Couple weeks back when we were on vacation in Trinidad we took the drive “down south” (San Fernando, the second largest city in Trinidad and Tobago) to enjoy some BBQ. Last February when we went down for Carnival I had mentioned to my sister that I felt like eating some good island BBQ so she took us down to Cipero in San Fernando to eat at a BBQ joint run by some Muslims. I’ve now been there 2 times and I’m still to remember the name… the food is so good you tend to blank everything else out!
This BBQ recipe for chicken is not like the one we enjoyed while we were there, however it’s very tasty as it’s infused with many of the typical seasonings we use when cooking meat on the islands. BTW, if you know the BBQ joint I’m speaking about, do leave me a comment below so I can tell others the name.
* You have 2 options when making this BBQ chicken. You can precook it as I’ve done, or you can let it marinate for a couple hours (be sure to make some cuts in the thickest part of the chicken) and grill directly on a medium heat grill. I would even recommend that you grill it a bit on indirect heat to avoid flare-ups. Remember if you don’t precook the chicken it will take much longer to cook on the grill.
Note: If you’re feeding the average Trinbagonian BBQ chicken (any BBQ meat) it’s important to note that we don’t want to see any “red” or “pink”. It’s an immediate turn-off and we probably won’t eat it. However over the years I’ve learned to appreciate a medium done steak.. still trying to convince my dad that it’s good tasting like that.
7 chicken legs with back attached. (or about 3-5 lbs chicken pieces)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon thyme
1 scallion chopped
2-3 tablespoon shado beni (or chopped cilantro)
1-2 leaves of Spanish thyme minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes (or fresh sliced scotch bonnet/habanero pepper)
dash of black pepper
1 table spoon ketchup
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 pimento pepper
1 medium onion rough chopped
1 tomato diced
2 cloves galic.
* You’ll need about 1 cup of your favourite BBQ sauce.
Note: I didn’t have the items in “bold” above, so I used a tablespoon of the prepared green seasoning paste I have handy in my fridge. it’s made up of basically the same thing.
Start by trimming off any excess fat or skin from the chicken and wash with the juice of the lime (or lemon) and water (drain). Then place in a fairly large pot and toss in all the ingredients mentioned above. On medium to low heat, cover and allow to simmer (gentle) for about 30 minutes. Please ensure it’s a very low simmer as we don’t want to over-boil the chicken pieces. Stir every 10 minutes or so.
You will notice that there will be a lot of liquid formed during simmering. Remove the chicken pieces (dump out the remainign liquid from the pot) and get the grill ready for the final step (the chicken will not look all at that appealing at this point). Try to get the BBQ at about 300 degrees and start grilling the chicken. Since the chicken is already cooked, this point is just to get the meat firm, add some colour and flavour from the BBQ sauce.
In the pic above you’ll notice that I have the pan with my BBQ sauce and brush sitting on the BBQ. This allows the sauce to heat up so I don’t brush cold sauce onto the chicken pieces. Within 10-15 minutes your chicken will be ready. Just remember to flip a few times and brush with BBQ sauce to give it all that wonderful sticky BBQ goodness.
Back to that BBQ joint on Cipero Street in San Fernando… I would recommend that you stick with the chicken (comes with fries and salad) as I’ve found that the beef and lamb is very tough. And do be careful with the hot sauce that’s provided. If you can’t tolerate much heat, don’t try to follow the locals and pour in a ton of hot sauce. You’re just asking for pain then And do try the sort of garlic mayo they have as well.