The Original Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

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The meat is placed directly on top of the green wood , then covered with big sheets of metal.

Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken

As the chicken cooks, it absorbs oils directly from the surface of the wood, and also gets imbued with the fragrant steam and smoke produced by the green wood and the charcoals underneath. Once the chicken is cooked—it takes about two hours for a butterflied chicken turned once— it's removed from the grill, stripped from the bone, and chopped up, all the better to expose it to fiery-hot Scotch bonnet sauce traditionally served on the side. Fiery, vinegary Scotch bonnet pepper sauce, to be eaten with jerk chicken or pork.

But let's back up a little bit, shall we?

Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Long before jerk chicken even hits that elaborate grill setup, it's soaked in a simple to make but complex-tasting marinade that gives the meat its sweet and spicy flavor. If you do an internet search for jerk chicken recipes, you're likely to find hundreds of different ideas of what goes into the traditional marinade. In Jamaica, the jerk chicken joints I visited were invariably reluctant to share exactly what goes into their house marinades, but there's an agreed-upon formula that forms the base of the marinade, which individual cooks or restaurants will riff on, changing an ingredient here, adding another one there.

The Secret to Jerk Chicken is Fire

The formula includes these ingredients:. Traditional jerk marinade ingredients, from back to front: soy sauce and sugar; whole Scotch bonnets and allspice berries; chopped ginger and scallions; fresh thyme and chopped Scotch bonnets. And that's it. Other common ingredients added to this base include ground cinnamon or nutmeg, brown or white sugar, vegetable oil, or soy sauce. Most cooks marinate their meat for as long as possible, at least 12 hours but sometimes up to As a result, the chicken is imbued with a ton of flavor before it even meets the coals and wood that will fill it with smokiness.

Well-made, authentic jerk chicken is addictive: It's both smoky and moist, sweet and spicy. The long marination and long cooking time leave it soft and tender, and the hot chile sauce typically served on the side cuts through the richness of the meat and keeps you going back for more. But there's another reason jerk is so dear to Jamaicans' hearts, and that's its long history on the island.

The method of cooking is said to have originated under the colonial rule, first of the Spanish and then of the British, in the s. Groups of African slaves that had been brought to Jamaica to work its sugar plantations escaped to the mountainous interior of the island, where the native Indian population also sought refuge from the colonizers. These escaped slaves, today referred to as Maroons, are said to have hunted the wild boar common to the region, then preserved it for days in a spice-heavy marinade.

In addition to being fierce warriors, the Maroons are also famous for giving the world Jerk Chicken. Today, most Jamaican cooks make their own unique jerk sauce with allspice or pimento as it is called there , thyme, and scotch bonnet peppers also referred to as habaneros in Spanish speaking countries being standard.

Tips: Like many of African descent, I grew up eating hot sauce so I love the heat. However, for novices I strongly suggest using a jalapeno or no pepper at all when first attempting to make Jerk Chicken. You can always add more heat later with a dash of hot sauce or a pinch of cayenne, according to your taste buds.


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But if you start off with scotch bonnet peppers, there will be no turning back! I recommend using the freshest ingredients you can find in your area. If you can find locally grown thyme, use that. Jerk Sauce is the blend of the African and European influences that represent Jamaica.

Best Jerk Chicken Recipe - How to Make Authentic Caribbean Jerk Chicken

Anchovy sauce, tamarind paste, garlic and onions are actually the basis of British condiment Worcestershire Sauce which was created in I found most of the ingredients, along with the Red Palm Oil, at a Chinese grocery store that specializes in international foods. Jamaicans keep jerk sauce on hand to use on pork, beef, lamb, fish, shrimp and vegetables. I like to bake my jerk chicken at degrees. Once the oven reaches degrees, place the chicken into the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove chicken and baste with the liquid that has drained from the jerk sauce and turn down the oven to degrees.

Cook for approximately 1 hour basting every 30 minutes. This really adds a lot of flavor from the marinade.

Jamaica Jerk Sauce - Homemade and Easy

Your email address will not be published. Recipe Rating. Treat Yourself! Grandbaby Cakes The best source for Southern recipes and Soul Food Recipes with a modern twist including cakes and savory dishes. What is Jerk Chicken? What is Jerk Sauce? Jamaican Jerk Chicken.

Course: Main Course. Cuisine: Caribbean.

How to Make Jerk Chicken

Keyword: caribbean, chicken dinner, chicken recipes, Jerk Chicken. Prep Time: 8 hours. Cook Time: 1 hour. Total Time: 9 hours.

Servings: 4 servings.