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    Jerk Chicken

    I couldn't find much on this site about a particular style of barbecue from Jamaica, called Jerk.
    Jerk has a very colorful history, as colorful as the history of Jamaica itself. For that I'll refer you to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerk_(cooking)

    Jerk was likely an original technique the escaped slaves the British called the Maroons would have used on the wild pigs that live in the mountains of Jamaica, so feel free to experiment with this technique on pork as well.
    Immigrants have brought all kinds of culinary influences, including the Chinese use of soy sauce and 5 spice to Jerk. The first recipe I tried had soy sauce, and it came out way too salty for me. The centerpiece of the recipe though is ginger, garlic and lots of allspice.


    The biggest challenge to cooking Jerk is that it's originally not grilled on a metal grill, but on green branches of the tree that produces allspice berries, Pimiento. This is an effect I'm not sure you can actually duplicate, but chefs in Jamaica and all over the world have done without that technique for ages.

    All these measurements are approximate, so use your own judgement on proportions and substitutions. There are a zillion recipes for jerk chicken on the web, but this is the one that worked well for me.


    Click image for larger version  Name:	jerk.jpg Views:	18 Size:	337.6 KB ID:	999916


    Jerk Chicken 3/5/2021
    4-6 chicken thighs (more chicken? Scale up the recipe).
    1 med shallot, chopped
    1” piece of ginger, peeled, chopped
    4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed, chopped
    1 habanero, seeded, chopped (I used 2 habanero, as they weren't very hot. Be careful with these!).
    1 1/2tsp ground allspice.
    1tsp galangal (also try nutmeg, clove, 5 spice, etc)
    1 lime, juiced (save the shells)
    1 satsuma tangerine, juiced (adds sweetness. Sub orange juice, etc)
    1 tsp (a splash) of worstershire sauce.
    Pinch of kosher salt (just salt the vegetables!)

    Blend all ingredients until chunky/smooth.
    Salt chicken (or other protein) as you normally would in advance. The key to salt balance is salting the protein and the vegetables separately.
    Combine chicken, Jerk marinade and lime shells in a zip top bag, or other tight-fitting container and let marinate at least an hour, better overnight.
    Cook over indirect charcoal, slowly (250-300°f) until just cooked (160-165°f)
    I used a lot of cherry wood pellets, as I think smoke is an important part, and cherry gives me some sweetnes and perfume that I can at least imagine pimento wood would carry.
    Last edited by TylerYarbrough; March 6, 2021, 12:01 PM.

    #2
    Just type the word "jerk" into the search box (top-middle of the AR window) and press the little magnifying glass symbol. You'll get quite a few hits:

    Click image for larger version

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    Comment


    • TylerYarbrough
      TylerYarbrough commented
      Editing a comment
      I love it that my name comes up when you search for 'Jerk'....

    • Panhead John
      Panhead John commented
      Editing a comment
      Damn, figured I’d pop up somewhere in there. 🧐

    #3
    Your recipe sounds really good! I do something similar. You can get pimento wood chips online but they’re pretty expensive. I buy chunks or sticks from these guys but they’re currently sold out of those.
    https://pimentowood.com/shop/

    Comment


    • TylerYarbrough
      TylerYarbrough commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, I came across that in my research, too. I suspect they're not importing them during pandemic.

    • Red Man
      Red Man commented
      Editing a comment
      TylerYarbrough I asked them a few years ago why they were out of chunks for so long. Apparently they only get a shipment once a year and the chunks and sticks run out quickly. I just got some sticks from them a few months ago.

    • kenrobin
      kenrobin commented
      Editing a comment
      I've also ordered Pimento chunks from them, check their website periodically & follow them on Instagram. They usually post there when they have wood available.

    #4
    Love me some jerk chicken.
    Used to get homemade jerk sauce from a friend that was great.
    I posted on a tread here about Grace brand jerk marinades that are really good. Worth a try.

    Comment


      #5
      I stopped by a taco truck one time that had a bunch of chickens wandering around. The cook asked for my order and I said " I'll have a chicken burrito" and pointing at a little Rhode Island Red a couple of feet away I added "but not that chicken, I don't like how it's looking at me"

      I'm pretty sure that was a jerk chicken.
      Last edited by CaptainMike; March 6, 2021, 04:27 PM.

      Comment


      • Panhead John
        Panhead John commented
        Editing a comment
        CaptainMike I was takin a nap. Readin bout all that work you was gonna do, done tired me out.

      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        Was waaa waaa waaaaaa.....good one Cap!!

      • holehogg
        holehogg commented
        Editing a comment
        🙈🙈🙈

      #6
      Some of the best chicken we have had was jerk at a Jamaican resort, thanks for the recipe!

      Comment


      • smokin fool
        smokin fool commented
        Editing a comment
        We stay at the Holiday Inn Montego Bay with The Jerk Hut, I always thought they named it after me, on premises. Some of the best Jerk chicken and pork around.
        A place called Scotchies on the coastal highway, is legendary. In all the years we've gone we've never stopped there to try it.

      #7
      What no picture comments ??

      Comment


        #8
        I'm a huge fan of the Walkerswood Jamaican Mild Jerk seasoning.

        Comment


        • klflowers
          klflowers commented
          Editing a comment
          Me too, but I like the hot.

        • Donw
          Donw commented
          Editing a comment
          I’ve got some in the cupboard ready to give it a try. Someone suggested mixing 1/2 mild and 1/2 hot was the right balance. We will soon know.

