The Jamaican 'Jerk' style refers to the unique combination of seasonings used to marinade and coat the chicken and to the slow cooking method of grilled or barbecuing over a flame.
Jamaicans cook all sorts of meats jerk-style, but one of the favorites, that can be bought at roadside stalls, is Jerk-style chicken.
It is often served sliced in a folded flat bread.
This article shown you how to prepare the unique jerk spices and salt rub and how to prepare and cook the chicken over a slow flame.
It includes recipes for the Jerk marinade and a watermelon salsa, which is the perfect accompaniment for this spicy dish.
Jerk seasoning consists of a base blend of scallions, thyme, pimento/allspice, Scotch bonnets chillies (or habañero, jalapeno or serrano chillies). salt, cinnamon and sometimes nutmeg. It is the unique combination of spices, salt and chillies which makes this dish so distinctive. Toss all the ingredients into a blender, or pulverize everything to a paste in a mortar and pestle to provide the paste for marinading the chicken pieces.
Leaving the skin on the chicken pieces, prevents them from drying out when being grilled. Inserting some of the jerk paste under the skin helps to ensure the flavor penetrates into the chicken. Discarding the skin helps to lower the fat content and calories of the dish.
The watermelon salsa is designed as the ideal way to offset the searing the heat of the chilies.
For the marinade
For the salsa
Add the thyme, sugar, salt, garlic, bay leaves, mustard, allspice, lime juice, soy sauce, chilies, the scallions, salt and 4 tablespoons of the oil to a blender. Pulse until the jerk mixture forms a fine paste. Place the mixture to a thick sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken to the bag, close the seal and rotate the chicken to ensure all surfaces are well coated. Set aside to marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. The long marinade ensures the flavor gets through the chicken.
Pre-heat the grill or barbecue to slow-medium.
To make the sugar, lime juice, mint, shallot, cucumber and watermelon in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and fresh herbs (optional).
Take each piece of chicken out of the marinade and allow to drain. Discard the left-over marinade. Oil the grill or barbecue grates. Add the chicken to the grill with the skin side down. Grill slowly for 10-15 minutes. Turn the pieces over and grill the other side for another 10-15 minutes. Ensure the chicken is just cooked through to the center of the largest piece. Remove the chicken from the grill and after covering with foil and resting for 5 minutes, place on serving plates. Top each piece of jerk chicken with the watermelon salsa and serve.
Nutrition information per serving: 380 calories, 20 g fat, 115 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 39 g protein.