I’ve had an itch to cook a couple of things lately. First two things on list have been jerk chicken and curry. I decided to get a little crazy today and not only combine the two but add the smoker into the equation. I figured smoking the chicken and then finishing it in a dutch oven (HAHAHA) filled with curry and potatoes would be pretty hard to screw up. Turns out, I was right.
Now I have never cooked jerk chicken or curry before. I know very little about the process of cooking either so if you’re here looking for some advanced recipe, this is not the place. If you’re like “Oh shit, I was always curious how to make that jerk stuff and curry sounds pretty good too”, this is your post. I figured for my first time making both, I would take a few short cuts with seasonings and use the store bought kind. I did use Pluto’s Caribbean Bliss Seasoning, which is hard to come by in these parts but worth ordering if you’re going to be a complete jerk. I also used Food Saver’s Quick Marinator to cheat on marinating the chicken. This little guy will give you the same taste of marinating overnight in about an hour. Highly recommend if you’re already using the Food Saver. If not, get off your ass and check it out.
I used drums and thighs for this but if you’re a white meat kind of person you can use chicken breasts or a whole chicken. I like the darker meat with the bone in because I can get it a little more tender than the breast. Also when you’re simmering chicken in the dutch oven (HAHAHA) there’s just something about meat falling off of a bone.
From there the meat went into the smoker. My idea here was to obviously build a smokey flavor but also to build bark on the outside that the curry would soak in to. I used mesquite chips and these sat for an hour at 225 degrees. If you’re not about the smoke life, you can add the chicken directly into the curry to cook until done. If you’re actually following this recipe, you’re looking at about 3lbs of chicken. And yes, I know my smoker is dirty.
If you’re on the fence on whether or not to buy a smoker, let me be the one to throw you directly off of the fence directly into buying one. It’s almost Summer. Just do it. It’s one of the better culinary purchases I have made in the past few years. I’m currently using a really basic Char-Broil Electric Vertical Smoker that will run you about $150. If you’re hesitant because you’re not sure how to tell when your meat is one, get your hands on a wireless thermometer. The ThermoPro thermometer lets you put a probe into your meat and communicates with another unit wirelessly within 300 ft. It’s cheating, but it takes the guessing out of it.
From there, the chicken should have a nice bark on the outside for the curry to soak in to. You can leave it in the smoker for longer than I did — some recommend the chicken get to 175 degrees — but my chicken is going to cook longer in a pot of simmering curry. You could even just eat this chicken without throwing it into a dutch oven (HAHAHA) filled with curry. Trust me, just some chicken and seasoning in a smoker is good enough to eat but I’m not about being basic like that.
For your curry you basically just need a bunch of vegetables, curry powder or paste, stock, peppers and coconut milk. Any combination or those ingredients is probably going to give you something pretty delicious. I’m not about following exact recipes because I think it’s more fun to figure things out as you go. I’ll give you mine, but do yourself a favor and use it as a road map.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped up
- An entire head of garlic. As should be the case in every recipe.
- However much ginger you like, I use 2 tsp
- 1 habanero pepper, chopped up
- 7 tablespoons of curry powder
- 2 potatoes chopped up
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- However much hot sauce you like
To make the curry, pour some oil in a large pot or a dutch oven (HAHAHAHAHA) and get it hot. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and habanero and let them simmer for five minutes or so until the onions are translucent. From there, add the curry powder and let it cook into the onion mixture for a bit until your house smells funny. After the flavor has built up between all these ingredients add your potatoes to the party. Stir it all together and let it all soak into the potatoes. Once you start to see the bottom of your pot get a little brown it’s time to deglaze the pan and create the real flavor. Throw in your chicken stock and stir it up. SHAKE UP YOUR COCONUT WATER and add it to the pot. Add Worcestershire, vinegar and hot sauce and OMG you just made curry.
Now you could add literally any meat to this and let it simmer and you’re looking at something that’s going to be delicious. You could add raccoon meat but you would probably get a tapeworm. You could even use a vegetable stock and more vegetables and have a fine vegetarian dish but I can’t encourage that type of behavior. The key here is you have to let it reduce to build a marriage of everything in that pot. If you serve it too early it’s going to taste different depending on what part of the pot you’re using. Let it hang out for 30-45 mins while it builds flavor.
I added the chicken and let it cook on low for an hour while the curry reduced and soaked into the chicken. Careful not to stir to often so you don’t break up the chicken, potatoes or disrupt the flavor building process.
The best part of this is if you leave the leftovers overnight the curry continues to hang out with the chicken and improves in flavor. This is a great example of throwing a bunch of ingredients, cooking contraptions and techniques together and getting something really great. So again, please do not follow my recipe exactly how I wrote it. Make changes, add things, take things out — That’s the fun of cooking. Hope you enjoy whatever you come up with.