Jan Braai in his latest book Red Hot tells of the “fiery Jamaican braai marinade or spice known as ‘jerk’ is made with two key ingredients: Scotch bonnet chillies (one of the hottest chillies in the world) and allspice (pimento). If you can’t find Scotch bonnet chillies, use habaneros, or any other weapon of suitable strength. Basic to jerk chicken is that you cook the meat over the coals of a smoky wood fire, something that we as South Africans are obviously pretty comfortable with.
If you or someone in your family knows how to use a food processor, process all of the ingredients together. Otherwise just chop the ingredients finely as mentioned below.”
What you need
about 1.3 kg chicken pieces
2 tots vegetable oil
2 tots fresh lime juice (or lemon juice)
2 tots dark rum
3 Scotch bonnet chillies(or habanero chillies – stemmed and finely chopped)
4 spring onions (finely chopped)
1 tot fresh garlic (crushed or chopped)
1 tot fresh ginger (grated or crushed)
1 tot fresh thyme (finely chopped)
½ tot ground allspice (allspice is also called pimento)
1 tot dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
What to do… Add all of the ingredients (except the meat) into a marinating bowl and mix well.
Add the meat and rub the marinade into the meat, making sure all pieces are coated all over. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for a few hours.
Remove the meat from the marinade and braai over medium coals until it is done. Pork chops will take 10–15 minutes over medium-hot coals. Chicken pieces will need a slightly higher grid to braai them and will take 20–25 minutes over medium-hot coals. Because of the marinade we’re using, the meat will turn quite dark on the braai even if you’re not burning it, so don’t panic. Braai with care, though, as burning this marinade is a risk.
And… As with any chilli, it is advisable to take care when handling the Scotch bonnet or habanero. These chillies are seriously hot and you have been warned. There is no shame in using latex gloves when preparing this recipe. Alternatively, wash your hands very well a few times before touching your eyes or any other sensitive body parts.
You can vary the heat of this dish by varying the amount of chilli you add. Remember the veins inside the chilli are the heat bearers, the pips less so.
Who is Jan Braai? His real name is Jan Scannell and he lives to braai. He started the National Braai Day initiative in 2005 and his aim is to create a national celebration of the one activity all South Africans have in common, regardless of race, language, gender or wealth, cooking over a fire. He holds the world record for the longest braai. He is currently filming his third TV series for Kyknet. For more about Jan Braai visit www.braai.com