Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Apr 15, 2010 07:59 AM


After flipping through pictures of a recent trip to Jamaica I have been craving jerk chicken. Does anyone have any good recipes or links to where I can find a traditional island jerk chicken recipe. Thank you in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Better than jerk craving chicken. ;)

    1. The fast and easy way is to buy a bottle of Walker's Wood jerk paste and follow the directions on the back. This was recommended by the Spouse's Jamaican classmate whose mother was a professional chef. When asked for a good jerk recipe she replied that this is how her mother did it - much easier and just as good as going to all the trouble of homemade.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rockycat

        I've made homemade (googled and found a recipe) and regularly use Walker's Woods, which I like. Homemade has a slightly more herbaceous quality (and it's green, not dark brown) from the fresh scallions. Both are very good. If you do want to find a recipe online, look for one that calls for scallions, thyme, allspice, scotch bonnet peppers, black pepper, maybe some nutmeg. Those are the basics. Make sure it's calling for a paste, not a dry mix or a sauce.

        1. re: rockycat

          I LOVE Walkerswood Jerk Paste! It's totally great. It's very hot, so use accordingly. I also add it to all kinds of other things. I think Boston is another good, reliable brand. Cost Plus World Market carries Walkerswood.

          1. re: scuzzo

            Have you compared it to their marinade? I get much richer flavoris from it, compared to the paste, which is good, but not as superb to our palates.

        2. Here's a recipe I transcribed about fifteen years ago, so I have no idea whether it was from a book or website or what. We had a friend in Tennessee who grew Scotch bonnets on his truck farm, and one year he gave us a gallon zip bag full of them. That's when I dug this up.

          One of the wonderful side benefits of doing chicken or anything else this way is the lovely flavor you get when you make stock from the leftover bones etcetera. Makes for some really interesting soups and sauces.

          Time: About 1 1/2 hours, plus at least 12 hours’ marinating
          2 3 1/2- to 4-pound chickens, quartered, or 8 whole legs, or 5 to 6 pounds bone-in, skin-on thighs
          1 large bunch scallions (about 8), white and green parts
          2 shallots, peeled and halved
          4 to 6 Scotch bonnet chili peppers, stems removed, or habaneros
          1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
          6 garlic cloves, peeled
          1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
          2 tablespoons ground allspice, more for sprinkling
          2 tablespoons soy sauce
          2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
          1 tablespoon salt, more for sprinkling
          1 tablespoon black pepper
          1/2 cup vegetable oil
          1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar
          Freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes.

          1. At least 1 day before cooking, pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and grind to a coarse paste. Slather all over chicken, including under skin. Refrigerate 12 to 36 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking and lightly sprinkle with more salt and ground allspice.

          2. Prepare a charcoal grill: Clean and oil grates, and preheat to medium heat using one chimney of charcoal. The temperature can start as high as 300 degrees and go as low as 250. For best results, coals should be at least 12 inches away from chicken. If necessary, push coals to one side of grill to create indirect heat. Add two large handfuls of soaked pimento (allspice) wood sticks and chips or other aromatic wood chips to coals, then close grill. When thick white smoke billows from grill, place chicken on grate, skin side up, and cover. Let cook undisturbed for 30 to 35 minutes.

          3. Uncover grill. Chicken will be golden and mahogany in places. Chicken thighs may already be cooked through. For other cuts, turn chicken over and add more wood chips, and charcoal if needed. Cover and continue cooking, checking and turning every 10 minutes. Jerk chicken is done when skin is burnished brown and chicken juices are completely clear, with no pink near the bone. For large pieces, this can take up to an hour. Serve hot or warm, with rice and beans.

          Variations: If you have no grill, chicken can be baked in oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes; the smokiness will be lost but seasoning will be intact. Jerk rub can be used on a boneless leg of lamb or pork roast, to be cooked on a medium-hot grill or in oven.

          1. here's another recipe for a jerk marinade. if you omit the beer, it gives you a jerk paste. both ways work very well. best on pork but chicken works too.

            jerk pork marinade:

            1/2 cup chopped scallion
            2 jalapenos
            1 scotch bonnet
            1 Tablespoon soy sauce
            1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
            2 tsp allspice
            1 Tablespoon minced garlic
            1 tsp sea salt
            1/2 tsp sugar
            1/2 tsp black pepper
            1/2 tsp dried thyme
            1/4 tsp cinnamon
            1/4 tsp ground ginger
            fresh nutmeg to taste
            1 can of beer

            combine all ingredients in food processor and blend. place in gallon sealable bag. marinate 1 pound pork loin, chops or similar, or chicken, turning occasionally. leave for up to 8 hours or overnight. direct grill the meat.

            1. I'm with you, I've been making it constantly lately. I have never found anything more delicious than Walkers Wood bottled Jerk marinade; not the small jar of seasoning, the large jar of spicy marinade, which is HOT. I marinate all day or overnight, and grill or roast until the skin is mahogany colored.