Active Time
30 MIN
Total Time
9 HR
Yield
Serves : 8

The best jerk recipe we've ever tasted, which we first published in 1995, is fragrant, fiery hot and smoky all at once. It's from our former colleague Paul Chung, an adventurous self-taught cook who grew up in Jamaica and has sampled jerk from just about every corner of the island. For maximum flavor, let the chicken marinate overnight.

In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: There are as many takes on jerk chicken in Jamaica as there are cooks on the island, but most share the same method: Chicken is coated in a seasoning mixture dominated by spices and chiles, then grilled. This version comes from Paul Chung, a self-taught cook of Chinese-Jamaican descent who worked in the mail room at Food & Wine. It’s wonderfully spicy, smoky, and fragrant—everything you want jerk chicken to be. But what puts this one above all others? The key is including Chinese five-spice in the marinade: “This spark of cinnamon enhances the rich clove flavor imparted by the allspice berries,” Marcia Kiesel wrote. For best results, let the chicken marinate overnight, so the seasoning has time to thoroughly penetrate the meat. The chicken can also be roasted in the oven if desired.

Plus: More Chicken Recipes and Tips

How to Make It

Step 1    

In a food processor, combine the onion, scallions, chiles, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, pepper, thyme, nutmeg and salt; process to a coarse paste. With the machine on, add the the soy sauce and oil in a steady stream. Pour the marinade into a large, shallow dish, add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature before proceeding.

Step 2    

Light a grill. Grill the chicken over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. (Cover the grill for a smokier flavor.) Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve.

You May Like