We went on a cruise for spring break this year (as I mentioned), and one of our stops was Jamaica! I had not been to Jamaica since college, and it was EXACTLY how I remembered it. A chill, tropical vibe with the people doing their best to sell you something, LOL. We bought hair braids, coconut water, sugar cane snacks, and a smoothie (made with fresh tropical fruits and some of that abundant coconut water)!
This time though we were also lucky enough to chow down on some jerk chicken. It was so good that when we were done eating, we literally ordered two more plates and split them among the four of us. Only on rare occasions do we ever order “seconds” at a restaurant!
So of course we came home and my husband just had to try making some jerk chicken himself. He is the grill master at our house, and today I’m sharing the recipe he came up with for us! YUM :)
Jason's Jerk Chicken
- 1/2 yellow onion roughly chopped
- 4 scallions white and green parts
- 2 habanero peppers seeds and stems removed
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
- 2 teaspoons allspice ground
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme dried
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 orange juiced
- 1 lime juiced
- 3 1/2 pounds chicken bone-in, cut into parts, skin on
- Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Place chicken in a shallow bowl or baking dish and cover with marinade, pushing some under the skin. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to overnight (longer is better).
- Prepare a charcoal fire and grill until chicken is no longer pink in the middle (reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F), flipping once (about 12-15 minutes per side). See notes for more grilling options.
- Be very careful handling hot peppers and the marinade. I highly recommend using rubber or latex gloves. Do not touch your eyes after handling peppers.
- Scotch Bonnet peppers are the traditional Caribbean pepper used for jerk chicken but are not common in US stores. The habanero is a cousin and tastes very similar, which is why I have called for it in this recipe. If you cannot find either type of pepper you could substitute other hot peppers, but the flavor will not be the same.
- Feel free to use whatever cuts of chicken you want, but we prefer a mix of white and dark meat with skin on.
- The best flavor will come from slow cooking (low temperature, more time) over charcoal or smoking with wood, however I think you'll still be happy with this marinade even if you use a gas grill!
- We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.