Whole Roasted Jerk Chicken
The spices you need on your bird.
Jerk seasoning is a thing of wonder. It’s so delicious, I can barely contain myself with anticipation when I smell it cooking.
I didn’t think it was possible to achieve the perfection of the jerk spice by removing sugar altogether, but I tinkered with it, used a couple of dates, and made it happen.
The sweetness of the dates brings the whole spice mix to life. Since only two dates are used throughout the whole dish, it is still much lower carb than recipes using brown sugar. Of course, you are welcome to use sugar substitutes if that’s your thing, but I’m not familiar with those products. I always err on the side of using whole foods, when possible.
If you have to buy a whole package of dates for this recipe, just pit and freeze the remainder to keep on hand for future recipes. Or immediately throw a party and make cheese stuffed bacon wrapped dates and feed the neighbors. You won’t use dates often at all since we do fruit sparingly, but they’re nice to have on hand for the occasional application. The Homemade BBQ Sauce and Homemade Ketchup in my cookbooks are killer.
Jerk chicken is traditionally slow smoked with charcoal and wood, so if you have a smoker and a Saturday afternoon, please have at it.
For a weeknight (and for this recipe), you can still have the delicious jerk seasoning flavor by roasting a whole chicken in the oven.
I use the same dry brining and roasting techniques you’ll find in the Easiest Roasted Chicken recipe in the first Eat Happy, which yields the moistest of birds. Plus those onions soak up the jerk seasoning and juices, so serve those atop the sliced chicken.
You can amp up the spice by adding more ground cayenne, and I highly suggest that you do.
As always, here’s a downloadable, printable PDF version of this recipe.
WHOLE ROASTED JERK CHICKEN
3-4 pound whole chicken
Salt for seasoning
1 yellow or brown onion, cut into 1/2” slices
2 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground celery salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or more, depending on your spice tolerance
Wash out chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Remove and discard giblets/neck if present. Rub 1-2 tablespoons salt all over chicken. Set chicken on plate in fridge for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
Remove chicken from fridge and let stand for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place onion slices flat in an 8x8 baking dish. Place chicken atop onion slices.
In a blender or mini food processor, pulse chopped dates with water until a paste is formed. Scrape into a small mixing bowl. Mix in salt, minced garlic, celery salt, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cayenne until a paste is formed. Smear paste as evenly as possible onto surface of whole chicken.
Place chicken in oven and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue roasting 1 more hour. The chicken is done when you slice into the crevice between the leg and breast and the juices run clear, or until a meat thermometer inserted there reads 180 degrees.
Remove from oven and let stand 10-15 minutes. Carve chicken and serve, topped with onions and juices from the baking dish.
Made it this afternoon. Smelled good while cooking in the oven and tasted even better. My wife and I both liked it. Thanks for the recipe!