Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings

I like LOVE wings! Love, love, love ‘em. Can’t ever seem to get enough of ‘em. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…wings just might be my 5 food group….OK, OK I didn’t say that, but that’s what my wife says about me. I’ve made Buffalo wings, Sriracha wings, Piri-piri wings, lemon pepper, parmesan garlic wings and who knows what others. But when I stumbled upon Cheryl and Adam’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings on Picture-Perfect Meals, I knew these would be the next ones I make. (BTW they own a studio specializing in food photography and recipe development so you know their site is amazing. Adam even offers photography tips with each post. How cool are they?)

Love me some wings!

Many, many years ago, I went to Jamaica. Such a beautiful island filled with such laid back, friendly people. And their jerk chicken…..words cannot even begin to explain it. The hint of allspice and cinnamon with a touch of heat and the smokey goodness (is that a word?) of the pimento wood it is cooked over. I can still taste it. Which is a problem. I’ve had plenty of horrible concoctions claiming to be jerk that fell way short of the mark. But reading their recipe, I had high hopes.

Can you taste it yet?

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 6 dashes hot sauce, preferably Frank’s
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • about 2 pounds of chicken wings (cut into drums and flats if you prefer)

 

Start with about 2 lbs of chicken wings

1. In a 1 gallon zip-lock bag, combine all the dry ingredients, seal the bag and give a little shake to mix well. Next add in the wet ingredients, seal bag and mix until you have a smooth paste. Now add the chicken and make sure each piece is coated thoroughly. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24, turning occasionally. (originally I did mine in a casserole dish, but realized that a zip-lock bag would work better and make clean up that much easier.

Adding the marinade

2. Preheat your grill to 400F (for oven directions, refer to Picture-Perfect’s Site). If you have pimento wood handy (and if you do, please let me know where you got it), that would be ideal for the smoke. (If not, a light fruit wood would compliment the jerk. I used cherry wood chips.) Add your wood chips once the grill had come up to temp.

Chicken going on the Egg

3. If using and Egg or Kamado style grill, set it up with a raised grate. For other charcoal grills, set it up with for an indirect grill and place wings away from coals. For gas grills, light one side of the grill and place chicken over unlit burners. Chicken should cook for about 25-30 minutes flipping occasionally to prevent burning (but make sure to cook to temp, not time. You are aiming for 165 here minimum). For charcoal or gas grills, you may want to move the chicken over the fire for the last 5-10 minutes to get a nice char on the wings. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.

Getting close

Ideally, you would want to serve this up with an ice cold Red Stripe (did you know they have Red Stripe Light now? It’s pretty good, but I have a hard time finding it) or a rum punch, along with some rice and peas, some fried plantains and fresh fruit. We didn’t have any of those, so I opted for curly fries. Hey….fries go with wings! I don’t care how they are seasoned.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings

I have to say, Cheryl and Adam nailed this one! It is the closest to authentic Jerk Chicken I have had since Jamaica (at least as far as I can remember). Just the right amount of cinnamon, allspice and cloves. When I prepared mine, I adjusted the heat by adding a bit more cayenne and Frank’s (I did not adjust the recipe listed above, though), and I still think it had a nice level of heat. Just a bit to let you know it was there, but not overpower and overwhelm the other spices. The cherry wood complimented it nicely. It gave a nice smoke flavor, but did not overpower it like mesquite, hickory or other hard woods might.

And if you aren’t a fan of wings, this recipe would also work on other chicken parts, pork, shrimp or fish (but for shrimp or fish I would cut the marinade time back to 1 to 2 hours). This one is definitely going into our rotation. Now if only I could get my hands on some pimento wood.

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