If you are not familiar with Jerk chicken, it means barbecued chicken. Jerk chicken has a very well balanced bold flavor of hot, sweet and spicy. The seasoning is based on hot chili peppers and Jamaican allspice. In fact, it is said that the secret of perfect jerk chicken is in the Jamaican allspice (a very important ingredient).
This jerk chicken recipe is simple to make and requires just a few steps. The rest of the time is waiting for the chicken to marinate. Just remember, the longer the chicken marinates the more the flavors will merge together. Generally, jerk chicken tastes the best if it marinates overnight. You definitely want the chicken to marinate for at least three hours before cooking.
Jerk chicken goes well with many dishes. Some of the more traditional pairing includes beans, rice and occasionally pasta. Some people even make a chicken sandwich. And for a nice variety, you can add kiwi or mango and a little fresh garlic to the marinade.
Jerk chicken will oftentimes come in different levels of hot. For mild to medium heat use jalapeño chilies and for spicy and hot use the traditional Scotch Bonnet peppers or habaneros.
- 3 pounds chicken pieces, (thighs, breasts or drumsticks)
- 4 fresh scallions, minced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 chili peppers, stemmed and lightly chopped (jalapeño, habanero or Scotch Bonnet)
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons Jamaican allspice
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- 2 tablespoons thyme
- 4 teaspoons salt, to taste
- 3 teaspoons black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
- 1 whole lime, juiced
- splash of rum (optional)
- Slightly cut up the peppers, onions and garlic. If you want your chicken to have mild heat, remove some of the seeds from the peppers.
- In a blender or food processor, mix the scallions, peppers, garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, oil, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves (if desired). Puree for about 15 seconds. Add a splash of rum if desired.
- Put the chicken inside a medium size bowl. Coat the chicken with marinade. Refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours, or preferably overnight.
- Lightly oil and preheat the grill to high heat.
- Cook the chicken on hot oiled grill for about 30-45 minutes or until done. Makes sure to turn the chicken often to enhance cooking and browning. For juicer chicken, baste often with the marinade. The chicken is done when the juices run clear and the center of the meat is not red in color.
- Serve warm.
For a nice variety you can add pineapple or mango to the marinade. Also, many BBQ connoisseurs will tell you that jerk chicken is best cooked with the skin left on. Leaving the skin on seems to keep the moisture and flavor in.
Jerk chicken goes well with rice and beans with coconut and mango, julienned vegetables vinaigrette and corn bread.
- Blender or food processor
- A medium size bowl
- Grill for cooking