Turkey Jerk

Turkey jerk! This is the last turkosity I’ll be having for a while. Albany John was going to hold a Marchgiving, where he thaws out a turkey we bought in November and cooks a bunch of different things, but then he forgot about other plans he’d made, so we had to cancel that had this small turkey in the fridge. He carved it up and we put some of it back in the freezer (I think. Or maybe we just ate it all. Crap. I think we might have eaten it all. We’re piggies).

These two drumsticks were sitting in the fridge and all I could hear was “Jerk, jerk, jerk!” echoing in my mind. You guys know what poor impulse control I have, so I ran off to Save-A-Lot to grab some habanero peppers. I knew Save-A-Lot always has habaneros (and cheapo, fresh cilantro).


Oh, lone habanero.

Save-A-Lot was SO PATHETIC when I walked in. It was hilarious. I guess the end of the month is not a priority for stocking things, because just about everything was O-U-T. The entire refrigerated section of beef, a good amount of vegetables, fruits, display cases – all empty. It was a wreck. And my one lone habanero. Figures that the time I’d actually buy them, they’d be almost all out.

At any rate, it only cost $0.04 for this one little pepper. Yep, four cents!

Looking around eGullet.org was a boon in my jerk marinade quest. I kind of stayed with one recipe, but switched it up a bit. But HOOOH, did it smell spicy! It came out a thick paste because I processed everything very finely.

Here’s how I made the marinade:

Jerk Marinade
2 T allspice berries, toasted
1 t white pepper berries, toasted
1 t black pepper berries, toasted
1 bay leaf
(whir in a spice grinder)
Add in a blender:
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1 fire roasted habanero (bonus points for pathetic-ness)
2 t Kosher salt
the green parts of 1 leek
3 cloves garlic
1-2 T dried thyme
1/2″ ginger, peeled
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 C water (enough to make into a thick slurry)
blend all together, slather over some meat.

Toss in about 10 t of sugar in the raw.

Then I let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours.

After a day, I put on my sexiest latex glove to handle the turkey jerk. Hey, I don’t want burny fingers.

Goopy. Haha. This is the raw turkey in the jerk marinade.

I wanted to cook the jerk by smoking it first, and then charring the skin. I used 3 T of the plum wood chips in the top right corner.


Plopped the drumsticks onto Eldir, my Nordic Ware smoker, and began the smoking process.


I pulled them when they were near 150 F to char them in my broiler. I may have overcooked them a few degrees, but at that point it’s not very noticeable.


Char, char, char, char, char! I didn’t wany any gross soggy and flabby skin on this jerk. Poultry skin tastes best when it’s got a little bit of crunch to it.


I made some rice & peas to go along with it. I used some coconut milk and coconut water with jasmine rice and mung beans, but I think it’d be fine without the milk. Just a little too heavy. Coconut water or just regular water would be better.

Smokement of glory! I got a pink ring of smoke around my turkey. Woo hoo!

The jerk marinade tasted great, but I think it could have used more heat. That’s saying a lot coming from me. I offered Albany John some hot sauce, but he said he liked the flavor of the jerk on its own. A big compliment coming from someone who can down a blob of wasabi like nothing. So it’s a good middle ground for spice-wusses and heat lovers as it stands right now.
Next time, though, I’d up it to at least 3 habaneros.
And now I am debating about whether I should get some more jerk ingredients and smoke/grill some food up this weekend since the weather is going to be splendiferous. Mmm, decisions. It might just be the time of year to head out to a park and grill a ton of meat up. Who’s in?
5 comments
  1. We're free on Saturday. Do you need side dishes?

  2. My cousin had a similar idea. You would have Thanks-giving with family and You're Welcomes-giving with friends.

  3. I never thought about a smoker. I never thought to smoke meat (not that I've minded eating it prepared) but it's never occurred to me to do it myself. All of your smoked meat posts are starting to get to me though. Am I supposed to own a smoker? Hmmm.

  4. grace said:

    four cents? score! 🙂
    i usually wince when i see people gnawing on turkey legs at football games and the like, but not even i could resist burying my face in meat prepared like this–it looks amazing!

  5. Anonymous said:

    For the coconut rice with mung beans, try making 1/4 of the liquid coconut milk and the rest water, this will cut back on the richness. You can still play around with the water/coconut milk ratio if it's still not to your liking. I remember my mother making this dish with a thick spicy beef stew, yummy yummy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: