Being from the island of Jamaica, I figured the first recipe I would post would be the famous Jamaican Jerk Chicken. An iconic recipe for sure. The jerk marinade can be used on almost any meat – including pork, beef and even fish or shrimp.
Here’s a fun bit of jerk history: the word jerk refers to a way of cooking that’s popular in Jamaica. All varieties of meats and even vegetables are traditionally marinated in a paste or rub that includes allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers. Then it’s slow smoked over long sticks of pimento wood.
Nowadays, you can get authentic Jamaican jerk eats from delicious smelling jerk huts on their island stomping grounds. So, if you’re lucky enough travel to Jamaica, send me some tasty pics and I’ll live vicariously through you for a moment.
Ingredients – Makes 10 servings
- 10chicken legs
- ⅓cup olive oil
- 2TB light brown sugar, packed
- 1heaping TB dried thyme
- 2tsp ground allspice
- 2tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ – ½tsp cinnamon
- 1tsp ground ginger
- 1tsp ground cloves
- 1tsp cayenne pepper
- 1tsp garlic powder
- 1tsp onion powder
- 2 ¼tsp kosher salt
- ¼tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare: Preheat oven to 425F with rack on lower middle position. Use paper towels to thoroughly dry chicken legs of excess moisture. Use fork to poke holes on all sides of chicken legs. Set aside.
- Mix: In a bowl, combine all remaining ingredients to form a spice rub/paste mixture. Evenly rub mixture underneath the skin of chicken legs (easiest to use clean hands to really push the mixture as far underneath skin as you can) as well as on top.
- Bake: Place chicken on large rimmed/foil-lined baking sheet, with space in between each piece. Bake about 40 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve immediately.
Jamaican jerk seasoning classically contains ground cinnamon. However, if you’re sensitive to cinnamon, feel free to start with 1/4 tsp the first time making this dish.
This jerk chicken is delicious served alongside of this easy, super tasty Rice and Beans Recipe If you like this recipe, be sure to make extra dry spice rub to keep in pantry for easy future use (add the olive oil only when you’re ready to use).
Note, you can use white meat chicken breast for this recipe, however, dark meat tends to be juicier when cooked.
This makes 5 to 10 servings depending on how hungry your guests are!