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Grilling: Jerk Chicken for Columbus Day

Last week, my co-workers and I were discussing the perfect thing to grill for Columbus Day. There was no real consensus, with the discussion flowing from all-American to Italian to Spanish, and then someone said, "He didn't even land in America, so you could even go West Indian with this."

That last one got me, and whether or not it represented the holiday, I was fixed on having one thing: Jerk chicken.

There's no better marriage between my love of grilling and my love of spicy foods then Jerk chicken. The recipe starts with 5 habanero chiles, which gives it great kick while still allowing the other prominent flavors (like allspice and thyme) to come through. Since the Jerk marinade will burn over the fire before the chicken finishes cooking, I built a two-zone fire and grilled these directly over the charcoal until browned, then moved them to the cool side and covered until cooked through. The wonderfully spiced and juicy chicken that came off the grill may not arouse any Columbus Day patriotism, but it will provide a nice escape for the three-day weekend.

About the author: Joshua Bousel blogs about grilling on his blog, The Meatwave, and appears weekly here on Serious Eats during grilling season.

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