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Grilled Jerk Chicken

Serves 4


1 small onion, cut into large chunks
2 scallions, quartered
1 Scotch bonnet or Habanero chili pepper, seeded and roughly chopped*
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon Asian five-spice powder
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ cup soy sauce
½ tablespoon vegetable oil
2½ - 3 pounds bone-in, skin on chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks and breasts)**

1. Make the marinade: In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients except chicken. Process until vegetables are finely pureed and mixture is relatively smooth (texture will be slightly gritty). Place chicken pieces and marinade in a large Ziploc bag; squeeze air out and seal tightly. Mash the chicken around to coat evenly with marinade. Place bag in a bowl (in case of leakage) and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight. Allow chicken to come to room temperature before grilling.
2. Preheat grill to medium-high. Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, carefully rub over grates several times until glossy and coated. Place chicken on grill skin side down, making sure it is well coated with marinade for maximum flavor (discard any leftover marinade). Cover and cook, turning occasionally, until skin is browned and crisp but not charred, about 10 minutes.  Turn chicken pieces skin side up and either turn heat down to medium-low or move chicken to a cooler part of the grill. Continue cooking, covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes more. Serve immediately.

*Be extremely careful when working with Scotch Bonnet or Habanero peppers. They are extremely hot and if you touch your eyes, it will be very painful. Wear disposable gloves or be sure to wash your hands well when you’re done. You can use more or less peppers depending on how fiery you like your chicken.

**I recommend using bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks for this recipe, mostly because the flavor is better but also because they are much easier to cook on the grill. Bone-in chicken breasts can be tricky; if you want to use them, look for smaller ones so they won't burn on the outside before the inside is fully cooked. Or you can start them on the grill and finish them in the oven.