Jamaican Jerk ChickenSteven Raichlen
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
- Yield: 6 servings
- Method: Hot smoking
- Equipment: Bradley gas grill with pimento wood grate, pimento leaf steamer, and allspice berry smoking pack; pimento (allspice) wood
- 2 cups Jerk Seasoning (or use your favorite commercial brand)
- 2 whole chickens, spatchcocked (butterflied)
For the smoker pouch:
- 2 cups pimento wood chips, soaked in water to cover for 30 minutes, then drained (soaking is optional)
- 3 tablespoons allspice berries, soaked in water to cover for 30 minutes, then drained (soaking is optional)
- 16 pimento leaves or green bay leaves, soaked in water to cover for 30 minutes (soaking is optional)
- 4 pimento wood sticks, soaked in water to cover for 30 minutes (soaking is optional)
Step 1: Pour half the jerk seasoning across the bottom of two baking dishes just large enough to hold a chicken (or place in a jumbo resealable plastic bag). Arrange the chickens on top. Pour the remaining jerk seasoning over the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours, turning the chicken a couple times so they marinate evenly.
Step 2: Make the smoker pouch: Place the pimento wood chips and allspice in the center of a large sheet of heavy duty foil. Fold over the edges to make a foil pouch. Poke a few holes in the top with a fork.
Step 3: Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-low (275 to 300 degrees). Arrange the pimento leaves over the unlit side of the grill (form a rectangle large enough to fit under the chickens). Arrange the 4 pimento wood sticks each parallel to the other on top of the pimento leaves. Place the smoking pouch over the lit side of the grill.
Step 4: Arrange the chickens, bone sides down, on top of the sticks. Lower the lid and indirect grill the chickens until darkly browned and cooked through (the internal temperature will be 165 degrees), 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
On a charcoal grill: Set up your grill for indirect grilling. Arrange the pimento leaves and sticks on the grate away from the heat over the drip pan. Arrange the chicken legs on top. Toss the soaked drained pimento wood chips and berries directly on the coals. Cook as described above.
In a smoker: Light your smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to 275 degrees. Arrange the pimento leaves and sticks on one of the smoker racks. Arrange the chicken legs on top. Add the pimento wood and allspice berries as specified by the manufacturer. Cook as described above.