Do you ever get that nagging, unrelenting craving for something — anything — jerk? Spicy, tongue tingly, flavor bomb JERK. You know what I’m talkin’ about… that unctuous paste, layered with flavors that ends with a fiery burn. If that’s your idea of a good time, you’re gonna love this Spatchcock Jerk Chicken with Sweet Curry. It’s like being slapped upside your head, in a good way.
For this recipe, start with a whole chicken and remove the backbone… Sounds simple right? Well, actually, it is — if you happen to have a killer pair of poultry sheers. I don’t. And I’ve spatchcocked a number of chickens, but it can be a pain — literally, your hands can get bruised and twisted without the right equipment. So I’ve gotten smart — I have the butcher remove the backbone for me… Easy. I advise that you do the same.
Walker’s Wood is my choice for jerk seasoning. I know. I’m a food blogger. Shouldn’t I make my own jerk? Well actually, I’ve got several great recipes for jerk, but if I’m honest — I like this better. It saves me the time and trouble, plus it can be less expensive to just buy the jar than to purchase all the ingredients separately. No-brainer.
Rub down the bird with a few tablespoons of jerk seasoning, cover and refrigerate for a few hours. The longer it soaks, the more the meat will infuse with the jerk seasoning. I’d let it marinate for at least a few hours.
Remove the chicken from the fridge about half an hour before you plan to cook it — and at the same time, place your largest cast iron skillet into the oven and set the temperature to 500°. The skillet will heat up to a lava-like temperature and when you place the bird (skin-side down) in the pan, you’ll hear the sear (Don’t believe me? Check out the video at the end of the post). Place the skillet back in the oven to cook.
While the chicken is cooking, make the sweet curry sauce. The sauce starts as an apple juice reduction before adding the curry and cream and reducing again. Finish the sauce with finely diced apple.
Flip the chicken once while it’s cooking — and don’t worry if you lose a drumstick or the bird doesn’t look absolutely perfect. It’ll get carved up before serving, so no-one will be the wiser.
Arrange the chicken on a platter and serve with the curry sauce and a few fresh cilantro leaves for freshness.
Unless you have a Caribbean market close by, it can be difficult to find this particular jerk seasoning… So here’s a few links to help you out! You can get one bottle for around $10 or buy in bulk 4 jars for about $6 each . These are affiliate links, so if you purchase, I’ll make a small commission. Thanks — I’ll use it wisely. Pinky promise.
Spatchcock Jerk Chicken
A delicious, fiery, cast-iron skillet chicken with a sweet Jamaican curry sauce
- 1 4 1/2 pound chicken backbone removed
- 1/4 cup Jerk seasoning preferably Walkers Wood
- 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 small Granny Smith apple peeled, seeded cut into 1/4" dice
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
Have your butcher remove the backbone from a whole chicken - or if you have a good pair of poultry sheets, carefully cut out the backbone, so that the chicken can be splayed open flat.
Rub the chicken all over with jerk seasoning. Transfer the chicken to a zip top storage bag or place on a platter and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
To cook the chicken: Take the chicken out of the refrigerator half an hour before you intend to cook it. Move the oven rack to the bottom third of the oven. Place a 10-12" cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 500°.
When the oven reaches 500°, use potholders to remove the skillet and place it on a heat safe surface. Place the chicken in the skillet, skin side down and return the skillet to the oven. Turn the oven temperature down to 450°.
Cook the chicken for 25-30 minutes, then carefully flip the chicken so that the skin side is up. Continue to cook for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°. (Safe temperature for chicken is 165°, but chicken continues to cook after you take it from the oven, so to avoid overcooking, I usually take it out just before reaching that temperature)
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, tent with tin foil and let it rest for 5-10 minutes so the juices can redistribute throughout the meat.
For the Curry Sauce:
While the chicken is roasting, add the apple juice and sugar to a small saucepan. Bring the apple juice mixture to a boil until the sugar dissolves, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by half (10-15 minutes).
Stir in the curry powder and heavy cream continue to simmer and reduce the liquid by half again. Add the diced apples and season with kosher salt.
Carve the chicken and arrange it on a platter. Spoon curry sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with cilantro.