Jerk chicken is a popular Jamaican dish that is loved all over the world. It is traditionally cooked over a fire pit or in a Jerk Pan, however not all of us have this luxury and we have to make do with a conventional oven. During summer you can always try and do it over the BBQ, but I live in London; summer is never guaranteed! For me personally, nothing is better than authentic jerk chicken from Boston in Jamaica, however this is definitely the perfect alternative.
I would never lie to you guys… sometimes I just don’t have the time. Not that I’m lazy; I like to think of it as being efficient :). For me, the key to this recipe is not so much the ingredients but more so the technique. I really like the Tropical Sun Jerk Seasoning and I think it taste pretty authentic. So I prefer to use this and save a few minutes rather than make my own. If I couldn’t find a jar seasoning that I liked or I wanted to be fancy and stunt then I probably would just make it from scratch. Luckily, there’s no need as my technique and my added sauce means that this Jerk Chicken is a close as you will get to an authentic Jerk Chicken without using a Jerk Pan or BBQ. That being said – if you have the time it is always better to make your own and there are plenty of recipes on line you can follow.
Prep time: Overnight
Cooking time: 90-120 mins (depending on size of chicken)
On a chopping board, butterfly your chicken by cutting it in half along the breast line and between the thighs, removing any excess skin, hairs and left over kidney pieces underneath the thighs.
Place it on a flat baking tray, skin side up, and use a sharp knife to score in atleast 6 places (1 on each leg, 1 on each thigh and 1 one on each breast.
Rub the seasoning & salt into the chicken well, on both sides making sure to get into all the crevices. Rub a little extra into the scores that you made.
Cover your tray with cling film and leave to marinate overnight.
Preheat your oven to 180°C
Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the tray (do not pour it over the chicken), cover with foil and place in the oven
After approx. 45 mins check your chicken. Remove the foil and place back in the oven
Turn the oven down to 150°C and allow to cook for a further 45 mins (or until the chicken is cooked)
Regularly check your chicken and baste it with the stock juices in the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t dry out. If you feel like it is getting too dark in colour (almost burnt) but is not cooked yet, turn the oven down slightly and leave to cook through.
Whilst the chicken is jerking baking put all the ingredients listed for the sauce into a small saucepan and place on a high heat until it starts to boil. Mix Well.
As with the chicken – the more seasoning you add the spicier it will be.
Once is starts to boil, turn it down to a medium heat and leave to simmer.
After about 7-10 minutes the sauce should have reduced and thickened.
Using a chopping knife or kitchen scissors cut your chicken into quarters. Cut the quarter pieces again in half and then cut those pieces in half again. You should end up with about 16 pieces.
Place the pieces on a serving plate and drizzle the sauce all over it. If you want to be like me you can add pop half a lime on the side for decoration hehehe.
How much seasoning you want to use is ultimately up to you but I used approx. ½ cup of seasoning. The more seasoning you add the more flavour your chicken will have, but the spicier it will also be. You do not need to add salt if you don’t want to but I think it needs a tad – I used a pinch (or two hehe).
I think jerking a whole chicken rather than chicken pieces will give you a much better flavour and also help to keep the chicken moist whilst it cooks. It also adds to the Jamaican feel when you cut up a whole chicken and ensures that there’s something for everyone rather than legs/thighs only.