Sunday, May 18, 2014

Jerk Chicken - My First Attempt

So last week we were away celebrating my parents anniversary.  We had a condo for 3 days, and our condo had a grill.  One night, I grilled chicken that I marinated in Lawry's Jamaican Jerk Marinade.  I've had Jerk chicken and Jerk pork a few times and I always like it.  Last weekend was no exception.

As I was planning meals for the upcoming week, I decided to try Jerk Chicken, but I wanted to make my own marinade, rather than a store bought marinade.  I also wanted to cook it on my GMG Pellet Cooker using my new Grill Grates.  With all this in mind, I set about finding a Jerk Chicken marinade recipe, and I found one at allrecipes.  Here is the recipe I started from.

Reading this, and reading the reviews, I decided four things, 1) There is too much soy sauce in this recipe, 2) There needs to be citrus in this recipe, 3) I don't think I need green onions and 4) Where's the garlic?  That must be added.  Here is what I ended up doing for the marinade:

1 Onion - chopped
1 Jalapeno - seeded and chopped
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup White Vinegar
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
2 TBSP Brown Sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp dried chives
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 Chicken Breast Halves

Note:  I had a lot of dried spices, so that's what I went with.

1 - Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 15 seconds.
2 - Pour over chicken breasts and marinate for at least 4 hours. (I did 7 hours)
3 - Preheat Grill to medium heat.  Grill for 15-30 minutes until done.

Ok, here is something I always do with chicken breasts that I think is a must.  I pound them to a uniform thickness, generally 1/2 inch thick.  This promotes even cooking, and tenderizes the meat.  I also usually cut each breast in half to give a more manageable portion size.

To cook these, I preheated my GMG to 300 degrees with the grill grates in place.  Reading about the grill grates, I thought they would get hot, but it was obvious 300 degrees was not enough.  So I kicked the grill up to 400 degrees to finish cooking.  I didn't get the sear marks that I wanted so I will need to experiment with the grill grates to see how hot I need to grill to get good sear marks.

These chicken breast turned out really well.  The flavor was not spicy, so probably not a true Jerk flavor, but it ends up being a very complex flavor.  The lime juice comes through and the soy sauce isn't overpowering, so I consider that a win.  Also, the combination of the marinade and the wonderful cooking of the GMG Daniel Boone Pellet Cooker created a very moist chicken breast.  If I were serving this for people who like heat, I would add a 2nd jalapeno, or even consider a Habanero.  My wife is not a fan of spicy, so this was perfect for her.  She really liked it.

I am calling this recipe a winner and looking forward to making it again.  I served it with rice pilaf
and sliced apples for the kids.

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