Pulled Jerk Chicken

25 Jun

Admittedly, jerk is one of my favorite words. Not jerk in culinary terms, but the derogatory jerk. In a world where it would be acceptable to wear the same t-shirt everyday, I want to wear one that proclaims: Don’t be a Jerk.

That said, I realize a t-shirt will not create a difference in the jerk agenda, but the smug grin that I could pair it with, just might be priceless. Like say, you are wearing your blue tooth in the grocery store and having a conversation so loud that everyone from produce to bakery can hear all about how you just put fancy hubcaps on your sweet ride? I would purposefully walk right in front of you, just so you could see my t-shirt. If you were standing behind me in line, I would stand in that line backwards, facing you.

OK, I digress. Point is: don’t be a jerk, unless you are the pulled chicken sandwich variety.

Pulled Jerk Chicken can do no wrong in my book. Sweet, savory, spicy goodness. Chicken so flavorful and tender that it can easily stand up against the beloved BBQ pulled pork that so many people adore. The pork version full of saturated fat from the pork and sugar from the sauce is a treat, for sure. Why not get the same satisfaction without gambling with heart disease?

You can eat this as a sandwich, a lettuce cup,  maybe as a taco, or as a salad on top of some really cool, hearty greens. Meat is so tender and flavorful, you won’t even need a dressing.

Why you should eat this? 

Its summer, you’re probably hot. This can be made late at night, when the house has cooled down, your catching up on TV. You can then heat it up the next day  and it will be amazing. These as a sandwich can be wrapped up and taken to a baseball game. Believe me on that one. As a lettuce wrap, put some of the meat in a container, lettuce in a baggie and boom, lunch.

This recipe is a lot of ingredients, but don’t be dismayed. You literally throw all of it into a pot and let it cook. Most of the ingredients will be fine to live in your pantry until the next time you make this and the perishable ones, you can buy only what you need. This is worth the extra time spent on your shopping list!

Phew, OK: long recipe – long winded, sorry.

Pulled Jerk Chicken (8 – 12 servings)

  • For the rub:
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • For the chicken: 
  • 4 lbs. bone-less, skin-less chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or another high heat oil that you prefer)
  • For the marinade:
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
  • cup distilled white vinegar
  • cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • cup soy sauce (I used Gluten-free Shoyu, use what you have)
  • 1  tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 medium scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups cilantro (about 1 bunch), coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, sliced into 1/4-inch coins
  • 1 habanero pepper, seeded and sliced into rounds
  • To serve:
  • 24 (4-inch) deli French rolls or Iceberg Lettuce for cups
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Combine all rub ingredients in a small bowl.

Coat the chicken all over with the rub and set aside. Get your hands dirty here, make sure that all of the spices are rubbed in and evenly coated.

Make your marinade.

Stem and seed the habanero pepper. Use caution here, if you have rubber gloves, wear those when handling the habanero. If not, wash hands thoroughly when you are done and don’t touch anything on your face for a while. In fact, go ahead and wash them again and again.

Peel your ginger and cut into 1/4 inch pieces.

Place all marinade ingredients in a medium nonreactive bowl and whisk to combine.

Heat the oil in a large pot that can transfer from stove to oven (dutch oven)  over medium-high heat.

Add the chicken to the pan, pour the marinade over and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and cover the pot.

Place in the oven for 2:30  hours.

When the chicken is ready, remove the chicken from the sauce to a bowl. This will be tricky as the chicken pieces will be tender and falling apart.

Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer, pour the sauce back into pot, get sauce to a simmer and turn to low. Let simmer while you pull the chicken.

Discard the herbs, ginger, and garlic pieces left behing in the strainer.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it into bite-sized pieces and place back in the pot with the sauce until ready to serve.

Split the deli rolls in half and toast,  place  the jerk chicken mixture on each sandwich.

If using lettuce, choose Iceberg and split the head into quarters and peel leaves apart. Place chicken in each ‘cup’ and enjoy.

Seriously, this is so good, trust me.



2 Responses to “Pulled Jerk Chicken”

  1. Zach September 1, 2014 at 2:09 am #

    I just made this tonight, and served it up on tacos with mango salsa and pickled red onions. Holy cow, so good. I will be making this again, on a regular basis. Thanks for the great recipe!!

    • ChefNichole September 1, 2014 at 2:28 am #

      So happy that you enjoyed it! Tacos are my favorite food group, I will be trying that soon.

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