tender, and quite delicious, nonetheless.

I fully admit that this is not an authentic recipe. (1) I can't get fresh Scotch Bonnet peppers in Montpelier, Vermont. (2) I'd just as soon not eat peppers that hot. So here's my compromise made with three whole jalapeños (including all of the seeds and ribs), which give it a nice flavor and a little heat, though not quite enough. Maybe next time I'll throw in some dried habaneros.

Apparently jerk was traditionally smoked, but more recently it's become standard to grill it over charcoal in an old oil drum. And since I didn't have a spare oil drum handy, I decided to go to my old standbys, the sous vide machine and the Bradley smoker. This method makes it very tender and moist, has great flavor, and is essentially foolproof.

0.147 oz. whole allspice, ground (1 tbsp.)
0.068 oz. dried thyme leaves, ground (1 tbsp.)
0.107 oz. cayenne pepper (1/2 tbsp.)
0.133 oz. black pepper, ground (1/2 tbsp.)
0.190 oz. salt (1/2 tbsp.)
0.074 oz. nutmeg, ground (¾ tsp.)
0.081 oz. cinnamon (¾ tsp.)
0.023 oz. cloves, ground (1/2 tsp.)
0.8 oz. garlic, minced (3 cloves)
4.6 oz. jalapeño peppers, minced (3 large, including seeds and ribs)
2.6 oz. scallions, white and green parts, chopped (3 large)
4.4 oz. onion, chopped (1 small)
vegetable oil to make sauce consistency

jerkchicken2.jpgPut the ingredients in the food processor, adding enough oil to make a smooth sauce. This recipe makes an abundance of jerk seasoning - you could probably halve the recipe and still have enough for a 4.5 lb. chicken. If you're careful not to cross-contaminate the sauce with chicken you can save it; I put it in a vacuum bag and froze it because I was unsure of how long it could be safely stored in the refrigerator.

Break down a 4 to 5 pound chicken. Split the breast, leaving the breast meat on the bone. Leave the skin on the chicken.

Liberally coat the chicken in the spice mixture. Place in vacuum bags and seal. It will probably take a two or three bags. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, preferably 24 hours.

Sous vide for 2 hours at 160°F.

Remove from the sous vide and let rest for a half hour. Drain the liquid from the bag. Put in the smoker for 1 hour at 200°F to 225°F

This recipe is a combination of the Wikipedia article and this recipe, and this recipe.