Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken

Jerk chicken is a popular dish that originated in Jamaica and is made by marinating or rubbing chicken with a spicy blend of herbs and spices known as jerk seasoning. The origins of jerk chicken can be traced back to the indigenous Taíno people of Jamaica, who used a technique called “jerking” to preserve and flavor meats. Jerk seasoning typically includes ingredients such as allspice, Scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, and other herbs and spices, and it imparts a spicy, aromatic flavor to the chicken. Jerk chicken is typically grilled or smoked over wood or charcoal, which gives it a smoky, flavorful taste.

Jerk chicken has gained popularity around the world and is now enjoyed in many countries. It is a popular choice at outdoor barbecues and is also served at restaurants and street food stalls. The spicy, flavorful taste of jerk chicken makes it a popular choice for people who enjoy bold, aromatic flavors.


Course Poultry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Author N. J. Sorensen, RDN


  • 1 each medium onion — coarsely chopped
  • 3 each medium scallion — coarsely chopped
  • 2 each each scotch bonnet chiles — coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic — chopped
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries — ground
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper — ground
  • 1 teaspoon thyme — crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 ½ pounds chicken whole — quartered


  • In a food processor, combine the onion, scallions, chiles, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, black pepper, thyme, nutmeg and salt and process to a coarse paste. With the machine on, add the soy sauce and oil in a steady stream until combined. Pour the marinade into a large shallow dish, add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Let the chicken return to room temperature before cooking.
  • Light a grill, preferably charcoal, or preheat the oven to 500°F. Grill or roast the chicken: if grilling, cover the grill for a smokier flavor; if roasting, cook the chicken, skin side up, on the top shelf of the oven. Cook the chicken, turning occasioning, for 30 to 40 minutes, until well browned and cooked through. Cut each chicken quarter in half, transfer to a platter and serve.