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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

No recipe image available.Aromatic spices and fiery HOT Scotch bonnet chiles (also known as habanero chiles) typify the classic Jamaican jerk chicken. For a milder version substitute with jalapeño chiles.

Recipe Ingredients:

Jerk Marinade:
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions (green onions)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground Jamaican pimento (allspice)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 scotch bonnet or habanero chile pepper, finely ground (see note)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar

2 whole chickens, cut-up into serving pieces

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Jerk Marinade: Mix together all ingredients in blender or food processor, processing to combine well.
  2. Rub the chicken with Jerk Marinade and place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  3. Arrange chicken on prepared grill*, skin side down. Baste frequently** and turn chicken about every 10 minutes. Over a slow fire (which is preferred), the chicken will cook in approximately 1 1/2 hours. Over a hotter grill, it will take about 40 minutes. Chicken is done when the flesh feels firm and juices run clear when pricked with a fork.

Makes 8 servings.

*For authentic Jamaican flavor, allspice (pimento) wood is added to the coals. Apple wood or hickory may be substituted. Coals should be white when chicken is placed on grill

**The National Chicken Council recommends dividing the marinade, using a portion for marinating chicken and reserving a portion for basting.

Note: Also called Habanero peppers, it is one of the hottest chili peppers in existence. The Scotch Bonnet/Habanero is rated at 100,000 to 300,000 Scoville Units (degree of hotness), whereas the Jalapeño pepper is rated at 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville Units. Observe extreme caution when preparing these peppers. We advise you to wear rubber gloves during their preparation and to thoroughly wash your hands, cutting board and utensils thoroughly after preparation—and above all please remember NOT to rub your eyes or any other sensitive areas when working with these peppers!

Recipe provided courtesy of the National Chicken Council. Used with permission.