You can use whole chickens to prepare this recipe, but chicken thighs are quicker and easier. Serve this dish with festival, a sweet cornmeal bread from Jamaica.From the book "Lucinda's Authentic Jamaican Kitchen," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Wiley).



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine all of the ingredients except the water and chicken in a large bowl. Mix well and add the water to form a loose paste.

  • Reserve 1/2 cup of the sauce for a later use. Marinate the chicken in the remaining sauce for at least 1 hour or as long as 24 hours (the longer, the better). Turn the meat several times, mixing the sauce.

  • Prepare an outdoor barbecue using plenty of coals. Meanwhile, soak small sticks or hardwood chips in water (mesquite conflicts with jerk's own flavor). When the coals have become gray and well ashed over, add the soaked wood to the fire.

  • Place the chicken on the grill and cover, leaving the vent holes open. Barbecue slowly --1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the pieces. Check the fire after 30 minutes, adding coal or wood as needed and being careful not to flame the fire. Baste every 30 minutes with the marinade. Turn the chicken several times as it cooks. The chicken is done when it is firm to the touch and slightly charred.

  • Remove the chicken from the fire and let it sit on a cutting board for 15 minutes. If you have a sharp cleaver, chop the meat into small pieces (bone and all); otherwise, leave each piece whole. Serve on a large platter doused with the reserved jerk sauce.

Cook's Notes

For boneless chicken thighs (breasts tend to dry out), use the same preparation, but change the barbecue time to 30 or 40 minutes. Cut into large bite-size pieces.

Reviews (1)

43 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 9
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 17
  • 2 star values: 7
  • 1 star values: 3
Rating: Unrated
I halved the recipe, and used 2 #s boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I also substituted a tablespoon of hot sauce for the peppers. I marinated the chicken overnight, and cooked them on an indoor grill pan (about 10 minutes total). The breasts were extremely moist and tender. This is a great marinade recipe, especially if you like the flavor of allspice. I actually think the marinade is so good, I am going to experiment with some other flavor profiles, and substitute for the allspice.