This authentic Jamaican Jerk chicken recipe is marinated in a delicious blend of spices and grilled to perfection for the perfect weeknight meal!
Jerk chicken is absolutely jam packed with delicious flavor and it’s a meal the whole family will love. Whether using chicken breasts, or dark meat, there is something for everyone! You can now bring the Caribbean restaurant home to your house with this recipe because it’s actually quite a bit easier to make then you may have thought.
WHAT IS JERK CHICKEN MADE OF
There are basically two ways of making a classic jerk chicken marinade and that’s either by using a dry rub or a wet marinade to help season and tenderize the meat. In addition to the rub and marinade you will also need chicken parts such as breasts, legs, thighs and wings.
Some of the common dry rub ingredients are:
- all spice
The wet marinade, which is what I prefer because I believe it provides much more flavor and is closer to the real authentic version. The main ingredients for the wet marinade are:
- sweet onion
- scotch bonnet peppers
- all spice
- brown sugar
CHEF NOTE: There are more ingredients to be used in each flavoring agent method but these are the basics.
JERK CHICKEN MARINADE
Whenever it come to any marinade, especially a jerk chicken marinade, giving it enough time to infuse flavors is crucial. My suggestions is always at least overnight and up to 24 hours for maximum flavors. The marinade tenderizes the meat and flavors it incredibly.
Add the onions, garlic, sweet onions, lime zest, lime juice, soy sauce, salt, fresh thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, scotch bonnet peppers, brown sugar and oil to a food processor and process on high speed until it becomes thick. CHEF NOTE: It will resemble a gazpacho soup in consistency.
Pour the wet marinade into a plastic bag along with the chicken parts and marinate in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours before using.
PINEAPPLE RUM SAUCE
The pineapple rum sauce recipe is fantastic, easy to make and goes great over this jerk chicken to help cut some of the spice from the jerk chicken marinade. It will also be delicious with fish, pork or even poured over some ice cream!
- To make simply combine the rum, pineapple juice and brown sugar in a sauce pot and cook it over low heat reducing it to about 1/3 of the liquid.
HOW TO MAKE JERK CHICKEN
STEP 1: Make the marinade and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 24 hours.
STEP 2: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat 400° to 450°. CHEF NOTE: In most cases I recommend cooking on high heat but with the sugar and spices in the jerk chicken marinade it may have a tendency to burn so this should keep it safe from doing that.
STEP 3: Remove the chicken directly from the marinade straight to the hot grill. Flip the chicken over every 3 to 4 minutes so that it doesn’t burn. CHEF TIP: If the chicken is sticking while trying to flip it, let it cook until it removes from the grill grates with ease. If there is too much fire on the grill then learn my tricks on how to tone down the flames.
STEP 4: Cook the chicken until browned with a light char and when all of the chicken pieces have reached 165° internally.
STEP 5: Serve with optional Pineapple Rum Sauce to help cut some of the spice from jerk chicken marinade as well as some traditional Caribbean rice and beans.
BAKED OR GRILLED JERK CHICKEN
Jerk chicken is traditionally grilled, and I personally believe that light char further adds to the delicious complexity in the flavors of the jerk chicken.
However, if you are looking to bake the jerk chicken you can do so by removing the chicken from the marinade and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and bake at 400° for 30 to 35 minutes or until browned and 165° internally.
WHAT DOES JAMAICAN JERK CHICKEN TASTE LIKE
Jerk chicken has a wonderful combination of spices that make for a really complex zesty flavor. It has some spice with a hint of savory from the nutmeg and all spice with some hints of citrus and sweetness from the lime and sugar. The taste of jerk chicken is unique and nothing short of delicious.
IS JERK CHICKEN HEALTHY
Jerk chicken is relatively healthy since most of the ingredients are whole ingredients or spices. If you’d like to make it healthier then I would suggest removing the skin from the chicken to avoid any extra fat into the recipe.
Nothing says summer like some delicious Jamaican jerk chicken and this recipe is a must!
REHEATING: Add a 1/3 cup of chicken stock along with the chicken to pan, cover and cook in the oven at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes or until hot.
STORING AND FREEZING: Store the chicken in a covered container and hold in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The jerk chicken will actually freeze well and will hold covered in a container for up to 3 months. See reheating instructions below and be sure to thaw before doing so.
*If you love this jerk chicken recipe then you have to make my Roast Spatchcock Chicken Recipe and don’t forget to drop me a comment below and a rating if you’ve had the chance to make this amazing jerk chicken*
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe with Pineapple Rum Sauce
For the Chicken:
- 2 green onions
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1/2 chopped sweet onion
- juice of 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground allspice
- 4 scotch bonnet peppers seeds removed on 2 of them
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 6 chicken legs
- 6 chicken thighs
For the Pineapple Rum Sauce:
- 1/2 cup of dark rum
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of pineapple juice
- Chicken: In a blender combine all ingredients except the chicken and puree on high until it becomes a thick pasty liquid. Place the liquid in a plastic food bag along with the chicken and toss around to coat. let the bag marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, but overnight is recommended. Be sure to move the chicken around in the bag every few hours to make sure all the chicken is being marinated.
- Once the chicken is done, place on a medium-high grill (350° to 425°) and cook on all sides until golden brown and cooked through out. Let the chicken rest before serving.
- Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pot and cook on high heat until it is reduces by 2/3.
- Drizzle a small amount of the sauce on the grilled chicken.
- The marinade will resemble a gazpacho soup in consistency.
- When grilling, in most cases I recommend cooking on high heat but with the sugar and spices in the jerk chicken marinade it may have a tendency to burn so this should keep it safe from doing that.
- If the chicken is sticking while trying to flip it, let it cook until it removes from the grill grates with ease. If there is too much fire on the grill then learn my tricks on how to tone down the flames.
- REHEATING:Add a 1/3 cup of chicken stock along with the chicken to pan, cover and cook in the oven at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes or until hot.
- STORING AND FREEZING:Store the chicken in a covered container and hold in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The jerk chicken will actually freeze well and will hold covered in a container for up to 3 months. See reheating instructions below and be sure to thaw before doing so.