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Jamaican Jerk BBQ chicken

To be honest, I had never tasted Jerk Chicken until a few weeks ago when I was staying with my daughter in South East London and they took me to a Friday Evening “Foodie” Market in Lewisham where it seemed all of London congregated to try a bouquet of street food and listen to some great music.

I toured the market and was blown away from the array of fusion food available from dim sum to cupcakes. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the longest queue of the night and headed towards it. I found the aromas of Jerk Chicken mixing with the music of Bob Marley and the 20-minute wait was worth it as the hot sticky flavoursome chicken was washed down with a cold tin of Red Stripe beer.

Following my discussion with the bubbly chef Fatima, who was rightly proud of her cooking and was not going to tell her secret recipe, I decided it had to be done. So here is my very simple version of this great Jamaican dish for all you “Buffalo Soldiers” out there …

Ingredients (up to 4 people)
▪ 5 spring whole onions, roots cut off
▪ 3 garlic cloves, peeled
▪ 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
▪ 1 chilli including seeds
▪ ½ tablespoon of cinnamon
▪ ½ tablespoon of pepper corns (black)
▪ ½ tablespoon of coriander seeds
▪ ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
▪ 2 bay leaves
▪ Leaves of 3 sprigs of thyme
▪ 100ml good olive oil
▪ Juice of ½ lemon
▪ Salt
▪ 1.5kg chicken pieces

1. To make the paste, place all ingredients except chicken into a food processor (or mortar) and process into a paste.
2. Brush paste over chicken.
3. Marinate the chicken overnight for a better result, otherwise cook straight away.
4. Place the chicken onto the preheated barbecue (medium heat). Close with the hood and cook for 30-40 minutes, turning twice.
5. The chicken is cooked when it reaches 75 degrees (check the thickest part of breast or the thighs), or check it by poking a knife tip into the thickest part:

# if cloudy pinkish juice oozes out, it is undercooked
# If clear juice quickly oozes out, it is just about to be ready
# If juices starts to ooze out slowly the chicken is perfectly cooked
# If no juice comes out it is overcooked

Any left-over paste bring to the boil to kill harmful food bacteria. To do it you place the tray with the juices onto the BBQ, bring to the boil and pour over the chicken just before serving.

By Chris Winstanley
Article supplied by Chris Winstanley from Moveison outdoor living store near Lagos