I think I have mentioned that there is a soul food restaurant near where I live and it seems lately I have been having their jerk chicken once a week. Last weekend a bunch of us were going to head to the beach and I wanted to bring something to eat to would be easy to handle (no utensils), full of flavor, and befitting of the beach… and a pitcher of rum punch!
Inspired by the fantastic jerk chicken at Amazing Taste Soul Food, I came up with a Caribbean spice rub. It’s very aromatic with a lot of allspice, ginger and cloves and nice heat that is not overly spicy. I used chicken thighs for the sandwich for two reasons – they have way more flavor than a boneless, skinless beast and they stay moist when they are grilled.
The grilled pineapple adds another dimension as grilling the pineapple sweetens and intensifies the flavor of the fruit as it’s sugars start to caramelize, plus it gives the fruit a slightly smoky flavor. I quick pickled some red onion and that little bit of acidity balances the richness of the chicken thigh and sweet pineapple.
The raw jalapeños are not only for heat, but add a fresh, fruity, grassy component as well. If you are concerned about the heat from the chile remove the seeds and veins or try a red Fresno chile.
And don’t forget the Rum Punch!
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
- 1 recipe Caribbean Spice Rub (recipe follows)
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 8 slices of pineapple, ½ inch thick
- Neuttral oil, for grilling
- 8 soft burger buns
- 2 or 3 sliced jalapenos
- Season chicken thighs with all of the Caribbean Spice Rub (about 2 tablespoons); set aside for and hour to cure. Can be seasoned up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
- Place sliced onions in a bowl. Stir together the vinegar, ½ cup water, and the sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the onions. If the onions aren't completely covered add a little more water.. Set aside in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Set up grill for cooking over medium high direct heat. Brush and oil the grates before cooking.
- Once the grill is hot, drizzle chicken with a little oil and grill 4 to 5 minutes, flip and continue cooking for an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. Transfer to a serving platter and tent with foil.
- Turn the heat to medium and brush and re-oil the grates to keep the pineapple from sticking. Rub a thin layer of oil onto the pineapple slices. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until well, marked.
- Build sandwiches with the grilled chicken and pineapple, pickled onions, and sliced jalapenos.
Double or triple this recipes as it’s a great spice rub to have on-hand to use on chicken, pork, seafood, shellfish, duck… For the best results, try to use fresh spices and herbs. The blend will keep for 3 months stored in and air tight container.
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon granulated onion
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Thoroughly combine all ingredients and store up to 3 months in an airtight container.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!