Jerk Chicken on Gas Grill

April 20, 2015

While visiting my brother in Las Vegas, I had some doubts about making Jerk Chicken on a Gas Grill. Yet, the chicken itself ended up well seasoned and delicious. The 24 hour marinade permeated deep into the chicken, and also left a dark flavorful crust. Overall, the recipe was a success. The main drawback about making this on the gas grill, was that I was not able to get proper aroma and smoke flavors coming from the spice-filled smoking packet. When I put the smoking packet on the grill grate above the burner, the packet didn’t become hot enough to generate much smoke. Then when I placed it directly on the burner element, the wood chips simply caught fire. You should make this recipe even if you only have a gas grill, but still this charcoal grill version is better.

Delicious and no need for sauce

Delicious and no need for sauce

Before Chris Kimball made this recipe, I tried to make Jerk Chicken on my own, but it came out just so-so. Chris Kimball’s only previous Jerk Recipe because used 1/4-cup of brown sugar, which seems absurd to me.

Comments:

  1. My past recommendation was to cut the 3 habaneros (including about 20% of seeds) down to just 2 habaneros chiles. Today, because my audience included kids, I used 3 jalapenos again including about 20% of seeds. It was tame
  2. Be sure to marinate the chicken for a full 24-hours, otherwise your flavor will not permeate into the meat of your chicken.
  3. If you don’t properly clean and season the grill in step 6 then the skin will stick to the grill.
  4. I used 5-lbs of thighs and allow the chicken to marinate for 24 hours. I still had a little room to throw in two boneless breasts for the last couple of hours to marinating; a back-up plan for any spice-o-phobe.
  5. If you go to Jamaica, the only thing better than Jerk Chicken is Jerk Pork.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $9.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 4:30 PM. Ready at 6:00 PM. (of course I started marinating the day before)

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here.  My descriptions of how I prepare it today are given below:

Jerk Marinade:
1-1/2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
2 Habanero chiles (or 3 Jalapenos)
8 scallions
6 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest (2 to 3 limes)
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2-1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5-lbs bone-in chicken pieces (split breasts cut in half, drumsticks, and/or thighs)

Smoking Packet:
2 tablespoons whole allspice berries
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons water
1 cup wood chips

  1. Coarsely grind the whole coriander seeds, the allspice berries and whole peppercorns in a spice grinder. Add freshly ground spices to blender.
  2. Discard the stem from the chiles. Remove and reserve the ribs and seeds, then cut into quarters. Add to blender. Roughly chop scallions and garlic and add to blender. Add all the remaining ingredients (except the chicken) to the blender and process until a smooth paste forms. Empty the paste into a gallon-sized Zip-Lock bag.
  3. Trim the chicken to remove any excess fat (or ribs) and cut the breasts is half cross-wise. Add the chicken to the marinade and remove as much air as possible from the zip-lock bag. Allow to sit a room temperature for 30 minutes; flipping the bag over after 15 minutes. Refrigerate for 24-hours.
  4. Combine the spices for the smoke packet with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl, and allow to hydrate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, soak 1 cup of wood chips separately. When completely soaked, wrap the soaked chips and moistened spice mixture in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Use a paring knife to cut five or six vent holes in top of the packet.
  5. Set the wood chip packet over the primary burner and turn all burners onto highest setting. Close cover, and pre-heat grill for 15 to 25 minutes until the wood chips begin to smoke. Reduce primary burner to medium and turn off other burners.
  6. Use tongs and paper towels to season the grill grate with vegetable oil (otherwise the skin will stick to the grill).
  7. Leave some marinade on the chicken, and put chicken skin-side-up as far away from the heat as possible. Arrange so that the dark meat is closest to the heat, and the white meat is further. Cover grill and cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Flip chicken skin-side-down as you move the chicken directly over the primary burner. Cook for until well browned. Flip the chicken again skin-side-up and continue cooking directly over primary burner until the chicken reaches the correct temperature; 160 degrees for breasts and 175 degrees for thighs/drumsticks.
  9. Move to a serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Slice limes for serving.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

