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Joburg-Style Jerk Chicken


It was my nephew’s destination wedding in Jamaica. Somehow, I could have been in my hometown in Durban. Perhaps it was the colonial style of the homes…the bougainvillea draped around just about everything in sight, cascading down from the highest pillars…or the palm tree-lined roads that led down to a calm beach where water gently rolled up on the white sand that surrounded the cabanas at our resort. If all of this, along with the aroma of Blue Mountain coffee and coconut rum cocktails, was a hint of what was to come, it was going to be a culinary experience like no other.   Jamaica is famous for its jerk chicken, and although it is not traditionally South African, I decided to include it in the braai section of my cookbook because authentic jerk chicken is all about the smoke!


Prepare the Joburg-Style Jerk Chicken

1. Blend all the ingredients except the chicken and lime in a food processor until smooth and rub over chicken.
2. If you want to barbecue your chicken, get the coals burning one hour or so before you’re ready to cook. Authentic jerked meats are not exactly grilled as we think of it, but sort of smoke-grilled. To get a more authentic jerk experience, add some wood chips to your barbecue and cook your chicken over slow, indirect heat for 60 to 90 minutes. Just before serving, squeeze a lime over the chicken.
3. To cook in the oven, heat to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Put the chicken in a roasting tin, uncovered, with the lime halves, and cook for one hour. Reduce heat to 160 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit) and cook for another 30 minutes.
4. Serve with rice.


Photography by Michael Smith