When we were asked to share our favourite boozy meat recipe, only one dish came to mind – our jerk, rum and lime brick chicken.
This recipe uses the technique of grilling a spatchcocked chook under a heavy weight (usually a foil-wrapped brick) – a method of cooking that has been used by Italian families, especially in Tuscany, for hundreds of years, in a dish called pollo al mattone. The result of cook-ing this way is barbeque chicken like no other. The jerk marinade is packed with chilli, herbs, rum and sweet flavours that caramelise and give the chicken its fiery, fragrant character. And that skin – crisp and golden brown – will take you to your happy place.
As well as being a barbeque centrepiece, we’re in the habit of repurposing this kind of chicken for as many meals as we can think of: Quesadilla night, torn up and tossed through a salad of chickpeas and sweet summer tomatoes, cold from the fridge at 11pm – that is of course if there is any left.
Jerk, Rum and Lime Brick Chicken
1 large, free-range chicken, approx. 2kg (*ask your butcher to spatchcock it for you if you’d like to skip the first two steps).
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp whole allspice berries
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
2 jalapeño chillies, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled, finely chopped
2 spring onions, green parts only, finely sliced
1 tbsp dark rum, plus more for drizzling
Flaky sea salt
1 lime, cut into wedges
To spatchcock the chicken, using kitchen scissors, cut the chicken down one side of the backbone, through the ribs. Make an identical cut on the opposite side to remove the back-bone completely; discard the bone or reserve it for making a beautiful chicken stock.
Place the chicken on a work surface, skin-side up. Using your palms, press down firmly on the breastbone to flatten the breast.
Bash the chilli flakes, allspice and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle until finely ground, then add in sugar and honey and mix well.
Add chopped herbs, jalapeño chillies, ginger and garlic to the spice mix and pound it again to make sure all ingredients are combined in a thick paste. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil, salt, sliced spring onions and rum and mix well. Pour marinade over the chicken and massage it in with your hands. Refrigerate for 1–2 hours, or overnight if you can.
Preheat your barbecue grill to medium–high and place your foil-wrapped bricks on the grill to heat up.
Wearing oven gloves, remove the hot bricks from the grill and place the chicken on the grill, skin-side down. Place one brick on each half of the chicken and cook, covered for 25–30 minutes until skin is golden and crisp.
Wearing oven gloves – or using tongs – remove the bricks and flip the chicken oven. Replace the bricks and continue to cook, covered, for another 25–30 minutes, until cooked through. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, drizzle over a little rum to give extra flavour and stickiness.
Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with coconut rice and a sweet spicy salsa.
Kate Olsson is the editor of heytucker.com, see the site for more summer recipe inspiration.