Courtesy of Tayyabah Jones

Have you ever wanted a taste of Jamaica without paying the price of the flight? Well, my jerk chicken recipe  is the perfect way to tantalise your taste buds, and allow them to travel to Jamaica without breaking the bank (and minus the post-holiday blues). The only thing jerk chicken really requires is to be cooked with some love, joy and the right seasoning.  

An authentic taste of Jamaica

This recipe is truly splendid and flavoursome. I suggest you try it immediately since it brings a whole family, if not a community, together in a bundle of joy. It is also a beautiful summer barbeque idea which will no doubt make it one to remember.

Jerk Chicken FAQ 

What exactly is Jerk seasoning?

A blend of various spices and herbs which is wet marinated or dry rubbed on a variety of different meats. Its origins go back to the indigenous tribes of Jamaica (the Arawak, Amerindians and the Tainos) who intermingled with runaway West African slaves.  The three main key ingredients for any Jerk seasoning are Thyme,  pimento berries (allspice, which can be described as an aromatic mixture of cinnamon), clove, nutmeg and Scotch bonnet, which is a very hot, yet sweet and fragrant chilli pepper.  Other common spices and herbs are also added to this.

What is the best way to cook Jerk Chicken?

I would say cooking jerk chicken over the barbeque grill accentuates its gorgeous flavours and textures. Although preferences vary, my advice is to cook jerk chicken in the way that is easiest and works best for you.  

Can you have Jerk Chicken on its own or do you HAVE to have it with something else?

Honestly, it really does not matter and also it depends on how much time you have on your hands because the dish can be quite a time-consuming work of art. However, if you have some time on your hands, I’d say cook it with one of our favourite side dishes, such as Jamaican rice and peas, or dumplings (watch this space for these complementing recipes)!

Ingredients

(These portion sizes are just guidelines as we Jamaicans like to improvise and usually end up putting a lot more of everything in!)

  • 6-8 Chicken pieces (I like to use chicken thighs)
  • 3-4 Spring Onions (scallions) 
  • Half a large onion
  • 4-5 Garlic cloves
  • A few sprigs of thyme (adjust to your taste)
  • A small part of a Scotch Bonnet pepper (be careful, these are hot!)
  • 3-4 teaspoons of olive oil 
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Jamaican Chicken Seasoning (I use Dunn’s River, yum! But whatever you can get hold of)
  • 1-2 Jamaican All Purpose Seasoning
  • 1-2 Pimento berries and/or allspice (you can grind up the pimento berries)
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • Pinch of mixed herbs 
  • 2-3 teaspoons Cajun spice (if you desire)
  • Paprika (again optional)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of Olive oil

To make a sauce:

  • Tomato ketchup 
  • Sweet Thai chilli sauce
  • A small drop of honey
  • A few teaspoons of Browning sauce (don’t overdo as it will make your chicken black! You only want enough to turn your chicken a nice brown colour)

Method 

  • First thing is to make the paste. Add your spring onion, half an onion, thyme, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, a little olive oil. Put into a blender and mix it into a paste. 
  • Wash your chicken in lemon juice; once this is done, add the paste to a bowl of  chicken.
  • Next, add (to your bowl of chicken) your chicken seasoning, all purpose seasoning, pimento berries (allspice), ground pepper, mixed herbs, cajun spice, browning sauce, paprika. Rub this well into your chicken and leave this to marinate for at least an hour (preferably overnight).
  • Add your marinated chicken into a baking tray, cover the tray with foil. Add to a preheated oven on a gas mark of 6 for about 30-40 minutes. 
  • Next, you need to make a sauce, so add to a bowl your tomato ketchup, thai chilli sauce and a bit of honey. Then add some boiled water to thin it down slightly and mix together. Make as much or little sauce as you want but if you are making rice alongside the chicken make more sauce so it overlays the rice too.
  • When your chicken is almost cooked through, remove the foil cover and coat the chicken with sauce.
  • Put the chicken back into the oven and cook for a further 20-30 minutes (I tend to turn the chicken over after about 10 minutes then turn back over). Cook till the chicken is cooked through. 
  • Your chicken can also be barbequed once you have marinated it. 

Take time to enjoy and feel free to share this recipe with others.

I’d love to hear from you, so let me know how it turns out for you!

Happy eating!!