October 29, 2014

A couple of years ago Chris Kimball came up with a variation on the classic Toll-house chocolate chip cookies. He called them “Perfect”. I first made them in 2010, and while I loved them I hardly considered them perfect. In the ensuing years, I’ve adjusted the recipe to my family’s desire for a classic chocolate chip cookie, backing away from some of Chris Kimball’s changes. For example, I’ve stopped browning the butter. The resulting nuttiness made the cookies taste delicious, but made them into something other than a classic chocolate chip cookie. I still melt the butter, because it makes the dough so easy to mix.

I added back 1/3-cup flour for thicker cookies (on the left)

I added back 1/3-to-1/2-cup flour for thicker cookies (on the left)

The other major change, I added back an extra 1/3 to 1/2-cup of flour. The original Toll House recipe calls for 2-1/4 cups flour. Chris Kimball’s original idea was to make larger, thinner cookies. See the photos for the side-by-side difference. While to cookies were fine on the first day, the flatter cookies get stale faster. Much to my children’s chagrin, I don’t let them eat them all in one day.

Comments:

  1. The recipe calls for 10-oz of chocolate chips, they are always sold in 12-oz bags. You can either save the 1/4-cup of chocolate chips (which will never go to waste) or add them to the cookies. My kids have NEVER complained, “Dad, these cookies have too many chocolate chips”.
  2. Chris Kimball’s original recipe called for 1-3/4 cups flour, in case you wanted to give it a try. All the other ingredients listed below are unchanged.
  3. For High-Altitude the cookies may spread too much in the oven. Chris Kimball says to use less sugar, increase oven temperature and decrease baking time.
  4. If you think that the cookies are too dry, Chris Kimball recommends adding an extra egg yolk.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $3.50 for 16 large cookies.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Small/Medium.
Start time 2:00 PM. Snack time 3:00 PM.

The Cook’s Illustrated original recipe is here.  The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10-ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1-3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3-1/2 ounces)
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5-1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1-1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (10-ounces)

  1. Set a rack to middle of your oven and pre-heat oven 375-degrees. Cut parchment to match the size of two 18″x12″ baking sheets.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking soda, whisk briefly and set aside.
  3. Set 10″ skillet over medium-high burner and melt 10 tablespoons of butter (leaving 4 tablespoons butter) for about 2 minutes. If desired, continue cooking and swirling skillet constantly for between 1 to 3 minutes until the butter becomes dark golden brown and smells nutty. Remove from burner and empty into a large heatproof bowl, adding 4 more tablespoons of butter into hot butter and stir until completely melted.
  4. Add granulated and brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons vanilla to the bowl with the melted butter. Whisk until it becomes fully incorporated. Add 1 egg and extra yolk; whisk for about 30 seconds until it becomes smooth and there are no lumps of sugar. Allow to sit for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the resting and whisking process 2 more times until mixture becomes thick, smooth, and shiny.
  5. Stir in flour mixture with a stiff rubber spatula or wooden spoon for 1 minute, until it just combines. Stir in chocolate chips until evenly distributed and ensuring that no flour pockets remain.
  6. Divide dough into 16 portions, each portion is about 3 tablespoons (or you can use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2″ apart on parchment-lined baking sheets (you will have 8 dough balls per sheet unless you are using smaller baking sheets, which will require 3 batches).
  7. Bake them 1 tray at a time for between 10 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet 180-degrees half way through cooking. The cookies will be done when they become golden brown; the edges will begin to set but the centers will still be soft.
  8. Allow cookies to cook on a wire rack. Chris Kimball says to allow the to cool completely before serving (lol. Like that’s going to happen)
While thicker and softer, the same weight looks smaller

While thicker and softer, the same weight looks smaller


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