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Spicy Grilled Jerk Chicken

Spicy Grilled Jerk Chicken

This spicy grilled jerk chicken is made with a spicy/sweet marinade and then grilled to tender, flavorful perfection.

Slate plate of spicy grilled jerk chicken drumsticks garnished with chopped parsley and fresh lime.

I like to serve this with a French White Bean Salad and Southern-style Coleslaw to cut the heat of the chicken.  If you like dipping sauces, this Creamy Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce goes wonderfully with the chicken and jerk spices.

Jerk Chicken

Jerk chicken is a Caribbean dish that is most often associated with Jamaica.  It is meat, usually chicken but could be lamb, goat, or pork as well, that is marinated and sometimes dry rubbed in a spicy, slightly sweet mixture and then grilled.  The result is chicken that is smokey, slightly sweet, a bit sour, and savory that finishes with a kick of heat from the chili peppers.  It is delicious.

This cooking method is believed to have begun with African slaves who fled to the mountains of Jamaica with the Tainos people to escape the British capture of the Island in 1655.

The Tainos people taught them to slow cook their meats with a spicy, flavorful sauce that used spices and peppers that grew locally.  

Ingredients Needed

  • Chicken – I like using drumsticks, but any kind of bone-in, skin-on chicken will do.
  • Scallions – you could also use half of a sweet onion
  • Garlic
  • Habanero or scotch bonnet peppers – Habanero has a sweet, fruity flavor with a smokey undertone.  Scotch bonnet peppers are just as hot, with a sweet, fruity flavor and an earthy undertone.  Be sure to wear gloves when cutting and cleaning the peppers.  If you aren’t a fan of spicy food, you could use a jalapeno pepper.
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Orange juice
  • Soy sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Fresh thyme
  • Black pepper
  • Ground allspice
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Cumin

Slate plate of spicy grilled jerk chicken drumsticks garnished with chopped parsley and fresh lime.

How To Make This Recipe

First, make the marinade by combining all the marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse to chop and combine. 

Pour the marinade over the chicken and refrigerate for 3 hours up to overnight.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill until the skin is golden and the chicken juices run clear.

Slate plate of spicy grilled jerk chicken drumsticks garnished with chopped parsley and fresh lime.

More International Recipes To Try

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Slate plate of spicy grilled jerk chicken drumsticks garnished with chopped parsley and fresh lime.

SPICY GRILLED JERK CHICKEN


  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Total Time: 1 hour + marinating time
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x

Description

 

This spicy grilled jerk chicken is made with a spicy/sweet marinade and then grilled to tender, flavorful perfection.


Ingredients

Scale

12 bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks (about 3 pounds)

6 scallions, cut into large pieces

4 large garlic cloves, peeled

2 habanero or scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and deveined

2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced

⅓ cup fresh lime juice

⅓ cup fresh orange juice

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cumin


Instructions

Place the chicken drumsticks in a large non-reactive container with a tight-fitting lid or in a large ziptop bag.

In a blender or a food processor, combine the scallions, garlic, peppers, ginger, lime juice, orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, thyme, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cumin.  Blend or pulse until the vegetables are chopped finely and the mixture is combined.

Pour the marinade over the chicken, turning to make sure all the chicken is covered with marinade.  Place the cover or seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours or up to overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat your gas grill to medium-high heat (about 400 degrees).  Lightly oil the grill grates with vegetable oil.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the drumstick registers 165 degrees – about 40 minutes.

Remove from the grill and serve warm.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Marinating time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish - Chicken
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Jamaican

Keywords: spicy grilled jerk chicken, grilled chicken, Jamaican recipes, Caribbean recipes, Jerk recipes, spicy food

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