Have I mentioned I LOVE grilling season! Honestly, I could grill every day if I didn’t live where more than half the year it is either freezing or raining. Yes, I could still drag the grill out. It’s just not as fun to stand outside shivering and wet while cooking.
One of my favorite seasoning blends for grilling is jerk seasoning. It is perfect for chicken and pork. You can order Changing Seasonings Island Spice from the online market page, or make your own using the recipe below. Jerk is spicy with the unique flavor of Allspice. I typically grill fruit such as pineapple or peaches with the meat, and then serve over brown rice or quinoa.
Allspice comes from tropical Central America and West Indies. Like Cloves, Allspice has a very unique, pungent flavor. It is used in cooking all around the world from the Caribbean to Europe to the Middle East. It compliments meats, vegetables (especially squash and root vegetables, and fruits). It is even used in baking cakes, pies and other deserts.
If you have read other posts, you know that I actually prefer chicken thighs. They are more juicy and flavorful. It just happens that I had breasts to use when I wrote this. Tenders or even drumsticks would work well too. Use your favorite.
Combine the ingredients to make a marinade. Meat doesn’t have to marinate very long, 1 – 4 hours is plenty. In fact, many cuts of meat will actually lose texture and become grainy if left in the marinade too long. Do not use the excess marinade to baste the meat unless it will be cooked fully. Reserve some of the marinade before putting the raw meat in it for that purpose, just to be safe.
This marinade is great for pork and shrimp too. Season with additional jerk seasoning and garnish with grilled fruit before serving.
Caribbean Jerk Chicken
3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, halved (or your favorite chicken pieces)
1 Medium Lemon, juiced + 2 T zest
1 Lime, juiced + 1 T zest
3 T Olive Oil
1/2 C Coconut Rum (optional – plain light Rum or Tequila could also be used)
2 T Shallot, minced (about 1/2 large shallot)
2 large Cloves Garlic, minced
2 T Jerk Spice mixture*
Mix the lemon juice (about 3 T), lime juice (about 2 T), zest and olive oil. Add the jerk spice, minced shallot and garlic. Whisk in the rum. Pour over the chicken and refrigerate for at least an hour.
*Jerk Spice Mix
1 T dried minced garlic
3 t cayenne pepper
2 t onion flakes
2 t dried thyme
2 t dried parsley
2 t dark brown sugar
2 t kosher salt
1 t paprika
1 t ground allspice
1 t coarse ground peppercorns
1/2 t dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cinnamon
Mix the ingredients and store in an air tight container away from heat and light for 6 months.
- 3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, halved
- 1 Medium Lemon, juiced + 2 T zest
- 1 Lime, juiced + 1 T zest
- 3 T Olive Oil
- ½ C Coconut Rum (plain light Rum or Tequila could also be used)
- 2 T Shallot, minced (about ½ large shallot)
- 2 large Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 T Jerk Spice mixture*
- Mix the lemon juice (about 3 T), lime juice (about 2 T), zest and olive oil.
- Add the jerk spice, minced shallot and garlic.
- Whisk in the rum.
- Pour over the chicken and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Grill chicken until required doneness.