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A flavorful Jerk Chicken recipe with marinade that season chicken with ton of flavor in very less time. Flavor is SO good, you will grill it all summer long.

Jerk Chicken with Amazing Jerk Marinade

The best Jerk Chicken recipe with a well seasoned and flavorful Jerk Chicken Marinade. This Jerk Chicken marinade loads chicken with ton of flavor in just 30 minutes. 

Three reasons: 1) Marinade has consistency of paste that sticks to chicken making a flavorful seasoned skin. 2) Marinade ingredients tenderize chicken with lot of flavor from inside. 3) I pound chicken (jerk) slightly with meat-ponder to allow marination sink-in deep. Result?  In 30 minutes, chicken is bursting with aroma of herbs, garlic, ginger and spices. Ready to join grill and become the ultimate "Jerk Chicken"!

Jerk Chicken tends to be bit spicy. But don't worry if you are not a heat-seaker. I'm sharing details to control the heat in marinade with easy-to-find local grocery ingredients. Don't miss to read. It is you passport to Caribbean flavors from your own backyard.

So, let's grill some Jerk Chicken today!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken

Jerk literally means "poke". I like to use this technique to let marinade sink deep into the chicken. Specially if you using bone-in chicken, I highly recommend slightly poking the chicken with knife at few places or use a meat-pounder to beat it slightly. This creates pockets in  chicken which soak the flavor from jerk marinade deep into thickest parts of the chicken. The resulting, just short marinated grilled Jerk Chicken is so well seasoned and delicious.. you will love the flavors. 

Jerk Chicken Marinade:

Jerk chicken is all about the marinade. A good jerk marinade will make this Jamaican chicken recipe sing with flavors.  

Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken marinade has signature flavor of two ingredients: All-Spice (it is one spice, not many spices together), and Scotch Bonnet peppers. SO, no matter what else you use, a best jerk chicken recipe starts with two ingredients: all-spice and bonnet peppers. Other Jerk chicken marinade ingredients are : thyme, ginger, garlic, scallion, lime juice, sugar, salt and black pepper. 

All-Spice is all you need: When making wet marinade for Jerk Chicken, I don't use other warm spices such as - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. All-Spice does all the work. True to it's name, it is very flavorful and has aroma of all these spices. That said, if I'm making a dry jerk spiced-rub chicken, I add more for additional depth of flavor. But that is whole new post. I hope to share in future.

Grilled Jerk Chicken

Scotch Bonnet is NOT Habanero:

When I was working on this recipe, I was surprised to notice how every online recipe is replacing Scotch Bonnet peppers with Hebaneros. Where second is far more hot than first. A marinade with 4 habneros will be super hot. So, I use these peppers based on their heat level. Idea is to add pepper flavor yet keep the heat to medium. We eat pretty spicy food. If you don't. Don't worry! Use following chat to adjust the heat of marinade based on your preference and availability.

Traditional Jerk Chicken Marinade gets heat and flavor of chilies from Scotch Bonnet Pepper. However, I seldom find Scotch Bonnet peppers in my grocery store. So, either I order online or use following substitute for bonnet pepper based on desired heat preference. Use peppers in Jerk Marinade as per the desired heat.  
Mild Hot: Use one jalapeno. Remove seeds and inner membrane. 
Medium: Use only one serrano. Remove seeds and inner membrane.
Medium-high Hot: Use one serrano and 1 Habanero.
Hot: Well, you don't want to go there.

Grilled Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas and Mango Salsa

What to serve with Jerk Chicken?

Traditionally Jerk Chicken is served with side of rice and peas. I also serve few other sides which balances the flavor of spices in Jerk Chicken. Like today I served it with rice and peas, and mango strawberry salsa. 

Best Ever Jerk Chicken

I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

Happy Cooking!

-Savita

Pairing Ideas:

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Jerk Chicken with Amazing Jerk Marinade

Jerk Chicken with Amazing Jerk Marinade
Total Time Prep Time Cook Time Difficulty Easy Yields 6-8 Servings Serves 6 Notes Additional Marination Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

    Jerk Chicken
  • 4 lbs Chicken  (6-8 skin-less chicken thighs)
  • 5 Garlic  (cloves)
  • 4-5 Green Onion  (scallions, green and white part rough chopped)
  • 1/4 Cup Shallot Onions  (1 shallot, rough chopped)
  • 2 tbsp Lime  (juice, plus more wedges for serving.)
  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar  
  • 1.5 tbsp Brown Sugar  
  • 1 tbsp All Spice  (ground, 1 tsp more)
  • 1 inch Ginger  (fresh root, rough chopped)
  • 1 Bunch Thyme  (0.5 oz fresh thyme package)
  • 1 Serrano pepper  
  • 1 Habanero Chiles  
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper  (freshly ground)
  • 1/2 tbsp Salt  
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil  
  • For serving (optional)
  • Salsa  
  • Rice  

Directions

  • 1. Make Jerk Chicken Marinade - In a food processor jar, combine all ingredients listed in Jerk Chicken list except chicken. Pulse to make a fine pureed marinade paste. Transfer paste to a wide bowl.
    Additional Notes
    This marinade is medium-high spicy. See Note 1 to adjust heat - less or more as per your preference.
  • 2. Marinate Chicken - Place chicken on a work board. Using meat tenderizer, pound slightly from both sides. Add chicken to bowl with marinade. Using tongues, coat chicken in marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (up-to 8 hours).
  • 3. Grill - Pre-heat a barbecue grill to medium. Spray grill with cooking oil spray. Transfer chicken to a wide plate. Season lightly with remaining 1 tsp of all-spice. Place chicken on grill. Cook on low-medium heat until chicken is fully cooked.
  • 4. Serve Jerk Chicken with lime wedges, salsa, and rice. Enjoy.
Savita's Notes:
  1. Traditional Jerk Chicken Marinade gets heat and flavor of chilies from Scotch Bonnet Pepper. However, I seldom find Scotch Bonnet peppers in my grocery store. So, either I order online or use following substitute for bonnet pepper based on desired heat preference.
    Use peppers in Jerk Marinade as per the desired heat.  
    Mild Hot: Use one jalapeno. Remove seeds and inner membrane. 
    Medium: Use only one serrano. Remove seeds and inner membrane.
    Medium-high Hot: Use one serrano and 1 Habanero
    Hot: Well, you don't want to go there.

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2 comment(s)

  1. This is one of the best jerk chicken I have seen in a while.. So yummy and juicy.

    Thanks Arpita. Jerk marinade is full of bold flavor spices and herbs. It makes chicken amazingly juicy and delicious.