Traditional Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Traditional Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe
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If you’re looking for the best traditional Jamaican jerk chicken recipe that is easy to prepare, then you are in the right spot. Fire up the barbeque grill or oven, this traditional Jamaican jerk chicken is streaming flavor and heat…lots of spicy heat.

In my home, we all love this ubiquitous Caribbean classic Jamaican dish, as soon as spring arrives were firing up our grill, and guess what? Real Jamaican jerk chicken…yeah! Your gonna love this easy Jamaican jerk chicken recipe, I’m giving you my pinky promise.

A huge shout out to my close friend Aayla who was born in Jamaica and shared her family’s secret authentic Jamaican jerk chicken recipe with me…Thank You!!

If you wanna discover Caribbean food with attitude, then this real Jamaican jerk chicken is full of it, believe me. It’s intensely hot…spicy hot, flavourful…lots of flavors, and smoky…ahh smoky, true characteristics that represent this iconic cultural dish from Jamaica and Caribbeans.

If you ask anyone, real traditional Jamaican jerk chicken is cooked on a coal grill, but you can simply improvise by using a regular gas barbecue grill or even oven bake your Jamaican jerk chicken, might not be 100% authentic but you will get still enjoy the amazingly hot, pungent and unique flavors this jerk chicken has to offer.

Don’t sweat it if you don’t have a barbeque grill, Jamaican jerk chicken baked in the oven will taste perfect and your gonna love it.

How Is Jerk Chicken Traditionally Made In Jamaica?

In Jamaica, jerk chicken is traditionally made by cooking the chicken directly on top of freshly cut pimento tree wood. The fire pit where the chicken is cooked is made up of two layers, the bottom part is filled with coil and the top is lined with the pimento tree branches where the jerk chicken is cooked on.

During the slow cooking process of the smoked jerk chicken, the chicken absorbs oil from the wood and smoke from the charcoal which gives its distinctive smoky flavor combined with the intense flavor of Jamaican jerk marinade made from herbs, spices, bonnet pepper, and vegetables.

Jamaicans have mastered the art of cooking jerk chicken and other jerk meats by using traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations. The pimento tree that is used to cook the jerk chicken also grows the allspice berries which are used to make the jerk marinade.

What to Serve with Jamaican Jerk Chicken?

Jamaican jerk chicken is typically served alongside a plate of rice, beans, and hot bonnet sauce, but hold on, there are other amazing sides that can be served with this Caribbean smoked jerk chicken.

  • Plantains, you can grill or deep fry plantains.
  • Pineapple, the sweet caramelized tangy taste of grilled pineapple rings hit the spot pairing perfectly with this spicy jerk chicken meal.
  • Salad, the earthy and fresh taste of salads complements this hot flavorful Caribbean dish.
  • Roasted Sweet Potato, the sweet flavor of these roasted potatoes is a perfect match for this jerk chicken.
  • Rice, a classic side of this dish traditionally served with white but wholegrain rice is also good.
  • Beans, whether white, red, black, or pinto, beans always make a great addition when eating jerk chicken.
  • Peas, this is another great option to serve alongside rice and jerk chicken.
  • Coconut Rice, incredibly light, flavourful, and delicious with a hint of sweetness, coconut rice is commonly served with jerk meat in the Caribbeans.

How Long Should You Marinate Jerk Chicken?

At least one hour is recommended to marinade jerk chicken but most cooks will marinate the jerk chicken at least 12 hours before placing it on the flame grill. The longer you marinate the chicken the more flavourful it will be. You can marinade jerk chicken up to 24 hours before cooking it.

Ready to make this traditional Jamaican jerk chicken recipe? Let’s do it!

Ingredients For Traditional Jamaican Jerk Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into quarters or small pieces (You can also use chicken thighs, chicken wings, chicken legs, or chicken breast)
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 scallion stocks, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons oil olive
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 large onion, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper, diced

Ingredients For Scotch Bonnet Sauce

  • 1 small onion, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice or (4 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup pineapple chunks
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar or granulated sugar

How to Make Scotch Bonnet Sauce?

  1. Add all the ingredients for the Scotch bonnet sauce into a blender or food processor and pulse until saucy consistency. If you want a thicker chunkier pepper sauce reduce the number of pulses.
  2. Place the sauce into a medium-size pot and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
  3. Allow the bonnet sauce to cool, then transfer into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

How To Make Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken?

