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Taste of Jamaica – Jamaican Jerk Chicken

On our first trip to Jamaica, I will never forget the Jamaican Jerk Chicken at the Sandals Montego Bay at the Jerk Shack. Is there anything better than experiencing a destination through food? I always remember a trip with the food we ate. Like the traditional Italian pasta, the delicious French croissants, and of course the Jamaican Jerk Chicken. We had some of the best food in Jamaica. We tried many Jamaican dishes such as jerk chicken, oxtail, goat and so many more delicious Jamaican flavors.

When you think of Jamaica, of course, the first thing that comes to mind is Bob Marley but food-wise, jerk chicken is the food I associate with Jamaica. Of course, let’s not forget the beautiful beaches and some beautiful people I met there.

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Jamaican food - Jamaican jerk chicken

The easiest way is to purchase chicken pieces such as chicken legs, wings, or quarters. You can also buy an entire chicken and cut it into pieces yourself. We used a halved chicken as this is what we had in our freezer. Simply pour all of the delicious jerk Jamaican flavors over the chicken and let it sit overnight. Don’t forget to massage the seasoning into the chicken to make sure each piece is coated nicely. You can even try to get some of the seasonings underneath the skin of the chicken.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium scallions, chopped
  • 2 Scotch bonnet chilies, chopped or whatever chilies you can find
  • 2 garlic chopped cloves
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut amino sauce or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Two 3 1/2- to 4-pound chickens, quartered or chicken pieces
taste of Jamaica Jamaican jerk chicken recipe

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Instructions

1. In a food processor, combine all the dry ingredients; the scallions, onion, chiles, garlic, allspice, pepper, thyme, nutmeg, and salt; process until it resembles a coarse paste. With the food processor still running, add the coconut aminos or soy sauce and oil in a steady stream. Once everything is combined, pour the marinade into a large, shallow dish, and add the chicken. Coat the chicken with the mixture. For best flavoring, cover, and refrigerate the chicken overnight.

2.When you are ready to make cook the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator and bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking.  

3. Start your bbq. Once your bbq is ready, grill the chicken over a medium to hot fire, turning the chicken occasionally. Let the chicken completely cook on one side before turning. Grill until the chicken is well browned and cooked thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken. Cover the grill and let the chicken grill. Keep an eye on the chicken so it doesn’t burn.

You can also roast the chicken in the oven. Lay the chicken pieces on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast the chicken at 350°F until fully cooked on the inside, around 45-60 minutes. Depending on the size of your chicken. Once the chicken is almost cooked turn the oven on broil to allow the skin to get crispy and to caramelize.

4. Once the chicken is cooked, transfer the Jamaican Jerk Chicken to a serving platter. We topped the grilled chicken with some lime slices, freshly cut mango and cilantro.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Side Dishes

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Side Dishes

Jamaican Jerk Chicken can be served with anything really. We prepared the typical rice and peas (which is really beans), a coleslaw, and callaloo. We can’t find callaloo here so we used collard greens instead.

In addition to the Jamaican Jerk Chicken, we also made a side of Jamaican Jerk Shrimp. The shrimp requires less time to cook so I would add them 10 minutes before the chicken is done cooking. You can also cook them in a skillet for approximately 10 minutes.

You can’t really call this a Jamaican dish without having a Jamaican cocktail. Nothing goes better with Jerk Chicken and combines all these Jamaican flavors like a cold Red Stripe Jamaican beer.

Have you visited Jamaica? What was your favourite Jamaican dish?



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