Jamaican Jerk Chicken - FINALLY!

I got a call from Tiffany who is my baby and going to college too far from home.  Ok, 250 miles isn't that far, but it might as well be China!  Tiffany was having a craving for Jamaican Jerk Chicken.  She requested that I make this for her when she came home.  Well, she came home so I thought this would be a great recipe to blog.  I usually make this during the summer and grill vegies to accompany the chicken.  Wouldn't you know that it has rained non-stop all day.  So I'm grilling in the rain.  YES, the chicken could have been baked in the oven, but I really love the grill flavor.  Thank you, Tiffany for requesting Jerk!  Chicken that is!  Not the guys she dates (hahahaha...love you).

These few simply ingredients will make a powerful chicken.  With the exception of the habanero chiles, I keep everything here on hand.  They are part of my pantry staples. 

From the produce department you will need the following:  Shallots, green onions, garlic, hananero chiles, and fresh thyme.

From your pantry cupboard you will need:  salt, pepper, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, cinnamon, ground allspice and oil (whatever you have will work).

Just roughly chop your produce.

In a blender or food processor add the shallots...

...green onions...

...hot motha habanero chiles.  A word of advise...you may want to wear rubber gloves when handling these babies.  They are deadly.  If you don't wear gloves while chopping, do NOT rub your eyes, scratch anything, pick your nose, one other thing I can't mention (too embarassing).  You get the drift...

If you are serving this to small children, you may want to omit the habanero's.  If you are a pansy and can't take the heat you can just add one.  But you HAVE to add at least one for heaven sake.  My family gets annoyed with pansy people who say they don't like spicey foods.  Buck up!  If you are not a pansy try adding 4 habanero chiles and marinate for 48 hours.  That's some *** kickin heat!

...garlic and ginger...


...salt and pepper...

...cinnamon and allspice...

...ground cloves and ground nutmeg...

...and the oil.

Not necessarily in that order.  You can reverse the order and it will still turn out the same.

Turn on the blender or food processor.

Let it rip!

Blend until it becomes a smooth green paste.  Now don't look and this and say, "Ewww it's thick green goop".  Look at this and say, "wow look at this beautiful green paste of flavors that will penetrate my chicken to the bone." 

Another helpful hint:  DO NOT inhale the vapors of this paste.  They carry a punch! 

Place the chicken in a resealable bag.  Ewww that bone looks kind of disgusting - sorry.  I always use bone in chicken with the skin for this recipe.  I like the flavor and moisture.  I'm sure you could use boneless skinless.  I have never tried it, just don't over cook or your will have extremely spicey dried out breasts!

Pour the jerk paste over the chicken.  Squish it around to make sure that all of the chicken pieces are well coated.

Zip the bag closed and place it on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 24 hours or 48 hours if you want it to knock your socks off.

Heat your gas grill up to 500 degrees.  If you are using charcoal, use the 5 second rule.  Place your hand about 5 inches from the coals and hold it there for 3-5 seconds.  After the gas grill is heated turn the burners to low and turn one off.  Place the chicken on the grill skin sides down on the burner without the heat.  This is called off set grilling.  Keeping the other burners on will keep the grill nice and hot without burning your chicken.  Grill for about 15 minutes per side.  Watch carefully not to burn the chicken.

Alternately, you can place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 450 degree oven.  Cook for about 25-30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.  Then turn on broiler and broil chicken until the skin is crisp, 2-3 minutes.

You may want to lightly oil the rack to prevent the chicken from sticking.

It's still raining!  Oops I had a little stickage.  No problem.  Cook another 15 minutes after turning.

I decided to grill some pineapple and lime halves.  The grilled limes are awesome squeezed over the chicken.

You probably noticed that my grill is a hundred years old.  It's a Webber and I LOVE IT!  Can't part with it.  Someday I'll get a big daddy Webber.  Mothers Day????  I TOTALLY deserve it.

It's still raining...

There you have it - Jamaican Jerk Chicken.  Definately not for the spicey impared.  It's still raining!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

3 fresh habanero chiles, discard stems and coarsely chop
6 green onions, coarsely chopped
3 shallots, quartered
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoons ground cloves
¼ cup oil
1 whole chicken, cut up

Cut and wash chicken or just buy one pre-cut.  Cut several 1-inch long slits in each piece of chicken. Set aside. Combine all other ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until a paste forms. Place the chicken in a re-sealable bag or deep dish. Pour Jerk paste over chicken. Reseal bag. Move the chicken pieces around to make sure that the paste covers the entire piece. Place on a baking sheet or plate skin side down and refrigerate overnight.  Makes 8 servings.

Try to marinate chicken at least 8 hours. I have marinated for as long as 48 hours. Wow was the flavor INTENSE!

As you bite into this grilled chicken, your mouth will explode as the different flavors come through. If you were tough enough to use all three habanero chiles, you will start to feel the heat build up in your mouth then it will linger in your throat. It’s a Jamaican party in your mouth, man.


  1. Way excited for this one--making it later this week. I have been unhappy with all the jerk recipes I've tried the last few years and this one looks great. I'll be adding a splash of rum to the marinade--it's the only thing we liked about the last jerk recipe we tried, from my culinary textbook. No, we haven't become lushes... just use it for cooking.

    It's funny, we keep habaneros on hand. We use them probably twice a week (don't ask our guts how they like it, they'll let you know). Got ten habanero plants going in my windowsill to plant in a couple weeks... YUM.

  2. I'm so proud of you and your husband. Way to take the heat. I really want to plant some habanero's myself. I had one plant one year and had enough to last me the summer. So awesome.

  3. jerk chicken recipe spice is mostly a mixture of Jamaican pimento and Scotch bonnet peppers, but small amounts of other spices are added to the mixture as well, and these normally include cinnamon, cloves, garlic, nutmeg, scallions, and thyme.