Ingredients for Jerk Chicken
- 1 tbsp allspice berries, you can use a tablespoon of powdered allspice if you can’t get your hands on this.
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped (very important ingredient)
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- 3 scotch bonnet chillies, finely chopped, take out the spicy little seeds
- 1 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- Juice of 1 or 2 limes, this is personal preference, I prefer more than 1
- 6 chicken legs (thigh with drumstick attached), skin-on (or 6 thighs and 6 drumsticks)
Get out the pestle and mortar and grind the allspice and peppercorns together so they are both all powdery. Add this to a food processor along with the cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, spring onions and chillies. Blend the shit out of it till it’s a nice puree, then add in the sugar, salt, soy sauce and lime juice. This is your marinade and is going to make your chicken taste supreme (not like the clothes brand as that would be pretty weird thing to eat, but like just really good, the best).
Pour this marinade into a bowl and add in the chicken. Now begin to massage the chicken getting in all its nooks and crannies. This should be slightly sensual and a little fun. Rub it all around until it is covered and you think you would probably have been given a tip had this have been a human you had just massaged.
Once you have got the chicken all relaxed, cover and leave it in the fridge overnight, or for about 6 hours.
The cooking process:
Traditionally, and for best flavour jerk chicken is cooked on a bbq. Turn the BBQ and get it to a medium heat. Sear the chicken all over, move to the slight cooler edges and add the lid. Cook for 25 minutes. The chicken should look a little charred. Don’t worry, unlike other foods which when bbq’d and burnt seem to turn your family into an angry mob, Jerk chicken however, quite often tastes better charred, it creates a layer and locks in all the flavour.
If you don’t happen to have an open fire or bbq to hand (I imagine this would be most of the time), don’t worry. Pre-heat your oven to 180’C place the chicken on a baking tray and cook for about an hour. Finally to get the charred effect, heat a griddle pan up nice and hot and put the already cooked chicken on and char/ crisp both sides.
One word of warning, when adding to the griddle pan, open some windows. The chillis come back to life and want vengeance for stealing all their unborn seed children, declaring chemical warfare with a spicy gas attack. While you might not notice as you have been around the spice for a while now, the rest of your house will begin coughing and sometimes throwing shoes at you, because unlike the spice girls, you are not praised for spicing up their lives.
Once cooked, serve with some rice and peas, or sweet potato mash or chips, if you want to be traditional. If you don’t care about tradition, eat it with whatever you want.
If you don’t want to use chicken, use fish, pork, goat, lamb or whatever you fancy. It’s all tasty, especially when made in the Jerk way.