Jerk chicken is a Jamaican chicken recipe made by grilling chicken that has been marinated with a spicy Caribbean seasoning commonly called the Jerk Seasoning. The taste of this Jerk chicken is savory and sour; having the smoky smell from the wood used for the grilling. It is delicious Jamaican food that you would like to try for dinner, chicken barbecue picnic, or for a summer outing.
What is Jerk Chicken?
Jack chicken simply refers to a spicy grilled chicken recipe that originated from Jamaican but is now found across the Caribbean. Jerk chicken is first prepared by cutting the chicken into strips and then marinating it with a spicy seasoning known as the Jamaican Jerk spice which could be dry-rubbed or wet. The main ingredients for the Jamaican Jerk spice are scotch bonnet peppers and allspice. Other ingredients such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, onions, salt, etc. are often added to the spice blend.
Jerk Chicken Video
- 1.5 kg of bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks. Other chicken parts can be used as well.
- 1 cup of Jerk Seasoning (Jamaican Jerk Spice). The Jerk spice serves as a marinade for the chicken. The seasoning can be wet or dry rubbed. The ingredients are made of allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, habenero (or scotch bonnet), onion, garlic, and fresh thyme. Others include brown sugar, browning or soy sauce, and chicken bouillon cube.
- One tbsp Browning
- 1 tsp of Salt and 1 tbsp of chicken seasoning cube (crushed)
- 1/4 cup of of Olive oil
How to Make Jerk Chicken
Jerking the chicken
- Make incisions on the chicken using a knife, this helps the ingredients to penetrate into the chicken, making it delicious and tasty. This process is what is known as “Jerking“.
- Bring your chicken pieces into a pan or a mixing bowl. You can use bone-in chicken or boneless chicken parts such as chicken breasts. You can pad the chicken dry with a paper towel to allow the marinade to coat well with the chicken.
Marinating the chicken
- Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil or any vegetable oil over the chicken. This serves as a carrier to help coat the marinade.
- Season your chicken with salt, chicken stock cube, and all-purpose seasoning. Also, add the Jerk seasoning generously to the chicken. The Jerk seasoning, which consists mainly of scotch bonnet and allspice is the main ingredient for this Jerk chicken recipe. You can make your own homemade Jerk seasoning in advance and store it in the fridge or freezer.
- Now, add some browning to it, about a tablespoon to help improve the color of the Jerk chicken.
- Next, put on your hand gloves and then mix and coat the chicken with the added spices and seasonings. Ensure the marinade gets into the poked holes or incisions. The Jerk seasoning is so spicy and may cause a burning sensation when you use your bare hands 9so remember to use your gloves).
- Once you are done marinating your chicken, cover it with a cling film and marinate the chicken in the fridge for at least 3 hours. You can marinate it over, which is better if you want. The longer you marinate your chicken, the more flavor and taste your Jerk chicken would be.
Baking the Jerk Chicken
- Next, line your baking tray with foil paper and then place an oven rack over it. Now, bring the marinated chicken over the oven rack. Arrange the chicken and give spaces in between to allow for proper baking/grilling. You can use an outdoor grill, an oven, or an air fryer for cooking the chicken; it all depends on how you want to cook your chicken.
- Grill or bake in the preheated oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 50 minutes to an hour. 35 minutes into the baking time, you can flip the chicken over to the other side to grill or bake as well. You can use the remaining marinade and coat the chicken again when you flip over.
- You can broil your chicken at the end of the baking to give the Jerk chicken a better browning.
- After an hour of baking or grilling, your easy homemade Jamaican Jerk chicken recipe is ready.
How to Grill Jerk Chicken
You can decide to grill the chicken instead of baking. Here are the steps to follow.
- Preheat your grill to a temperature of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit while cleaning the grates of the grill.
- Using a tong, pick an oiled paper towel to grease the grates of the grill – this prevents the chicken from sticking to the grates while it is grilling.
- Now, grill the chicken for about half an hour while flipping over to the other side in order to grill evenly.
- You can reduce the temperature if the chicken is quickly turning brown as you may end up with a charred chicken that has not been properly cooked at the same time.
Please note that Jamaican Jerk chicken is supposed to be juicy and flavorful; it is spicy and appears charred – anything otherwise means you did not prepare it well.
What can be eaten with Jerk chicken?
Jerk chicken can be eaten with rice and peas, or rice and pineapples for tasty Jamaican food. It can also be enjoyed the way it is or with some fresh fruits. You can also eat it with cajun rice, fried plantains, or Caribbean coleslaw.
Calories and Nutrition
A serving of Jerk chicken contains about 265 calories, 17 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbs, and 22 grams of protein.
It also contains 87 mg of cholesterol, 271 mg of potassium, and about 383 mg of sodium. Others include iron and calcium. The high sodium content makes it unhealthy for people with high blood pressure. Jerk chicken also contains some vitamins such as vitamins A and C together.
Other Jerk recipes you can try
If you don’t like the chicken recipe, you can try:
- The Jerk Pork
- Jerk Rasta Pasta
- The Jerk Salmon – any fish can be used also. The essence is using the Jerk marinade or seasoning on whatever you are grilling.
- Jerk Lamb – you can use cuts that are good for grilling such as the rump, ribs, loin, and legs.