Caribbean Jerk Chicken


The spirit of Jamaica's popular jerk sauce comes through in this superspicy, fragrant grilled chicken. To punch up the flavor even more, let the marinade sit for an additional 24 hours before adding the meat. To lower the heat, swap out Scotch bonnet chiles (among the world's hottest) for jalapeños. More Grilled Chicken Recipes

Caribbean Jerk Chicken
Photo: © John Kernick
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 8 scallions, chopped

  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped

  • 3 Scotch bonnet chiles, chopped

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme

  • 2 tablespoons ground allspice

  • Salt

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • Three 4-pound chickens, each cut into 8 pieces

  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients except the chicken and process to a paste. Put the chicken pieces in a very large bowl and pour the marinade on top. Toss to coat the chicken thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Light a grill. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, leaving on a coating of spice paste. Grill the chicken over moderately high heat, turning often, until the skin is nicely charred and the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Make Ahead

The jerk marinade can be refrigerated overnight.

Suggested Pairing

Some jerk chicken is so fiery that it will wipe out any wine; Tourondel's is more subtle than that. Nevertheless, it's still intensely spicy, so it goes best with a fruity, not terribly tannic red that won't accentuate its heat. Zinfandel is a good choice: such as one from Sonoma County or the Russian River Valley.

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