This recipe serves 4 people.
Savory, smokey spicey - Jerk Chicken is probably the most common and popular chicken dish in Jamaica. You will find lots of vendors on the roadside behind big Jerk BBQ grills selling Jerk chicken with a slice of toast, ketchup and pepper sauce. Jerk chicken is basically the Caribbean version of a great BBQ marinade. It is so versatile and complex in flavour, however very easy to recreate at home. Follow my easy steps and recreate the best ever Jerk Chicken at home.
1 whole Chicken, spatchcock /Chicken thighs/ Wings (depending on your preference)
4 tablespoons of fresh Jerk seasoning (for example Chippin Jerk seasoning)
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper to taste
A little fresh thyme
Scotch bonnet pepper to taste (optional)
1. Preparing: Wash and clean your chicken. I personally like to wash it in vinegar and lime/lemon juice. Trim off all the access fat and spatchcock your chicken (check YouTube for great videos on how to do that!) Slice into the skin on the thighs and breast part. If you have thighs only, make sure you make 2 or 3 slices into the skin of the chicken as well. Place your Chicken in a deep dish.
2. The Jerk seasoning: The perfect jerk seasoning is a blend of different herbs and fresh seasonings like pimento berries, thyme, scallions, scotch bonnet pepper. Feel free to experiment if you like or use your favorite brand of Jerk seasoning. After 2 years of experimenting myself I have found my personal favorite “formula” for the perfect jerk marinade and it contains more than 19 fresh ingredients. I like a balance between spicy, sweet and smokey fragrant jerk seasoning. When it comes to Its all personal preference.
3. Seasoning: Add oil, salt, pepper and Jerk seasoning to your raw chicken. Make sure to massage the marinade well into your chicken. Get it into every corner of the meat and make sure to season the inside as well. Place it in your fridge and let it sit for a few hours or best overnight.
4. Cooking: Decide how you want to cook your Jerk. Grill it on a BBQ or bake it in the oven. In the oven it will take you about 45-60 minutes on 200 Celcius to cook through. Cover your chicken with tin foil for the first 30 minutes of baking so it can remain nice and moist. Take off the foil later on and bake it until it has a nice golden crust all over. You can put your chicken on the grill setting in the oven for 5 minutes when it is already finished cooking- that way you get a nice char all over. On the grill it will take you less time to cook through. Flip your chicken often and get a nice char all over. Finish off with some fresh thyme.
5. Tipp: Elevate your jerk chicken with a glaze! For example honey or tamarind is amazing with jerk. Brush it over your Chicken just before it is finished cooking so it caramelizes well on the crispy skin.
6. Serve with your favorite pepper sauce and enjoy!