As I stated in my previous post, work has been keeping me pretty busy the last few weeks. Not only am I working 6 to 7 days a week, but I am also working 10-12 hours each day. That has left precious little time to do much serious cooking, though I have occasionally found the time. Where it really hurts is when it comes to grilling. My grills (1 gas, 1 charcoal and a smoker) have all remained more idle, for the past few weeks, than I like. Summer usually finds me grilling out at least a few times a week, if not more often, unfortunately that hasn’t been the case during July.

What I missed in quantity though, I’ve tried to make up in quality. This past weekend I pulled out one of my old Jerk Chicken recipes. I don’t make it often as my wife is not a big fan of really spicy foods, and for me, personally, there is no sense in making Jerk Chicken unless it is “melt your face off” hot! But, I was jonesing for a Jerk fix and seeing as I hadn’t been doing much grilling, I wanted to do something fun and beyond the norm.

While I like my Jerk extremely spicy, this recipe can easily be made without the chile peppers and it still yields a fantastically flavorful dish, so you have no excuse not to try this recipe.

Normally, I am a breast and wing man when it comes to chicken, but occasionally I prefer leg and thigh quarters. This is one of those recipes. While it works well for any piece of bone in chicken, I find leg and thigh quarters do best in this preparation.

For those not familiar with scotch bonnet peppers, they are very similar to habaneros. Like habaneros, they are extremely hot, and if you have sensitive skin you might want to wear gloves. Also do yourself a big favor, especially if you don’t use gloves when handling these things; please wash your hands numerous times before you consider going to the bathroom. I have seen numerous cooks, both male and female, fall prey to extreme burning of the nether regions because they didn’t take enough precautions. You have been warned!!!! For most people 1 scotch bonnet or habanero will provide enough heat. If you are a true chile head then consider leaving the seeds and ribs intact (this is where most of the heat is concentrated) or even using 2 peppers. If you like heat, but are still rather wimpy then consider substituting the scotch bonnet with 3-4 serrano peppers. If you are still at a loss as to how hot a scotch bonnet is, let me explain it in scientific terms. A jalapeno (which most people are familiar with) averages around 5,00-7,000 scoville units (the units used to measure the heat of a chile). A scotch bonnet can average 250,000-300,000 scoville units. Choose wisely.

Jerk Chicken

2 cloves garlic
1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 orange, juiced
1 lime, juiced
4 green onions
1-2 scotch bonnets, seeds removed (or substitute-see above), or more
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1/2 Tbsp. whole allspice
8 each whole cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

6 chicken leg and thigh quarters

Place all ingredients, except chicken and salt, in a blender and blend until smooth. Place chicken into a 1 gallon zip lock bag and pour puree over. Seal bag, removing as much air as possible and knead to evenly distribute puree over the chicken. Place in the fridge and allow to marinate overnight.

The following day, set up a charcoal grill for indirect grilling,with coals under only half the grate. When charcoal is ready remove the chicken from the bag, but do not wipe off excess puree. Place on grill directly over the coals.

Cook, turning frequently, to avoid burning, until the skin is brown and crispy. Remove chicken to other side of the grill (without the charcoal), cover and cook until -chicken is cooked all the way through, 165°F, about 20-25 minutes longer. Remove from grill, allow to rest for 5 minutes then serve with plenty of ice cold beer.