Grilled Jamaican Jerk Chicken

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If you’re tired of making the same old boring grilled chicken, this jerk chicken is a terrific way to change things up.

This jerk marinade strikes the ideal blend of sweetness and spice, caramelizing and crusting up with a little of char when grilled.

Grilled Jerk chicken

Grilled Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jerk refers to a method of preparing meat, such as chicken, hog, goat, and fish, with a spicy spice blend in the form of a dry rub, marinade, or paste.

For this dish, I’m utilizing a dry rub method on chicken.

Some culinary historians believe that the term Jerk is originated from the Peruvian word Charqui, which best defines what we know as Jerky, dried strips of spiced pork.

Others believe that the name Jerky or Charqui was modified through time to Jerking, which means to punch holes in the flesh so the spice may permeate easier.

Others believe the term Jerk is derived from the twisting of meat in the marinade or from jerking a strip of cooked pork. At the end of the day, regardless of how it came to be, I’m glad it made it to my BBQ and dinner plate.

Continue reading for our complete recipe instructions, or watch the video to see the whole procedure from start to end.

What you will need to make jerk chicken

Grilled Jamaican Jerk Chicken

This dish may be made with any cut of chicken. One excellent alternative is to purchase a whole chicken and chop it up into pieces. I used skinless thigh fillets for this dish. I feel that thigh fillets or dark meat retains moisture much better.

One to two thigh fillets per person are recommended. Or around 2.2 to 2.5 pounds of chicken to serve six people.

Obviously, it depends on the size of thigh fillets available at the moment. I usually make extra for a late-night snack or to cut up and use in hot tacos the next day.

  • Charcoal grill, Im using a 22 Weber Kettle.
  • Good quality lump charcoal.
  • A good quality internal thermometer.
  • A boning or trimming knife.
  • Juice crevices in a butcher block or chopping board.
  • A food processor (optional, but makes things simpler).
  • Food safe gloves.

Making the jerk marinade

It wouldn’t be Jerk Chicken if we didn’t season our chicken with a Jerk marinade, rub, or sauce, would it?

This Jerk marinade has a strong taste that is powerful and rich, with a wonderful sweetness that caramelizes and crusts up with a little of char when grilled.

This dish couldn’t be simpler to prepare; just combine all of the ingredients in a blender and mix.

one, and this is a major one, while handling the chilies, use gloves. The last thing you want is to get chili on your hands and rub your eyes, or worse, smear it over your face. So be warned: gloves are essential.

I really suggest making this ahead of time so that the ingredients may mingle and generate a deeper flavor.

Prepping the chicken

We’ll be jerking the chicken, which involves punching holes in the chicken thigh fillets to enable the marinade to penetrate the flesh easier.

I’ll be utilizing a jaccard, which can be obtained from any Chinese supermarket or purchased on Amazon.

Although we are using skinless fillets, you may see little fragments of skin on the sides of the fillet; you may remove this if you choose, but I do not.

I exclusively use skinless meat since the marinade does not have to penetrate the skin to flavor the meat.

Because we’ll be leaving the fillets whole, all we have to do is place them in a bowl and top with the jerk marinade. Mix it in well, making sure that every piece of chicken is coated.

Then cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for at least 12 hours; I usually marinate mine for 24 hours. This just enables the tastes to thoroughly infiltrate the flesh, leaving you with a wonderfully pleasant spice sensation with every mouthful.

Setting up your grill

For the Jerk chicken, we’ll need to set up a two-zone cooking approach. This implies a colder indirect side and a hotter direct side for grilling.

We’ll be lighting a lump charcoal chimney since it burns hotter than briquettes and adds a lovely charcoal taste to our chicken.

When the charcoal is completely ashy, set it on one side of the charcoal grate, replace the grilling grate, and close the lid.

Allow the grill to heat up for at least five minutes before adding the chicken. For today’s cook, we’ll aim for temperatures slightly over 400F in our hotter zone. So I left all of my Weber vents open.

Lift the cover after five minutes and gently oil the grates; best to do this with tongs or heatproof gloves. I soak some paper towels in oil to make this process much simpler.

