Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Author: Marthinus Strydom
Category: Chicken
Serves/Qty: 1.00
Heidi Strydom

It's fragrant, fiery hot, and smoky all at once.

Marthinus Strydom

The Story

Jamaican Jerk Chicken's history originates from the indigenous Arawak/Taíno peoples of Jamaica, who used a unique method of smoking and drying meat in the sun or over a slow fire. This technique was later adapted and evolved with the arrival of African slaves and European settlers, who introduced new ingredients and spices. The term "jerk" possibly derives from the Spanish word "charqui," meaning dried meat, or from the practice of jerking (poking) holes in the meat to fill with spices. Over time, this blend of techniques and flavors transformed into the spicy, aromatic jerk seasoning known today, commonly used on chicken and other meats, and has become a symbol of Jamaican cuisine and culture.

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Adjust Quanities

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 medium scallions, chopped
2 scotch bonnet chiles, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp (3 Teaspoons) five-spice powder
1 tbsp (3 Teaspoons) allspice berries, coarsely ground
1 tbsp (3 Teaspoons) coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp kosher salt
0.50 cup (24 Teaspoons) soy sauce
1 tbsp (3 Teaspoons) vegetable oil
2 chickens, quartered


  1. In a food processor, combine the onion, scallions, chiles, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, pepper, thyme, nutmeg, and salt; process to a coarse paste. With the machine on, add the soy sauce and oil in a steady stream. Pour the marinade into a large, shallow dish, add the chicken, and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature before proceeding.

  2. Light a grill. Grill the chicken over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. (Cover the grill for a smokier flavor.) Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve.