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Am I a Jerk Chicken Jerk?


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Am I a Jerk Chicken Jerk?

EarlyBird | | Sep 10, 2012 09:46 AM


I had never had Jamaican jerk chicken until this weekend, but love spicy foods. After my neighbor gave me a collection of peppers from her garden, including a dozen habanero peppers, a close relative of the Scotch Bonnet pepper typically used in jerk, I was inspired me to try my hand at Jamaican jerk chicken.

I was really disappointed. Given the super long list of ingredients for the marinade, including brown sugar, ginger, garlic, soy, vinegar, thyme, allspice, cinammon, nutmeg, rum, honey, tamarind paste, citrus juices, etc., I expected a complex flavor with plenty of heat. All I got was heat. The heat didn't overwhelm the flavor mind you; there were really just no other flavors to overwhelm. It was very plain tasting chicken with some heat at the end.

I followed this recipe to a Tee:


I marinated the chicken, totally submerged, for 24 hours, turning it half way through the process to make sure the meat was thoroughly permeated.

I grilled the chicken indirectly and finished it over the coals to get some nice char and browning. In terms of doneness it was perfectly cooked: crispy, brown-as-a-football skin with juicy, perfectly cooked meat.

But...there was virtually NO flavor. Just that heat from the habaneros.

I can't imagine that's what jerk chicken is supposed to taste like. Did I do something wrong? I wonder if the marinade was too wet, and I should have made it into a paste to smear onto the chicken and keep it there while it cooked.

I would appreciate a jerk chicken debriefing from someone who knows how it shoudl taste and how to cook it. I feel like a jerk.