  1. Cut the whole chicken into quarters or smaller pieces and set it aside in a bowl.
  2. To prepare the jerk chicken marinade, add the vinegar, brown sugar, thyme, salt, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic powder, olive oil, water, black pepper, white pepper, ginger, scallions, onion, and Scotch bonnet pepper into a blender or food processor and puree until a saucy consistency.
  3. Marinade the chicken by rubbing the jerk marinade and coating both sides of the chicken. Cover the chicken bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to 24 hours.
  4. Prepare your barbecue grill: For best results, use a charcoal grill to cook the jerk chicken. If you don’t have a charcoal grill, it’s fine, prepare your gas grill.
  5. Grill the chicken on medium-high heat with a low open flame if using a charcoal grill, be careful not to scorch or burn the chicken, slow cook the jerk chicken turning it over as needed. It will take about 50 minutes to fully cook depending on how big the chicken pieces are. The chicken is fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) or above.
  6. If you’re using a gas barbecue grill to cook the jerk chicken follow the same steps the only difference is they won’t be an open flame like the charcoal grill.
  7. Allow the chicken to char a little but be careful not to burn the marinade.
  8. Serve the jerk chicken with bonnet pepper sauce, rice, and beans.

How To Make Jamaican Jerk Chicken In Oven?

Cooking Jamaican jerk chicken in the oven is easy and straightforward. Slow cooked jerk chicken in the oven will be tender, juicy, and crispy.

  1. To start follow the above steps from 1-3.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C)
  3. Place the jerk marinated chicken in a cast iron pan or baking pan.
  4. Bake for 60 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and the internal temp reaches 165°F (74°C) or above.
  5. Remove from the oven and Enjoy!

Looking for some more traditional Jamaican Recipes? Try our popular Jamaican Beef Patty Recipe.

Traditional Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Traditional Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Gimme Yummy
This traditional Jamaican jerk chicken recipe is bursting with sweet, tangy, smoky, and spicy fiery hot flavor that will have you jumping out of your seat. Easy to prepare, fire it up on a grill or simply cook it in the oven, either way, you'll enjoy the wonderful Caribbean unique smokiness this jerk chicken will bring to the table. Explore the amazing flavors of Jamaican cuisine right at home.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Marinade 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Caribbean, Jamaican
Servings 4 people
Calories 450 kcal

Ingredients
  

JAMAICAN JERK CHICKEN

  • 1 whole chicken cut into quarters or small pieces (You can also use chicken thighs, chicken wings, chicken legs, or chicken breast)
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 scallion stocks cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons oil olive
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 large onion cut into small pieces
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper diced

SCOTCH BONNET SAUCE

  • 1 small onion cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper chopped into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice or 4 tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup pineapple chunks
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar or granulated sugar

Instructions
 

SCOTCH BONNET SAUCE

  • Add all the ingredients for the Scotch bonnet sauce into a blender or food processor and pulse until saucy consistency. If you want a thicker chunkier pepper sauce reduce the number of pulses.
  • Place the sauce into a medium-size pot and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Allow the bonnet sauce to cool, then transfer into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

AUTHENTIC JAMAICAN JERK CHICKEN

  • Cut the whole chicken into quarters or smaller pieces and set it aside in a bowl.
  • To prepare the jerk chicken marinade, add the vinegar, brown sugar, thyme, salt, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic powder, olive oil, water, black pepper, white pepper, ginger, scallions, onion, and Scotch bonnet pepper into a blender or food processor and puree until a saucy consistency.
  • Marinade the chicken by rubbing the jerk marinade and coating both sides of the chicken. Cover the chicken bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to 24 hours.
  • Prepare your barbecue grill: For best results, use a charcoal grill to cook the jerk chicken. If you don’t have a charcoal grill, it’s fine, prepare your gas grill.
  • Grill the chicken on medium-high heat with a low open flame if using a charcoal grill, be careful not to scorch or burn the chicken, slow cook the jerk chicken turning it over as needed. It will take about 50 minutes to fully cook depending on how big the chicken pieces are. The chicken is fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) or above.
  • If you’re using a gas barbecue grill to cook the jerk chicken follow the same steps the only difference is they won’t be an open flame like the charcoal grill.
  • Allow the chicken to char a little but be careful not to burn the marinade.
  • Serve the jerk chicken with bonnet pepper sauce, rice, and beans.

JAMAICAN JERK CHICKEN IN OVEN

  • To start follow the above steps from 1-3.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C)
  • Place the jerk marinated chicken in a cast iron pan or baking pan.
  • Bake for 60 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and the internal temp reaches 165°F (74°C) or above.
  • Remove from the oven and Enjoy!
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