A taste of the Caribbean – Jamaican style Jerk Chicken!

Need a break from winter? Temperatures are slowly rising but why not transport yourself to the Caribbean while you wait with BBQ Tip’s Jerk Chicken recipe! After all it is the birthplace of barbecue!

Jerk chicken is a unique blend of African, European, Indian and Asian flavours. Traditional Jerk combines the flavours of allspice, scotch bonnet peppers, green onion, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. It is a heady combination of aromatic spices and heat, that makes for a pungently addictive marinade.

Safety First!

*Be extremely careful when working with chillies such as Scotch Bonnet or Habanero peppers. They are extremely hot! Don’t touch your eyes after handling as it will be very painful. Wear disposable gloves or be sure to wash your hands well when you’re done.

You will need:

  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into large chunks
  • 2 spring onions, quartered
  • 1 Scotch bonnet seeded and roughly chopped (you can use more or fewer peppers depending on how fiery you like your chicken)
  • 2 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon Asian five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 60ml soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 (1kg) Chicken drumsticks or thighs (It’s best to use bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, as the flavour is better and they are much easier to cook on the grill.)


1. Begin by making the marinade. Combine all of the ingredients except for the chicken in a food processor and process until the vegetables are purees and the mixture is relatively smooth.

2. Place the chicken pieces and the marinade in a large Ziploc bag; squeeze air out and seal tightly. Shake or roll the chicken around to coat evenly with the marinade. Place the bag in a bowl (in case of leakage) and place in the fridge to marinate overnight.

2. Fire up the grill and preheat over a medium-high heat. Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, carefully rub over the grates several times until glossy and coated to stop any meat or sauce sticking.

3. Place the chicken on the grill skin side down, making sure it is well coated with marinade for maximum flavour. Cover and cook, turning occasionally, until the skin is browned and crisp but not charred! (about 10 minutes). After this, turn the chicken pieces skin side up and either turn the heat down to medium-low or move the chicken to a cooler part of the grill. Continue cooking, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Jerk chicken has such a rich flavour that you don’t need a fancy accompaniment to go with this dish. Just a few dishes we recommend include, sweet potato fries, rice or a classic garden salad for those hot garden days.

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