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Jamaican | Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Posted on March 30, 2014

To get 3 cups of the Jerk Marinade, you need to double the marinade recipe below. It really just depends on how much chicken you are cooking. We cooked breast, legs, and thigh pieces. The breasts were too dry. The legs and thighs turned out great. The recipe says that the grease from the skin would prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill, but I had problems with it sticking and recommend oiling your grill before cooking. Also I had trouble keeping my grill at a low temperature. I pulled the chicken off after an hour and fifteen minutes. We loved this dish! Super tasty!

Yield: 6 servings

Jamaican Jerk Chicken



2 chickens (about 3 1/2 pounds each), cut into serving pieces (I like using just legs and thighs)

3 cups Jerk Marinade



1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped scallions

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground Jamaican allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 habanero, jalapeño, or serrano chili, chopped

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar




In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients and process until smooth. Store leftover marinade in the refrigerator in a tightly closed jar for about 1 month.


Put the chicken in a large dish and pour over 2 cups of the marinade. Turn the chicken pieces over to coat them completely, cover, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

For authentic flavor, build a low fire in a charcoal grill with a combination of charcoal and pimento wood and hold the temperature around 225°F. If you don't have pimento wood, substitute apple wood or hickory, or use all charcoal. If using a gas grill, preheat to 225° to 250°F. Place the chicken pieces on the grill, skin side down. This will grease the grill and prevent the chicken from sticking. Cover the grill and cook the chicken, basting frequently with the remaining 3/4 cup marinade and turning the chicken every 10 minutes or so, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The chicken is done when the flesh feels firm and the juices run clear when the meat is pricked with a fork, and the internal temperature is 160°F.


(Ref. "Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken" recipe, page 43, "Jerk Marinade" recipe, page 8, Jerk from Jamaica.)