A bit of a bold statement and I’m sure my Jamaican friends are scratching their heads pondering why this “Trini” making such bold claims. One taste of this succulent jerk chicken after it comes out of the oven and you’ll know why it’s an “Ultimate” dish. Following on the other “Ultimate” recipes I’ve shared in the past, this one will not disappoint (search “Ultimate” on the right side of the page to see the other recipes in this category).
Yes, traditional jerk is made on the grill with pimento wood as it’s base of flavor and while you can’t duplicate this in the oven, this one is very convenient for people who don’t have a grill or live in northern climates and have to deal with bitter cold winters. Personally a little snow and minus degree temperatures can’t keep me away from my grill, but lately I’ve found that I don’t brave the outdoors as much as I used to in the winter.
NOTE: For the marinade for this you’ll need to refer to: A Classic Jamaican Jerk Marinade.
6 chicken legs (with back attached) about 4-5 lbs
1 lemon or lime (or 1/4 cup vinegar)
1 cup Jerk Marinade
Tip: Line your baking dish with aluminum foil to make the clean-up after easier.
Trim off the excess skin and fat off the chicken (but leave most of the skin – you can remove it later before eating), then pour the lime or lemon juice (or vinegar) over the trimmed chicken. Then rinse off with cool water and drain. Now take a pairing knife or fork and pierce the chicken pieces. This will allow the marinade to penetrate the meat and really “juice” it up. Now you’re set for marinating the chicken. In a zip lock bag or bowl with a lid, pour the jerk marinade and mix everything well. Now seal and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. I used a large baking dish, which I sealed with plastic wrap. This way when I’m ready, it can go directly into the oven.
After 2 hours take it out of the fridge and pour everything (including all the marinade) into a baking dish and let it come up to room temperature while you oven heats up. I had mine marinating in the baking dish already, so I was good to go.
Preheat your oven at 375 degrees.
Place the baking dish with the chicken on the middle rack and allow this to cook for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. The chicken should be cooked after that, so if you want to add some rich colour to the finished dish, you may need to turn on your broiler for a few minutes.
If you want you can place some aluminum foil over the dish the first 30 minutes of cooking, but I find that leaving it exposed (open) works great. While this cooks in the oven your home will be blanketed with the lovely scent of rich Caribbean spices and herbs and you’ll be counting down the minutes until you can devour a succulent piece of the Ultimate Oven Jerk Chicken. Here I have it served with some rice and creamy coleslaw. BTW, the sort of sweet and creamy flavours of the coleslaw complements this jerk chicken wonderfully.
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