A few months ago when the weather warmed and firing up the trusty grill signaled the exciting season of sizzling steaks, burgers, and barbecue chicken, your favorite recipes may have seemed like revisiting old friends. But meal after meal of the same seasonings and you’re probably ready to spice things up with different flavors. Even Bruce Aidells, author of The Complete Meat Cookbook, admitted he can still get into a summertime rut. Brisket and ribs get coated with a barbecue-rub recipe he found on the back of a kosher salt box. Chicken gets cut into quarters, brushed with olive oil, rosemary, and garlic, and served with lemon wedges. So he came up with some different takes on barbecue recipes for an article in Real Food magazine, one of which is this island-inspired Barbecue Caribbean-Glazed Chicken.
It can also be the inspiration for a whole Caribbean theme if you want to throw a party: consider adding ginger ale (with a bit of rum for the adults?), tropical fruit flavors (mango sorbet?), a little coconut (coconut cream pie?), and, if you’re feeding a crowd, a big side dish of rice and beans. Fresh summer fruits cut and flavored with some lime, brown sugar, and a splash of rum go wonderfully with this chicken. If you want to do a potluck, you can always ask guests to make or buy other dishes to go with the theme. The fun is really in trying something new and having a great barbecue that gets you out of your rut!
Barbecue Caribbean-Glazed Chicken
5 c. water
½ c. dark rum
¹⁄3 c. soy sauce
¹⁄3 c. kosher salt
¹⁄3 c. dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp. dark unsulfured molasses
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. ground allspice
2 Tbsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 c. ice cubes
2 3- to 3½-pound chickens, cut into quarters (8 pieces)
1 tsp. minced ginger
¼ c. lime juice
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. dark unsulfured molasses
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. dark rum
2 Tbsp. orange or lemon marmalade or red-pepper jelly
For the brine: Pour water into a bowl or plastic storage container large enough to hold the chicken pieces. Stir in rum, soy sauce, salt, and brown sugar and continue to stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir in the remaining ingredients and ice. Add chicken and place a small plate on top to keep the chicken submerged. Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
For the glaze: Pour everything into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until the mixture forms a light syrup. Set aside.
Heat one side of a gas or charcoal grill to produce a medium-hot fire. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Lay chicken over the heat skin-side down. Cover the grill and sear for 2 to 3 minutes until the chicken is nicely brown. Turn and cook the other side for the same time or until it begins to brown. If the grill starts to flare up, immediately move the chicken to the part of the grill that has no fire so the chicken does not burn.
When all the pieces have been nicely seared, space them over the unlit side of the grill. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the area near the bone is no longer red, brushing every 15 minutes with the glazing sauce. (The breasts will take less time to cook than the legs.) If the chicken hasn’t caramelized to your liking, generously brush the skin side with more of the sauce and place skin-side down back over the fire for 2 to 3 minutes to just caramelize the sauce, taking care not to burn it. Arrange on platter and serve with lime wedges.
Nutrition info (per serving) Barbecue Caribbean-Glazed Chicken: CALORIES 395 (182 from fat); FAT 20g (sat. 6g); CHOL 130mg; SODIUM 615mg; CARB 10g; FIBER 0g; PROTEIN 41g