How to Make Jerk Chicken and Ribs To Die For
Whether it's smoking low and slow or grilling fast and hot, I absolutely love making chicken and ribs during the Summer. And my favorite preparation for making each at home has to be Jerk-style. Good jerk just has so much going for it. The spiciness makes you sweat and actually cools you off in the hot sun. And the savory and complex blend of spices makes your mouth water like nothing else (that's the best tenderizer in the world). And for some reason, jerk pairs amazingly with a cold brew, probably an outdoor cook's best friend.
There are two ways to do jerk: a dry rub made from a litany of different spices and herbs, and a wet marinade that uses an onion and soy base. I prefer the wet marinade, not only because I think it gives you better flavor, but also because you can reserve a portion of it and use it to sauce your meat after you grill it.
This recipe works with either chicken or pork, cooked any way you like.
It suits grilled or smoked ribs just fine, but it's hard to beat a
whole chicken cooked slow over smoldering coals or in a smoker for
three to four hours. When the meat is just about falling off the bone,
that's when you hit it with the sauce.
Beware: This recipe is spicy! I use Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers
to give it kick. But both peppers provide great flavor as well. If you
want to decrease the heat, stem and seed the peppers before blending in
your food processor, and add less.
1/2 onion, white or yellow preferred, roughly chopped
2 long scallions, rough chopped
6-8 garlic cloves, paper removed
6 sprigs worth of fresh thyme leaves (dried is fine if that's all you have)
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro
2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS of fresh ginger, sliced
2 tsp. allspice
.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
.5 tsp ground nutmeg
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper. More to taste.
Blend above ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.
The seasoning should be fine, but add more soy sauce if necessary. Then
comes the most important ingredient: Lots and lots and LOTS of coarse
ground black pepper! You want to add the black pepper after blending so
the coarse bits cling to the meat. This is the key to great results!
Pour about half the marinade over your meat and refrigerate for at
least 3 hours. Transfer the remainder of the marinade to a pot and cook
over medium heat until the onion and garlic mellow and the sauce
thickens slightly. Serve this over your finished jerk chicken or pork, and you'll be in Heaven.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to South Florida dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.