Mention Jamaica and most people think of jerk, the spice-drenched, fiery, smoke-grilled pork or chicken that considered Jamaica's national dish. Jerk has become so popular that it's easy to forget the island's other wonderful barbecued dishes, among them this incredibly flavorful, falling-off-the-bone tender chicken. I first savored it by flickering torchlight at a riverside eatery outside Kingston. The chef, although she'd blush to be identified as such, was a short, shy, warm-hearted woman named Fastina Sherman. When complimented on her cooking, or simply asked a question, she'd break into a deep-dimpled smile—no wonder everyone calls her Dimples.
Amazing Chicken Recipes
8 medium scallions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 to 1 Scotch bonnet chile, seeded and finely chopped (or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
Scotch bonnet hot sauce)
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
One 4-pound chicken
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 scallions, minced
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 cups wood chips, soaked in water for 1 hour, then drained
How to Make It
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and puree to a paste. Run your fingers under the breast skin of the chicken to loosen it. Spoon half of the marinade into the neck and central cavities and rub the remaining marinade over the breast meat under the skin. Put the chicken in a sturdy plastic bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours, turning the bag a couple of times.
In a small saucepan, combine the ketchup, soy sauce, scallions, brown sugar, vinegar, ginger and garlic and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce over low heat until thick, about 10 minutes; stir in the rum during the last 2 minutes.
Light a grill for indirect cooking and set a drip pan in the center. When the temperature reaches 350°, toss the wood chips into the coals or add them to a smoker box. Remove the chicken from the bag and set it in the center of the grill, away from the flames. Cover tightly and cook for 1 hour. Brush the chicken with the barbecue sauce and cook, covered for about 45 minutes longer; baste with sauce from time to time. The chicken is done when it is deep brown and the juices run clear when the inner tight is pierced. Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before carving.
A dry, crisp pilsner is perfect to balance the heat and the sweet in this roasted chicken. One excellent choice: Paulaner Premium Pilsner from Germany.
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