This jerk chicken is no jerk 😂
For those of you who follow our blog, you know that grilling season for me is 365 days a year. No doubt that summer grilling is more pleasant because there’s a whole experience that surrounds it. I can hang out in the backyard, wearing shorts (well, I do that anyway, but in the summer the neighbours don’t look at me strangely), with a cold beverage in one hand and barbecue tongs in the other. But the snow and cold weather doesn’t stop me. I still barbecue a lot in the winter.
While I’m a brave winter grilling warrior, I’m starting to dream of summer again. Until it returns, I’ll have to settle for meals that make me think of warmer days. This jerk chicken is a perfect example.
The spices that make it jerk
A jerk spice is a combination of many spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, and more, but the one that stands out the most for me, personally, is the allspice. It gives it a very characteristic flavour that i’ve tasted before in other jerk dishes. We actually used an identical mix of spices for our own naked jerk chicken wings.
How to prevent grilling flare-ups
Chicken is greasy and often creates flare-ups that end up burning the chicken skin before the chicken is completely cooked. Don’t get me wrong, I love some char on chicken, amongst other grilled foods, but I don’t want it to get burned to a crisp.
The trick is to cook the chicken on indirect heat. Depending on how many burners you have, leave one to two burners on the lowest setting and crank up the other burners.
Close the lid and bring the BBQ up to between 400 ºF and 425 ºF. Once the grill is hot, oil the grill to prevent the chicken skin from sticking to the grates. To do this, I hold scrunched up paper towel with tongs, dab them in some vegetable oil and then brush the grates with the oiled paper towels.
Place the chicken on the side with low heat, skin side up and close the BBQ lid. Let the chicken cook for about 30 minutes, then turn the chicken over, skin side down. Let the chicken cook for another 20 to 30 minutes (lid closed). Make sure to always check the chicken’s internal temperature using a meat thermometer. You should aim for 165 ºF.
Every BBQ is a little different, so check on the chicken periodically
During the last 20 minutes, check on the chicken periodically to make sure it’s not too hot or getting too crispy. Also, if you feel like the skin isn’t crispy enough, turn up the heat on the burners under the chicken, for a bit. Every barbecue will perform a little differently, so keep an eye on the chicken.
Summer scents in the thick of winter
Even for us Canadians, winters can be tough. Sure, lots of people make the most of this time, participating in winter sports, like skating, or skiing, but with the cold and snow, and reduced hours of daylight, people stay indoors more. A little bit of winter grilling can ignite memories of summer gatherings with friends, feeling the warm sun on our skin, and smelling the variety of goodies that you and your neighbours are grilling up. Mmm…I just love the smell of grilled foods.
Since I don’t participate much in any athletic types of outdoor winter activities, I’ll have to consider grilling to be my winter sport! 😂 Bundle up, get outside, ski if you want, but also crank up the barbecue, and make today yummy!
- 2 chickens 3.2 lb or 1.45 kg each
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper or less if you prefer it less spicy
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 2 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- Remove the chicken spines using a sharp knife or kitchen shears.
- Place the chickens on a flat surface opened up, cut side down and press to flatten both chickens.
- In a medium bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients.
- Place a flattened chicken on a large baking sheet.
- Use half the jerk spice mix to slather one of the chickens completely on all sides. Set aside.
- Repeat the last step with the second chicken and remaining jerk spice.
- Place both chickens in a container, cover and place the container in the fridge for at least 4 hours or over night.
- Turn on the grill and heat it to between 400 ºF and 425 ºF.
- Once the grill is hot, lower 1 to 2 of the burners to a low temperature. Leave the other on high.
- Place the chickens, skin side up on the grates over the low burners.
- Close the lid and cook for about 30 minutes. Check periodically for flair-ups.
- After 30 minutes, turn the chickens over onto the skin side.
- Cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until you read 165 ºF using a meat thermometer.
- Place the chickens on a large dish and cover with foil for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Cut the chickens into quarters and serve with your favourite side dishes.