Jerk cooking was developed by African slaves that escaped when the British took over Jamaica in the mid-to-late-1600s. They used what was available to them in the deep jungles, cooking meat slowly over a smoking fire.
- 1 whole chicken, split into two halves
- 8 cups chicken brine*
- .5 cup jerk marinade**
- 2 cups jerk barbecue sauce***
- Oil, for oiling grill grates
- Latex or vinyl gloves
- Place the chicken in a large bowl or baking dish and pour the brine over it, making sure the chicken is fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Rinse the chicken well. Wearing latex or vinyl gloves (Scotch bonnet chiles can remain on the skin for 24 hours!), rub the jerk marinade all over the chicken.
- Place in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Preheat a grill for cooking over indirect medium heat. Lightly oil the grill grates, then place the chicken skin-side down over indirect heat.
- Grill, uncovered, turning the chicken every 5 to 6 minutes until the juices run clear when the thighs are pricked with a fork, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to distribute equally.
- Cut the chicken into quarters, separating the leg portions from the breast portions, and serve with jerk barbecue sauce.
- .5 cup kosher salt
- .25 cup light brown sugar
- Stir the salt and light brown sugar into 8 cups water in a pot and bring to a simmer, stirring to ensure that the salt and sugar completely dissolve.
- Let cool to 38 degrees Fahrenheit before using.
- .5 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more as needed
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 20 whole allspice berries
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems and stems discarded
- 2 bunches green onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 Scotch bonnet chiles
- 1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- Put the soy sauce, oil, salt, allspice, thyme, green onions, garlic, chiles, ginger, and onion in a food processor and puree until a smooth paste is formed, adding more oil if necessary. Set aside.
Jerk Barbecue Sauce
- .5 cup tomato paste
- .5 cup jerk marinade
- .25 cup molasses
- .25 cup white vinegar
- 1/8 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp dry mustard powder
- 2 tsp tamarind puree
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- .5 tsp ground black pepper
- .5 tsp liquid smoke
- .5 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Juice of 1 lime
- In a nonreactive heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the tomato paste and 2 cups water and heat slowly, stirring, until well incorporated.
- Add in the Jerk Marinade, molasses, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard powder, tamarind, celery salt, cumin, pepper, liquid smoke, thyme, and lime juice.
- Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened and reached the desired consistency.
- Remove from the heat and let cool.