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How to Make Jerk Chicken | From the Home Kitchen | Bon Appétit

How to Make Jerk Chicken | From the Home Kitchen | Bon Appétit
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– Don’t wear your favorite outfit while you cook this. You’re gonna smell like a barbecue and maybe you’re into that. I personally am sometimes, but just know that it just, it really sticks to you.

– If you ask any migrant Jamaican family who lives in a place like Brooklyn, everyone would have a different spin on their family recipe which is really cool because it means that that recipe really reflects what’s coming from the home.

I wanted to adapt this recipe from a sometimes very involved grilling process that happens outside and bringing it into the home. You can actually just do it on a grill setting like this, transfer to the oven, and still get some of those really essential key flavors to what usually goes into the jerk chicken.

So you can use any cut you want, dark, white, legs, wings, it’s all fair game. I’m using thighs because they’re a little bit more resilient when it comes to the cooking process. And one of the most important steps is to dry brine your meat.

It imparts so much flavor. It also helps to tenderize the piece of meat that you’re working on as well. So for my dry brine today, we have a tablespoon of pimento. It’s also called allspice in Jamaica, it’s mostly referred to as pimento.

Orange zest, probably just use whole skin. It’s one of the ways that you get that sort of tried-and-true taste of jerk chicken into the actual dish. And if you actually give it like a little sniff, it kind of just feels like really well-rounded winter spices.

In Jamaica, they actually cook the chicken or pork over actual pimento logs and soak their wood chips in water to actually get that smoked pimento flavor into the meat. And that’s really essential because honestly without pimento, you don’t really have jerk chicken.

It won’t impart the same flavors. Just like a decent amount of orange. Just going to add a generous pinch of salt. And you don’t have to be too scared about oversalting when it comes to dry brining. It’s not just adding sort of like a level of salinity to the chicken, it’s also pulling out moisture, Prior to putting the dry brine on the chicken skin, I pat it dry with a paper towel just to make sure that any of that residual moisture from the chicken coming to room temperature is pulled out.

Gonna make sure that it hits the flesh too. And if you feel like it can be hit with a little bit more salt, I beg you to add it. If your gut’s saying, “You know what, I’m gonna go for it,” it can take it.

So these look good. I’m happy with where they are. I’m going to put these in the fridge for two to 12 hours and then pull it out and then we’ll add the jerk paste to the chicken as well. So we get into our mise next.

Here I have two plums. So I’m just gonna actually cut these into the sizes and shapes that I want. So we’re just gonna cut this into half moons. Depending on what season you’re in, you might not be able to find plums, which is totally fine.

I would recommend apricot, you can also do something with peaches, anything that has some level of acidity and sweetness is also your friend for this type of recipe. Peeling gingers, I’ll always just break it down into its sort of parts that are maybe a little more easy to navigate, like that.

And then I’ll just take a spoon and I’ll peel it with the spoon. I like to take the skin off just because it is a little bit more woody. You definitely won’t die if you eat it but it’s not necessarily the best thing.

So ginger, Scotch bonnet, and black pepper adds a level of heat and it’s also creating a complex balance of heat. Your ginger is slightly fruit-forward and has very like balanced level of spice to it.

Scotch bonnet is that like high-hitting heat. It’s like when someone sings a song and they do a falsetto, it’s really climbing up to that point, it’s the sort of like climax of heat for the jerk paste.

Being able to connect with Caribbean culture is also to just get a better understanding of the history of its people. When you’re also just getting to know and learn about someone or a culture, the understanding through food is kind of like one of the first entryways into having conversation and to have a dialogue about what it means to be from somewhere and to care about something.

So I’m just gonna break down my garlic. When it comes to our Scotch bonnets, you want to be very careful of the seed. Do not make a dish at some odd hour and then rub your eye ’cause you’re tired, and then you end up crying in the bathroom for five minutes because you didn’t wear gloves or because you didn’t realize what you were doing.

Make this very simple for myself and cut the top off and then cut it down just into, probably half is fine and add it in there. No contact with the seeds and all the spice will transition into the actual paste itself.

When in Jamaica, when we would visit, I would eat jerk paste out of the bottle. Every bottle has a different marking of how hot it was and I would love to challenge myself and just see how hot I could I can manage to take, which maybe is why I’m numb to it now.

You can kind of see thyme in Jamaica as you might find oregano or rosemary, it’s that hard herb that kind of helps to add another layer of flavor to whatever you’re making. Last but not least, black pepper.

I’m gonna add it to our spice grinder. Give it a little buzz. Smells good. I have like a fixation on the smell of like a freshly crushed black peppercorn. It’s like a bouquet of flowers, almost, it kind of like has this like delicious floral-ness to it that you don’t find when you just have black pressure, black prepper that’s, black pepper that’s pre-crushed.

Black prep, black pepper that’s pre-crushed. Black pepper that’s pre-crushed. Black pepper is great. So you want it to become a loose paste. We actually want to add that texture onto the chicken thighs themselves.

Amazing. Smells fiery. So we can take this off. Oh my god, it’s so hot. Turn my grill pan on. We kind of want it to be at like a medium-high heat and I’m just gonna get my plums going on the grill with a little bit of oil.

