Jerk is a style of cooking Jamaican food when the meat is rubbed with a dry set of spices and herbs or meat marinated in a liquid marinade with a set of very hot Jamaican spice. The basic ingredients includes ‘allspise’ and very sharp Caribbean red pepper (Scotch Bonnet), which can be substituted in this recipe for spicy chili pepper, jalapeno or habanera. You can use more or less pepper, depending on what kind of sharpness you like your chicken. Be careful when working with scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, they are VERY  hot, just wear disposable gloves or be sure to wash your hands well when you are done.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

By Olya Sandstrom Published: March 4, 2013

  • Yield: 5 Servings
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Ready In: 9 hrs 0 min

For the spices you can use garlic, cloves, nutmeg, onion, thyme, salt and cinnamon. In Jamaica they use mostly pork or chicken but fish is also popular. The traditional way of cooking is on a grill over real wood but if this is impossible find a few sprigs of rosemary, fragrant berries and bay leaf into the coals for more flavorful meat. Because the jerk marinade can burn easily, the chicken requires slow cooking on the grill, which also helps keep the meat moist. Marinate the meat or chicken from 8 hours or more, but for best results, it's better to leave in the marinade overnight. Serve with a salad, rice and red beans or vegetables.



  1. Chop the chicken thighs into 2-3 pieces and place in a bowl or in a large freezer bag.
  2. Put all ingredients into a food processor and mix into a puree, then pour this over the chicken and mix well. Tightly close the bowl or bag and let it marinate in the refrigerator at least eight hours or overnight for the best results.
  3. Preheat the grill, it should be a medium to low heat. Remove excess marinade from the chicken, then brush all sides with oil and grill for 30-45minutes, turning often to optimize cooking and browning.
  4. Alternatively you can cook in your oven, just put the chicken on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven to 190'C (375f) for 45 minutes, turning a couple times
  5. If you are cooking with chicken breasts, let the cooked chicken sit for 10 minutes before cutting into quarters.

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