Monday, May 27, 2013

Cool Jerk Chicken

Burnin', burnin', burnin'.
Argh! It's Memorial Day and it's raining! I've been mourning the disappearance of my trusty Weber kettle all winter . It went back under the tarp on our deck and I haven't seen it for months. It's a sad, sad day, but I know there are plenty of grilling opportunities coming in the summer months ahead.

Summer grilling is one of my favorite activities. It's one of the few chances we dads and husbands get to impress and amaze our doubting spouses and picky progeny. We get to don our "Kiss the Cook" aprons, dust off our super-secret marinade recipes and do some BBQ ballet.

I've always grilled on a Weber kettle. My dad taught me how to use one and I've adopted the same techniques--make that rituals--that he always employed while manning the grill. For example, there's only one RIGHT way to get the fire going. Liquid charcoal lighter is a SACRILEGE. Meat should only be handled with TONGS when it's on the grill. BBQ forks are FORBIDDEN. Nothing should EVER go on the grill until the coals are ALL glowing red hot. Meat should only be turned over ONCE. No woman may EVER touch the Weber (like that one ever goes over well in my house). The grillmaster must mark his territory by belching loudly while holding a beer in his hand during the entire grilling process.

Yeah, I've mastered all of those techniques, and one of my favorite recipes is Jerk Chicken. This one is great because the sweet and spicy marinade is the rockstar of all marinades, in my opinion. Of course, this recipe includes beer as an ingredient. You can use anything, but a light lager works best. Anyway, enough of my blabberin'. Here's the recipe:

8 to 10 boneless chicken breasts
5 to 6 Habanero Chiles (use less peppers if you can't handle the heat)
1 large Maui onion
8 - 10 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp fresh thyme
2 Tbsp fresh marjoram
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp of brown sugar
2 Tbsp molasses
1 can frozen orange juice concentrate
Juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup of soy sauce
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup of your favorite beer
All ingredients go into a blender (except the chicken). Blend at high speed until it's a smooth, lumpless sauce. Set a 1/2 cup of the sauce aside, in a jar or sealed bowl, and refrigerate. Pour equal amounts of the liquid into 2 one gallon size Ziploc bags, add the chicken breasts, seal the bags, and massage to make sure every piece of chicken has a nice, thick coating. Refrigerate OVERNIGHT. When you are ready to grill the next day, pour the set-aside sauce into a small sauce pan, add 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, and bring to a boil. Cook until it is reduced to a thicker consistency. Remove from heat and let it cool. You're going to use this sauce as a brush-on marinade when you're grilling. I grill on a Weber kettle. I use Mesquite charcoal and no smokey wood chips for this recipe. Grill until done, basting occasionally. WARNING: If you haven't cooked with Habaneros before, you need to know that they are extremely hot. I don't use gloves when I handle them, but I'm used to the burn. DO NOT rub your eyes or other sensitive areas, even AFTER washing your hands well. Trust me, you'll be sorry if you do. Don't scrimp on the thyme and the ginger. The fresh thyme and ginger make ALL the difference. Trust me on that, too.

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