" My Girl" Tear Jerked Chicken

You'll be crying tears of joy when you dig in to this deliciously spicy Jerk chicken dish featured during the film My Girl.

You will need:

  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice (also know as Jamaican Pimento)
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 habanero peppers (also known as Scotch bonnet) or 6 jalapeno peppers,
  • chopped
  • 3 whole cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 whole scallions, chopped fine, plus 2 for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 12 chicken leg-thigh quarters
  • 1 box tissue


1. Combine the allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, peppercorns, coriander, and bay leaf in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook and toss for 5 minutes, until fragrant, then pulverize with a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Transfer the ground spices to the work bowl of a food processor or blender and add all remaining ingredients except for the chicken; blend until smooth.

2. Rinse the chicken quarters in cold water and pierce a few times with a sharp kitchen fork. Pour half of the tear-jerk seasoning into a large bowl, add the chicken and turn the pieces to coat completely with the seasoning. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes and up to 24 hours. (The longer the better.)

3. Place the wood chips in a small bowl, cover with hot water and soak 10 minutes. Line a large, heavy pot (that has a tight-fitting lid) with aluminum foil. Place the soaked wood chips in the pot, lightly oil a wire rack and set it inside the pot, over the chips. Arrange the chicken pieces on the oiled rack. Cover the pot tightly and place over medium-high heat.

4. When the pot just begins to smoke, reduce the heat to medium and continue smoking another 5 minutes.

5. Adjust oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 375F. Place the smoked chicken pieces (skin side up) in a baking dish or roasting pan. Roast for 45 minutes, brushing with pan juices and jerk seasoning every 15 minutes or so. If the pan juices sizzle too loudly or begin to smoke, add a splash of water to the pan.

6. The chicken is fully ready when the skin is crisp and dark brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165-175F. Transfer to a platter and let rest for 5 to 7 minutes before serving. While the chicken rests, combine the remaining tear-jerk seasoning with any pan drippings from the baking dish and bring to a boil. Garnish chicken with chopped scallions and serve with hot tear-jerk sauce.

7. Begin eating and weeping. After dinner, have a comforting group hug, then instruct guests to wash the plates clean with their own bitter tears and dab dry with tissue.

Serves 4-6

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