Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Jamaican Jerk Chicken came to be when the Maroons introduced African meat cooking techniques to Jamaica. These techniques, combined with native Jamaican ingredients and seasonings used by the Arawak, became Jerk Chicken. This method involves smoking meat for a long period of time and serves two practical purposes. These purposes include keeping insects away from the raw meat and preserving it for longer once it has been cooked. In addition, the process is what gives it that strong smoky flavor.

So how did the name “Jerk” come to be? There are two commonly held theories on this. The first is that it originates from the Spanish word “Charqui”, used to describe dried meat. Over time the term evolved from “Charqui” to “Jerky” to “Jerk”. The second theory is that the name comes from the technique of jerking or poking holes in the meat to fill with spices. Now, the word “Jerk” is used as a noun to describe the mixture of seasonings applied to jerked food and as a verb to describe the cooking process used.


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We love this Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe from Food & Wine. Follow below to make some of your own!


Ingredients for Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken

1 medium onion, chopped

3 scallions, chopped

2 Scotch bonnet chiles, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon each of five-spice powder, ground allspice berries and ground pepper

1 teaspoon each of dried thyme, grated nutmeg, and salt

1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Two 3.5-4 pound chickens, quartered


How to make Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Combine the onion, scallions, chiles, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, pepper, thyme, nutmeg, and salt in a food processor until it becomes a coarse paste. Add the soy sauce and the oil to the food processor in a steady stream (while the machine is still on).

Pour this marinade into a large, shallow dish. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking.

Next, grill the chicken over a medium-hot flame. Turn occasionally until well browned and cooked through, about 35-40 minutes. Cover the grill for a smokier flavor. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve.


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