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Prep 24 hrs
Cook 1 hr
I've checked most of the other Jerk Chicken recipes, making sure this isn't redundant. This recipe is unique for the emphasis it puts on the smoke. The word jerk come from charqui, the Spanish version of a native South American word "charki," meaning dried meat. There are two aspects to jerk: the unique jerk rub, and the smokey cooking method. Authentic jerk calls for allspice woods chips to create the fragrant, available online. Or use other aromatic wood chips. Also, trust the recipe: if using thighs (recommended) don't turn the chicken. Put it on the grill and let is smoke undisturbed. At the appointed time, you will lift the cover of the grill and discover a beautiful, golden-brown encrusted chicken.
- 2 whole chickens, 3-1/2-4 lbs each and quartered or 8 chicken legs or 6 lbs chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
- 1 bunch scallion, white and green parts (about 8)
- 2 shallots, peeled and halved
- 4 -6 scotch bonnet peppers, stems removed or 4 -6 habaneros
- 1 piece fresh ginger, 2-inches, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1⁄4 cup fresh thyme leaves or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons ground allspice, more for sprinkling
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt, more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 2 limes, juice, freshly squeezed juice
- At least 1 day before cooking, pat chicken dry with paper towels, and set aside. Combine all remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and grind to a coarse paste. Slather all over chicken, including under skin. Refrigerate 12 to 36 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking and lightly sprinkle with more salt and ground allspice.
- Prepare a charcoal grill: Clean and oil grates. Use indirect heat. Add two large handfuls of soaked pimento (allspice) wood sticks and chips (see note) or other aromatic wood chips to coals, then close grill. When thick white smoke billows from grill, place chicken on grate, skin side up, and cover. Let cook undisturbed for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Uncover grill. Chicken will be golden and mahogany in places. Chicken thighs may already be cooked through. For other cuts, turn chicken over and add more wood chips, and charcoal if needed. Cover and continue cooking, checking and turning every 10 minutes. Jerk chicken is done when skin is burnished brown and chicken juices are completely clear, with no pink near the bone. For large pieces, this can take up to an hour. Serve hot or warm, with rice and beans.