Cooking the Jerk Chicken

It’s now time to put the chicken on. The chicken will be placed on the other side of the charcoal, known as the indirect cooking zone or the cooler portion. So take the chicken out of the marinade but save the marinade for basting later.

I prefer to monitor the chicken’s internal temperature using an internal temperature probe, so enter this immediately. Replace the lid and position the lid vent directly over the top of the chicken to pull heat up and over the bird.

To begin, cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of roughly 150F.

Then we’ll raise the top and begin laying pieces of chicken directly over the charcoal, flipping and basting often with the remaining marinade.

Keep an eye on the inside temperature using an instant read thermometer, such as a Thermapen.

Internal temperature should be 165F at the thickest section of each thigh fillet.

Remove off the grill after each piece reaches 165F internal temperature and set aside for at least 5 minutes to enable the juices to redistribute.

It won’t take much longer since they are simply thigh fillets; if it were a full or half chicken, you’d let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes.

Serving suggestions

Because this Jerk chicken is somewhat spicy, I prefer to serve it with something light, such as a salad or rice and delightful mango salsa.

It may be used as a pizza topping, in tacos, chopped up, and in crusty vienna style buns with melted cheese on top.

The nicest aspect about this recipe is that you can modify the heat to your preference without much consideration.

If it’s too spicy, use less chili; if it’s not hot enough, use more chili.

This recipe is a fantastic medium starting place for me, but if you want to live on the more daring side, add an additional chile or two and you should be able to obtain the spicy stuff you desire.

As usual, having a cold beer on hand with any BBQ cuisine helps to chill the palate if the spice is a touch too strong.



What’s the difference between jerk chicken and grilled chicken?

According to Delroy Dixon, proprietor and chef of Caribbean bistro Rhythm Kitchen, which has two locations in East London, the main difference between jerk chicken and standard BBQ chicken is the spice.

What’s the difference between Jamaican jerk and Caribbean jerk?

While both jerk and creole spices have delicious flavors, they are not interchangeable. Jerk seasoning is connected with Caribbean cuisine and originated in Jamaica. Jerk spice combination is significantly hotter and more flavorful. It makes use of spicy spices like as allspice and chiles that are not present in creole seasoning.

Is BBQ jerk chicken the same as jerk chicken?

Jerk is a Jamaican culinary method in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a strong spice combination known as Jamaican Jerk. The spice is what distinguishes jerk chicken from ordinary BBQ chicken.

What gives jerk chicken its flavor?

Jerk chicken derives its distinct taste from spices indigenous to the island of Jamaica. Jerk chicken gets its fiery bite from spices like scotch bonnet pepper. Other spices used in jerk recipes include allspice, ginger, garlic, and thyme.

What makes jerk chicken so good?

Jerk chicken done well is addictive: it’s smokey and juicy, sweet and spicy. The extended marination and cooking period soften and tenderize the flesh, while the spicy chile sauce provided on the side cuts through the richness of the meat and keeps you coming back for more.

Is jerk chicken wet or dry?

Jerk is a Jamaican culinary method in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a fiery spice combination known as Jamaican jerk spice.

What are the three ingredients of jerk?

Jerk spices are made up of three basic ingredients: scotch bonnet, allspice, and thyme. Jerk sauce may be used to spice any meal, whether it’s meat, poultry, or vegetables.

Is Jamaican jerk chicken very spicy?

Jerk Chicken is, indeed, spicy! Scotch bonnet peppers, which are quite fiery, are used to season it. They have a Scottsville Heat Unites (SHU) range of 100,000-350,000, while the jalapeño has a range of 2500 to 8,000. lower the quantity of peppers in your own Jerk chicken recipe to lower the intensity.

What should I serve with jerk chicken?

What To Serve With Jerk Chicken – The Best Side Dishes
White rice, brown rice, or cilantro lime rice are all options.
Salsa fresh.
Salad with leafy greens or cucumber salad.
Served with roasted or grilled potatoes.
Salad with potatoes.
Baked potatoes or garlic potatoes are also options.

Why do Jamaicans eat jerk chicken?

Jerk chicken is said to have originated when the Maroons brought African meat cooking skills to Jamaica and blended them with indigenous Jamaican ingredients and flavors employed by the Arawak Indians.

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