Faintly sweet, spiced, and fiery as all get-out, jerk chicken is a sultry summertime treat. To maximize its flavor, take time to marinate the meat—for at least a day and up to two.
Although I rarely seed and devein peppers, in the case of ultra-hot habeneros, it's wise. It allows their fruitiness to shine, and the dish strikes a balance between tongue-singeing and enjoyably edible. Of course, if brow-mopping is what you're going for, feel free to add another pepper into the mix.
As for the boozy, grill-charred pineapple that's served alongside, be sure to select one that's just about—but not totally—ripe. A firmer fruit will stand up to the grilling process, whereas a juicy, super-soft one won't.
When all is said and done, the basted, crusty bird and caramelized fruit are pitch-perfect companions. Served with additional jerk sauce alongside, a taste of the Caribbean is at hand.
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About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.