I’ve just nipped a piece for myself. I couldn’t resist.
There are a few reasons why I choose to make Jerk Chicken a summer BBQ staple, First of all, it’s fun finger food that can be enjoyed while mingling on a patio or porch. Secondly, it’s stupidly easy. Thirdly, well, 2 1/2 million Jamaicans can’t be wrong.
This recipe makes enough for around 8 people. If you are bringing it for a BBQ potluck, serve it as is, with a good hot sauce.* If you are making it as part of a meal, serve it up with some traditional Jamaican Rice and Peas, some cold veggies, and, of course, a good hot sauce.*
I’m not exactly sure where I originally got the recipe for this from. I do know that it has undergone quite a few changes before it got to the recipe you see now.
And the recipe you see now is one of my absolute favourites. It’s also impressed the heck out of a number of born and bred Jamaicans — including a couple of older ladies who were convinced I had a secret Jamaican chef to do all my prep-work for me.
Nope. No Jamaicans. Just some Farm to Table love.
- 3 lbs chicken drumsticks and thighs (you can split whole chicken legs rather than buying separately).
- 3 green onions
- 4-5 garlic cloves (depending on size)
- 1 small onion
- 3 habaneros, whole (if I’m cooking for those who are used to Jamaican food, I use a couple more)
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Place all ingredients (except for the chicken) into a food processor.
- Process it on “turbo” setting until it is a smooth liquid (or as smooth as it gets — there will probably be a bit of clumpiness).
- Pour over chicken.
- Marinate overnight.
- Preheat BBQ on high.
- Place chicken on BBQ and reduce heat to medium.
- Cook — checking and turning frequently — until the chicken starts to brown.
- Move browned pieces to upper shelf.
- Once all pieces are browned, cook for another 15 minutes or so on the upper shelf with the lid closed. If there are flare-ups, turn off one side of the BBQ and place chicken pieces on the upper shelf of that side.
- Officially, chicken is done when it reaches 165F. Here’s my deal, though. I tend to only cook it to 155 and then let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. It will reach a safe serving temperature. Note: I do not do this if I am catering/cooking for a crowd.
Serve with a good hot sauce.
*I have my own homemade hot sauce for jerk chicken. Sorry, but I’m not sharing the recipe. I sell the sauce — “The Habarnero Death” — and also use it for Farm to Table prizes. One day, when I’m old and grey and retired, I’ll share it. But until then, find your own. A hint though. It contains: orange juice, lime juice, habaneros, crushed mustard seed, brown sugar, and my own blend of fresh-ground herbs and spices. It is very hot. And very, very good.