Jerk Chicken "Rice" Bowls

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Being a Texan, my go-to spice blend is either Southwestern or Mexican. But this summer when I was visiting my sister and brother-in-law, I rediscovered Jerk seasoning. My BIL is insane when it comes to outdoor meat production and his Jerk Chicken was a testament to that. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and my oldest son had missed out on that trip, so I HAD to recreate it and then turn it into Jerk Chicken Rice Bowls. Oh and yes, I’m aware that grilling season is almost over in most of the US, but this would work just as well under the broiler although the BIL and I both have been known to grill in the dead of winter (and he lives in the mountains of Colorado!)

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What is Jerk Chicken?

Traditionally Jerk Chicken is chicken parts marinated in a wet marinade that has lots of scotch bonnet chiles, scallions (green onions) and garlic along with a TON of spices. A dry rub of spices is just as good and more convenient since you can mix up a ton and keep it in your cabinet for when the Jerk chicken need strikes. Once the chicken has marinated for several hours in either the wet marinade or dry rub, it is grilled, but I was also introduced to another flavoring agent that made this chicken BOMB!

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Cooking Jerk Chicken

Here’s how it goes down…After a first round on the grill on medium to get color on the chicken, sliced onions cooked in olive oil are on standby waiting for the chicken to take a caramelized onion bath. This not only adds flavor, but is an instant sauce after the chicken is fully cooked. But wait, there’s more…One more quick turn on the grill gives that caramelized onion saturated, spicy chicken a crunchy outer coating that will leave you wanting to eat it everyday all day. (Sadly there were three teenage boys present when I first had this…You know we didn’t get seconds much less leftovers!)

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What is in Jerk Chicken Rice Bowls

At my sister’s we had the Jerk Chicken with black beans and a salad but when I made it, we went simple for dinner with only a mango slaw then used all the same ingredients deconstructed to make Jamaican Jerk “Rice” Bowls. (Yes, I planned plenty of chicken for leftovers.) The bowls were a hit for sure and super colorful with the sliced jerk chicken, of course, along with shredded purple cabbage, sliced mango, quartered tiny red peppers, cilantro, green onion and avocado on top of cauliflower rice. (The onions while tasty were not pretty food, so they got spooned over the chicken post photography! But don’t leave them out…in fact make extra just for that purpose.) Want something a little more formal? Serve the rice underneath the chicken and onions and combine the other ingredients with a little lime juice and olive oil to make a delicious slaw on the side.

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Jerk Chicken Rice Bowls

Jerk Chicken:

4 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (don’t go boneless skinless)

Jerk Seasoning as needed (see recipe at link)

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp avocado or olive oil

Rice Bowl Ingredients:

Cooked cauliflower rice or regular rice

Shredded purple cabbage

Avocado, sliced

Mango, sliced

Red peppers, sliced

Limes, quartered or sliced

Thinly Sliced Scallions (green onions)

Chopped cilantro

  1. Liberally rub the chicken thighs with Jerk seasoning, making sure to get all underneath the skin. Let sit at room temp for 30 minutes to an hour or in fridge for up to 12 hours.

  2. Make sure all Rice Bowl Ingredients are ready to go before proceeding with chicken.

  3. Preheat the grill to high then turn to medium just before placing chicken on the grill.

  4. In a large skillet with lid or dutch oven, heat the oil and cook the onions until the have softened and started to caramelize.

  5. Place the chicken skin side down on the grill grates and grill until it can be easily removed from the grill with tongs. Flip the chicken and brown the other sides well. When all sides are brown, remove the chicken to the awaiting oniony goodness and cover the pan. Keep the grill on medium.

  6. Cook over medium heat until the chicken registers 165 on an instant read thermometer.

  7. Just before serving, return the chicken skin side down to the grill and let the skin become completely crispy.

  8. Remove from the grill and let stand uncovered for a few minutes while you assemble the bowls.

  9. Assemble the bowls with the rice on the bottom and the other ingredients arranged neatly with a space left for the chicken and onions.

  10. Slice the chicken and serve on top of the bowls with the onions, pan sauce and quartered limes to squeeze over the top.

  11. Garnish with cilantro and green onions