I’m just gonna put them face down, trying to be like very orderly about this. Typically at home, I probably would just dump it all on but I’m trying to show up for you today. What you do want is for a bit of a grill mark to form because we’re gonna cook it down a bit further once we add it to the actual sauce.

In the meantime, what we have over here is our chicken. This one I let sit for about 12 hours. I may have coordinated my shirt with this glove choice, I’m not sure, but it really seems that way so we’re just gonna go with it.

I don’t want to use all of this because I actually like to lacquer on the paste as I cook to build flavor. Maybe like a little bit more than half of it, maybe like say like 60, 75%. You can brush it on if you want.

I like to get into all the cracks and crevices and get under the skin to make sure that it’s well-coated. Give it a rub. I’m having so many flashbacks. At my dad’s restaurant, 11 years old, working on jerk chicken on a grill, over coals, over wood, just making probably like 200, at least 200 pounds of jerk chicken a day.

Flip the plums! Flip the plums! The char just adds another layer of flavor that’s complimentary to jerk chicken itself. It’s not too far of a jump from your chicken to your plum and it feels like it has harmony and that’s how you make a well-balanced dish.

See smoke, great sign that our pan is hot. And that we have contact with the skin. Gonna add our chicken to the grill pan. We applied some wetness to it so it’s actually important that we render that fat out of the skin.

And the other thing– Oh, god! Ooh. Just jumped back at me. Once you hit the pan, not only is it like hot from the smoke, but also the capsaicin or whatever is in the pepper is actually just like filtering through the air so if your lungs don’t feel like mine do right now, I don’t know if you’re actually grilling properly.

These are gonna cook skin side down for three to five minutes. And all we want to do here is just start to develop color, develop our sugars like we talked about. Ooh. Oh yeah, time to flip. You can actually see that even with the slight bit of brown sugar that we have, we already have some color developing.

The skin itself is getting crispy so I’m just gonna flip it to the– So I’m just oh my god, struggling to get the words out because it is so spicy, but we have all that heat from the marinade being pulled into the air from the smoke, which is exactly what should be happening.

And then what I’m gonna do, I’m just gonna go ahead and add a bit more of the paste on top, ’cause we really want it to seal in that flavor. Smoke is gonna take me out, but honestly, for you all it’s worth it.

You know what? I think it’s oven time, for all of our sakes. I’m gonna take this grill pan, transfer it into the oven and then we’re gonna start working on our plum sauce. So, what did we learn from that moment? Ventilation is really important.

And you’re just gonna like breathe through it, just cough through it. We’re good. I think it’s time to make a plum sauce. Plums offer texture and freshness, whereas preserve or a jam is going to add in that pectin that you need.

Bits of vinegar, chile flakes, light brown sugar, about a tablespoon of sugar. Before I go any further, I’m just gonna go ahead and grab my chicken from the oven. This is perfect because we’re gonna want it to rest as the sauce comes together, so.

We’ve got color. We’ve got body. We’re looking for a good 165 moment, stick it in there. Ah, oh yes. Nailed it. Perfect. ♪ Get this stove lit ♪ Add in our agave. If you wanna use honey, you could totally use honey.

If you wanted to also make your own simple syrup, you could also do that as well. You have options. Go with what you know. Just gonna break down this garlic, take it out of its little shell. A mandoline is just simply for slicing.

You get even thickness across your cuts. I’m really into the garlic slice, like a graphic element of the whole dish. In the syrup or the sauce itself, it’s gonna start to just kind of turn translucent, but you’ll still see garlic pieces when you actually apply it to the jerk chicken itself.

So, see, it’s starting to come together. I’m just gonna go ahead and add my plums. Yeah, you really want your plum to become well-coated in the sauce, but then also you want to make sure that you leave it on a low enough temperature so that it starts to let out its own moisture.

I’m gonna go ahead and shave in our ginger. Microplaning’s important because you want to have smaller pieces which means that the flavor disappears a bit more. This is cooled down a bit. You have all those juices that kind of settle so when we cut into it or if you bite into it, it doesn’t go kind of like leaching out and spilling everywhere.

And then I’m gonna do is just add the plums on top of that, and I feel like it’s in a good place and looks delicious and I’m excited to eat it. I’d like to thank my grandma and grandpa and aunties and uncles for passing down this iconic recipe that I’ve obviously put my own spin on today.

Let’s see how I did. Oh my god. Let me just say, that even though we didn’t have a grill, basically achieving the same level of crispness and crunchiness and texture developing, the combination of the spiciness but also being cut with the sweetness of the plum.

And also the plum is like juicy, it’s refreshing. I think like perfect balance for this jerk chicken dish. The texture of the skin is incredible. Feels like the perfect nostalgic vacation meal.

It’s fruit-forward, it’s got spice, it’s got sweetness. It’s also bright. Honestly, one of my favorite things to eat and I would recommend that you try it too at home. Have the summer of your life grilling indoors, no matter what season it is.

And don’t be scared to grill it in your house. It’s totally possible. We just did it. I’m having so many restaurant flashbacks. Being like, “Will anyone just bring me a glass of water at some point?” I don’t know.

Is that too much to ask of a child learning how to– Ooh!

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