Jerk Chicken: The Right Way

I was disappointed by the jerk chicken I had in Jamaica so I decided to see if I could get it right by doing the version I’ve been doing for some decades.

First, catch a chicken.  Kill it: Knife, stone, shock, doesn’t matter.  Just be humane and sustainable and wear something natural.  Boil and then pluck it.


OK, so buy a small bird, preferably kosher, as it’s already brined.

Cut the chicken into about a dozen pieces.

Put the chicken in a bowl.

Blend together in a food processor: About an ounce of fresh ginger, three garlic cloves, one onion, about eight sprigs of fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, a tablespoon or so of fresh allspice balls, a cup of soy sauce, and a cup of white vinegar.  No need to peel anything.

Coat the bird with the marinade.  Cover and leave overnight in the fridge.

The next day: Heat coals on grill.  Wait 35 minutes.  Place chicken on grill for five minutes per side.  While it’s grilling, preheat oven to 300.

Coat chicken with leftover marinade.  Place chicken in the oven for 20 minutes.

Total prep: Four minutes.  Total cooking time: 10 minutes on grill, 20 minutes in oven.

It falls off the bone.  We’re talking crazy delicious.  The sweetness, the heat, the crispy texture, the moist interior, the ginger-thyme flavors!



5 thoughts on “Jerk Chicken: The Right Way

  1. For those of us with porches in Cambridge (read: no grills allowed), can you do this in the oven, and if so, how would you suggest? One more question: fresh allspice balls? [Qu’est que ce?]

    • I think I mean dried allspice berries; I know, allspice balls? I didn’t know what else to call them.

      I’d pan sear the chicken just to get it crispy and baron, then slow roast at 300 degrees F for about 45 minutes, then slam them at 500 for 8 minutes.
      Daub with sauce before serving.

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