My Jerk Chicken Jones was Jonesing me earlier this week and I was home alone for a few days, so it seemed like the perfect time to experiment.
First, I checked my available ingredients ...
From the garden I was able to gather a handful of possible ingredients.
Please do not picture a Southern Living magazine type garden when I use that term here at PFHQ.
It's more like some hippie permaculture experiment crossed with bubbaquaponics.
It's messy out there.
But things grow ... sorta.
I checked the basic Jerk procedure found in one of my favorite MAN cookbooks, "How To Grill", by Steven Raichlen.
I had most of what I needed, but there would have to be a few substitutions.
This is life.
Above, from left to right:
Into the food processor went the fresh stuff listed previously, plus a long list of other ingredients in Steven Raichlen's recipe.
The original recipe called for Habenero peppers of course, but this is the land of the datil and I have a blue million of them out in the pepper patch right now.
The chicken was "jooked" with holes to allow marinade to enter, and then marinated in the fridge for the afternoon.
This is not slow, off the heat southern BBQ cooking.
This is grilling on hot coals.
The marinade is a green goo loaded with all the flavors of those fresh herbs plus the off the shelf seasonings from the kitchen pantry.
I savoried up the smoke by tossing some water soaked Allspice berries and leftover fresh herb stems on the hot coals.
Bless this chicken, may he rest in pieces.
It's important to let a piece of meat, hot off the grill, rest a bit before you dig into it.
An easily removable wing says, "I'm ready!"
I'm glad he was ready, because I know I was.
No French fries, no baked potato loaded with butter and sour cream, no macaroni and cheese ... no high fat and high calorie starchy stuff.
Green carbs and lean protein
(You can skip the following rant by scrolling down to the part where I talk about how the Datil Jerk Chicken actually tasted).
DANGER RANTING ZONE!
Did you see the report a week or so ago about how the USA is in the top ten list of fattest countries on the planet?
And, the south is the fattest part of the 9th fattest country on the planet?
Just ballparking the figures here, but about 30% of southerners are obese... not a few pounds overweight, but obese.
We do love our fried foods down here.
And sweet tea (which is essentially a flat soda as far as sugar goes)
Toss in a restaurant industry that seems hellbent on creating the cheapest, unhealthiest kitchen creations possible, mix in our bacon greased, pan fried southern traditions, wash it all down with sweet tea and soda ... and you've got the perfect recipe for a culture of obesity,diabetes, and heart disease.
Oh, and don't forget to be almost completely sedentary ... why, that's the icing on the cake.
(Cake, did someone mention cake?)
Man, I love cake... just not every night.
Statistics like those in the Fat State List sadden me, because I work with kids and I see the situation getting worse, not better.
It's frustrating ... which, I guess, is why I interrupted this food post with a mini-rant.
Let us get back to the healthy and inexpensive meal above ...
END RANT ZONE
RESUME NORMAL EATING HABITS
So, how was the Datil Jerk Chicken?
How would I improve it?
Up the datils!
I cautiously used 4 or 5. I think I would up it to about ten for a fiery hot JERK.
(... or maybe, just use them whole without seeding them)
I would also plan ahead so it could marinate longer and allow the Jerk marinade to infiltrate the interior more thoroughly.
Otherwise, I wouldn't change a thing.