        #9
        Love jerk chicken!
        Putting this one in my back pocket.

        Years ago on a social media site I posted something along the lines of, “Seems chef is trying to kill me tonight with his jerk chicken.”

        Chef was me, and it was hot enough to burn off my eyebrows. LOL

        Comment


        • Donw
          Donw commented
          Editing a comment
          We have a similar memory where I was accused of trying to kill everyone in the family. It was my first batch using scotch bonnets. I still remember everyone’s expressions after taking that first bite.🥵

        • surfdog
          surfdog commented
          Editing a comment
          Donw That “first bite” reminds me of one of my boys...
          He was making something and had a bunch of habaneros...and got the bright idea to see just how hot they are. And took a bite.
          Chaos ensued. LOL

          This of course was well after I had given him complete instructions on how to handle said chilis. Derp

        #10
        Kenji has a jerk chicken recipe that replicates the pimento wood sticks without having to source the pimento wood with bay leaves and allspice berries: https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/...k-chicken.html

        I have a few great pasture raised chickens on the way and I will definitely be trying that recipe.

        Comment


          #11
          Originally posted by TylerYarbrough View Post
          I couldn't find much on this site about a particular style of barbecue from Jamaica, called Jerk.
          Jerk has a very colorful history, as colorful as the history of Jamaica itself. For that I'll refer you to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerk_(cooking)

          Jerk was likely an original technique the escaped slaves the British called the Maroons would have used on the wild pigs that live in the mountains of Jamaica, so feel free to experiment with this technique on pork as well.
          Immigrants have brought all kinds of culinary influences, including the Chinese use of soy sauce and 5 spice to Jerk. The first recipe I tried had soy sauce, and it came out way too salty for me. The centerpiece of the recipe though is ginger, garlic and lots of allspice.


          The biggest challenge to cooking Jerk is that it's originally not grilled on a metal grill, but on green branches of the tree that produces allspice berries, Pimiento. This is an effect I'm not sure you can actually duplicate, but chefs in Jamaica and all over the world have done without that technique for ages.

          All these measurements are approximate, so use your own judgement on proportions and substitutions. There are a zillion recipes for jerk chicken on the web, but this is the one that worked well for me.


          Click image for larger version Name:	jerk.jpg Views:	18 Size:	337.6 KB ID:	999916


          Jerk Chicken 3/5/2021
          4-6 chicken thighs (more chicken? Scale up the recipe).
          1 med shallot, chopped
          1” piece of ginger, peeled, chopped
          4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed, chopped
          1 habanero, seeded, chopped (I used 2 habanero, as they weren't very hot. Be careful with these!).
          1 1/2tsp ground allspice.
          1tsp galangal (also try nutmeg, clove, 5 spice, etc)
          1 lime, juiced (save the shells)
          1 satsuma tangerine, juiced (adds sweetness. Sub orange juice, etc)
          1 tsp (a splash) of worstershire sauce.
          Pinch of kosher salt (just salt the vegetables!)

          Blend all ingredients until chunky/smooth.
          Salt chicken (or other protein) as you normally would in advance. The key to salt balance is salting the protein and the vegetables separately.
          Combine chicken, Jerk marinade and lime shells in a zip top bag, or other tight-fitting container and let marinate at least an hour, better overnight.
          Cook over indirect charcoal, slowly (250-300°f) until just cooked (160-165°f)
          I used a lot of cherry wood pellets, as I think smoke is an important part, and cherry gives me some sweetnes and perfume that I can at least imagine pimento wood would carry.
          Seems a nice and unique recipe. I would love to give it a try on chicken instead of pork.

          Comment


            #12
            Thanks for sharing!

            Henrik has an awesome Jerk Chicken recipe in his book. If I remember correctly, it's geared toward chicken legs.

            Comment


            • Henrik
              Henrik commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for the mention! Yes, it's geared towards chicken legs, but works perfectly fine for any parts of a chicken :-)

            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for the reminder - that book is sitting next to the couch I sit on in the evenings, next to the fireplace. I need to pull it out and try Henrik's recipe once the wife can have spicy food again...

            #13
            Originally posted by kenrobin View Post
            I'm a huge fan of the Walkerswood Jamaican Mild Jerk seasoning.
            This!

            We've travelled to Jamaica, a few times, (it's Mrs. Skinsfan's favorite island), and the locals told us to use the Walkerswood. It's authentic and easy to find Stateside. I've been using it for years and, it's so good, it's not worth the effort to make homemade. We use the paste and prefer the hot & spicy. A friend of mine just suggested "Busha Brown Jerk" which is also made in Jamaica. I just ordered a jar on Amazon and will be trying it soon.
            Last edited by Skinsfan1311; March 30, 2021, 09:56 AM.

            Comment


            • kenrobin
              kenrobin commented
              Editing a comment
              Nice tip! I just ordered a bottle of the Busha Browne Jerk too.

            • Irishfuente
              Irishfuente commented
              Editing a comment
              do you just use the paste. or do you .jx anything with it? do you smoke it?

            #14
            @CaptainMike
            Did he look anything like this?

            Click image for larger version

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ID:	1057795

            Comment


            • Panhead John
              Panhead John commented
              Editing a comment
              If there was ever a chicken who looked like a jerk, that’s him. I don’t like the SOB and I ain’t never even met him yet.

            #15
            I have an authentic Jamaican place near my house. Tasty and hot.

            Comment

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