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Jamaican jerk chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Course Meal
Keyword Habanero Pepper, Scotch Bonnet Pepper
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 899kcal


For the jerk seasoning

  • 4 fresh scotch bonnet peppers or 4 fresh habaneros. By all means, swap these for something a little less fiery — bird’s eye chilies would be my choice, and I’d use at least 6, fresh red ones.
  • 1 heaped tablespoon allspice berries coarsely ground in a pestle and mortar
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated is the way to go
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fresh ginger root grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaped teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 heaped tablespoon dark brown sugar I used Muscovado, but Demerara will be fine
  • 8 cloves garlic plump ones
  • 1 yellow onion medium-sized, peeled, and halved
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

For the chicken

  • 3 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on free range chicken thighs that weight gave me 10 thighs
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil


Preparing the jerk seasoning

  • Simply add all the ingredients to your food processor, and blitz the lot to a smooth paste.
  • Now check the jerk for chili heat — if you want to up the heat, now’s the time to do it by adding some more of your selected chilies.

Preparing the chicken

  • Pour the blitzed jerk paste into a mixing bowl that will easily hold all the chicken thighs. Add the thighs, and use your fingers to give them a really thorough — and I mean thorough — coating of the hot and spicy jerk. Set the bowl aside for an hour — that’s ample time for the jerk to do its work on the chicken.

Cooking the jerk chicken

  • This begins by removing the thighs from the jerk seasoning. Use you fingers to wipe off any excess jerk so that the chicken just has an even coating of it. Make sure to keep the wiped-off jerk in the bowl — it’s going to be used to baste the thighs just before they go under your hot broiler / grill, and then once more halfway through their charring.
  • Time now for some gentle frying of the thighs. Set a big, heavy skillet on a low-medium heat, and add the oil. I used a deep-sided, 12-inch skillet for this frying.
  • Let the oil heat for a minute, then add the thighs — skin-side up — in a single layer across the skillet. You might find that all the thighs won’t fit in the skillet all at once — that’s fine, just fry them in two batches.
  • You’re aiming here to fry the thighs gently for about 12 minutes on one side over that low-medium heat. Then turn them so that they can gently fry for another 5 minutes, skin-side down. Good. Turn off the heat, and let the thighs sit in the skillet as you turn your broiler / grill to high and wait for it to come up to heat.
  • Now transfer the thighs to a non-stick baking tray — skin-side up. Space them apart evenly on the tray, and give their tops a thorough coating with the jerk seasoning. Leave enough jerk in the bowl so that you can give the thighs a similar basting after they’ve had their first 90 seconds under the broiler.
  • As soon as your broiler / grill is hot, slide in the tray so that the thighs are about 3 inches below that high-heat. Let the thighs sizzle away for 90 darkly-charring seconds, then remove the tray, and baste the thighs’ tops with the last of the jerk seasoning.
  • Return the tray to the broiler, and give the thighs another 90 seconds’ charring under that sizzling hot heat. Done. Serve immediately.


Calories: 899kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 70g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 35g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 331mg | Sodium: 766mg | Potassium: 821mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 374IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 3mg