Monday, April 9, 2007

Jerky Chicken – Because I just can’t call it “Jerked Chicken” and keep a straight face!

The “Jerk” style of cooking comes to us from Jamaica. The term “Jerk” actually comes from the term “Jerky,” which comes from the Spanish “charqui” (Char-key), which is basically meat dried over a slow wood fire. Today “Jerk” doesn’t refer to the cooking method, but the fiery spice mix that is rubbed on the meat before it’s grilled. The key ingredients in this spice mix are Allspice and dried Scotch Bonnet peppers (one of the hottest peppers on earth!). Other common ingredients include Cloves, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Thyme. There are countless combinations, so I suggest you buy a high-quality pre-mixed Jerk spice mix (that's what I did – after carefully checking the ingredient list to make sure I was getting the real stuff). If you want to make your own Jerk mixture, you can certainly do a Google search and you’ll have a couple thousand formulas at your disposal.

The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. It has just 3 basic ingredients and since the spice mix is so flavorful and intense, we don’t need to add much. Also, please note the trick I show before applying the “wet rub” when I “score” the chicken breast with the knife. This is a great trick for several reasons that I explain in the clip. By the way, I serve this tasty breast over my famous “12 second” coleslaw, which I will demo soon. I also mention garlic-infused oil which I used to sauté the chicken, and I will demo that soon as well. In the meantime, if you don’t have any garlic-infused oil, just add a couple crushed garlic cloves to the marinade.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbl Jerk spice mix (usually allspice and dried Scotch Bonnet peppers, cinnamon, nutmeg, and thyme)
1/2 orange, juiced
salt to taste
garlic oil to sauté
*if you don’t have the garlic oil, just add some fresh garlic to the wet rub and sauté in plain vegetable oil


Anonymous said...

Chef John!
Unrelated to the jerk chicken: I can't find your Slanted Door Caramel Chicken recipe anywhere! Has it disappeared, or am I not looking in the right place?


Chef John said...

I havent converted it yet from my old blog. I will do that ASAP! That should have been the first clip I did. Thanks.

Leti said...

This looks fabulous! I tried a "jerky chicken" (I can't say it either without the snicker) recipe from elsewhere, but it was intended for a grill. Having none, I thought I'd try it in the pan and get "cooked" chicken. Uhg. What a wet-unsatisfying disaster. The two tips that were the most helpful here: knowing how to set the pan on high, then lowering the temperature and drying the chicken.

I made the old recipe for my boyfriend and what a disaster! I'll be making your recipe for him next time, with outstanding results .. I'm sure! (I'm already in love with your French Toast recipe and your Roast Chicken!)

Thanks again for all your excellent, clear cooking advice!

Prospero said...

Hi Chef, I was wondering if you could tell me the proportions of the ingredients that make up your jerk mix. I'd like to take your jerk mix and apply it to your Oxtail recipe to make Jamaican Oxtail.

Thank you for communicating your recipes with wit and simplicity, and for knowing how to talk to beginners.

Chef John said...

sorry, don't have the jar anymore! It was just a basic blend from a grocery store.

JSpangs said...

Did you make a demo for garlic-infused oil? I searched the blog but couldn't find it. I love your website - you have inspired me to try so many great recipes!