Jerk Chicken

Amarachi Irobi
Amarachi Irobihttp://@Amara_ii
My name is Amarachi Irobi, a content writer and food lover who loves to explore traditional African cuisine.
- Advertisement -
Jerk Chicken is one of the most delicious marinade recipes you’ll ever come across. Jerk chicken has a bursting fresh flavor, and while the components may appear odd when combined, they create a great,  and well-balanced flavor. It all goes so well with chicken.
Jerk refers to a cooking style in which the main ingredient, usually chicken but also beef, pork, goat, boar, seafood, or vegetables, is coated in spices and slow-cooked over a fire or grill traditionally made of green pimento wood positioned over burning coals; the resulting smoke is key to the dish’s flavor. 
The Taino invented the jerk method, which was then taught to African slaves, who altered it to make jerk chicken. The word jerk reportedly stems from the Spanish charqui, meaning dried strips of meat similar to the modern-day jerky.

What is Jerk Chicken?

Jerk Chicken is a famous Jamaican dish often paired with Jamaican Rice and Peas. The chicken is being soaked with Jerk Seasoning and Jerk Marinade. The longer you marinate the chicken, the tastier your chicken will be.

The jerk marinade usually consists of blended spices and seasonings such as cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, and salt.

What Are the Three Main Ingredients of Jerk?

There are three main ingredients in jerk spices: 
  • Scotch bonnet
  • Allspice
  • Thyme.

What Makes Jerk Chicken Jerk?

The word jerk reportedly stems from the Spanish charqui, meaning dried strips of meat similar to the modern-day jerky. In Jamaica, jerk chicken is famous for its pungent marinade, marked by allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers, which are similar to habanero chili peppers.

Is Eating Jerk Chicken Healthy?

Jerk chicken is one of the healthier options if consumed in a balanced diet that consists of fibrous and complex carbohydrates. The chicken itself is a lean meat and is one of the healthiest options, especially if you opt for chicken breast.

Jerk Chicken Vs Curry Chicken

Jerk is a method of cooking using a rub made of scotch bonnet peppers, scallions, garlic and then cooking slowly over a low fire similar to American BBQ, curry is a spice and used to make a dish very similar to a stew.

How to Make Jerk Chicken –

Grill Method

  • In a blender, combine green onions, garlic, jalapeño, lime juice, oil, brown sugar, allspice, thyme, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons water and blend until smooth. Set aside 1⁄4 cup.
  • Place chicken in a shallow dish and season with salt. Pour remaining marinade over chicken; toss to coat. Let marinate in the fridge, turning once or twice, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  • When ready to grill, heat grill to medium-high and oil grates. Grill chicken, turning occasionally until chicken is charred in spots, about 10 minutes.
  • Move chicken to a cooler part of the grill and brush with reserved marinade. Grill, covered, until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes more.

How to Bake Jerk Chicken – Oven Method

  • Heat oven and prepare baking sheet: preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 18 by 13-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Arrange marinated chicken on sheet: remove chicken from marinade and arrange pieces on baking sheet leaving space between them.
  • Bake to 165 degrees in center: bake in preheated oven until cooked through, about 45 – 50 minutes, while broiling during the last few minutes for better browning.

Tips to Make The Best Jerk Chicken

  • For the finest flavor, only use fresh ingredients (no dried powders). The fact that almost everything in the recipe is fresh is what makes this chicken so delicious!
  • Allow at least hours and up to 24 hours to marinate the chicken so the flavors can fully seep in.
  • If you want the tastiest and tender chicken, skip the breasts and opt for the thighs.
  • Do you want to get the most taste out of your food? some of the marinades should be rubbed under the skin of the chicken(just be careful not to tear it off).
  • If you’re grilling, bear in mind that each grill cooks a little differently, so keep an eye on it.  
  • Reduce the temperature as needed to achieve blackened but not too scorched chicken.

What Sides to Serve with Jerk Chicken?

Easter Meal Ideas Jerk chicken


  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium scallions, chopped
  • 2 Scotch bonnet chilies, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries, coarsely ground
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Two 3 1/2- to 4-pound chickens, quartered


  • In a food processor, combine the onion, scallions, chilies, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, and pepper, thyme, nutmeg and salt; process to a coarse paste.
  • With the machine on, add the soy sauce and oil in a steady stream. Pour the marinade into a large, shallow dish, add the chicken and turn to coat.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature before proceeding.
  • Light a grill. Grill the chicken over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. (Cover the grill for a smokier flavor.)
  • Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Share this post:
Amarachi Irobi
Amarachi Irobihttp://@Amara_ii
My name is Amarachi Irobi, a content writer and food lover who loves to explore traditional African cuisine.

Must Try Recipes

You'll also love