Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica. To make Jerk Chicken, the meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice.
The smoky taste of jerked meat is achieved using various cooking methods, including wood but many recipes include a standard propane Barbecue grill, charcoal grill, or oven. The meat is normally chicken or pork, and the main ingredients of the spicy jerk marinade sauce are allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers. Made popular in Caribbean and West Indian diaspora communities, Jerk Chicken is also popular throughout the United States.
We have made this recipe easy to prepare with our Prime Meat’s Jamaican Jerk Jerk Seasoning.
Time: About 1 1/2 hours, plus at least 12 hours’ marinating
- 3 1/2- to 4-pound chickens, quartered, or 8 whole legs, or 5 to 6 pounds bone-in, skin-on thighs from Prime Meats
- Prime Meats Jamacian Jerk Seasoning
We recommend beginning your preparation a day before cooking. First, pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Then rub Prime Meat’s Jamcian Jerk Chicken Seasoning all over the chicken, including under the skin. Refrigerate for 12 to 36 hours. The next day, bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking and lightly sprinkle with more salt.
Using your propane or charcoal grill, clean and oil the grates, and preheat to medium heat.
For a charcoal grill, we recommend using one chimney of charcoal. Maintain the temperature of the grill between as high as 300 degrees and go as low as 250. (For the best results, the charcoals should be at least 12 inches away from the chicken). If necessary, push the coals to one side of the grill to create indirect heat.
Add two large handfuls of soaked pimento (allspice) wood sticks and chips (see note) or other aromatic wood chips to your grill (for propane, be sure to follow your manufactures instructions), then close the grill. When thick white smoke billows from the grill, place chicken on the grate, skin side up, and cover. Let cook undisturbed for 30 to 35 minutes.
Another option is to skip the wood sticks and chips and bake at 300 degrees in the oven then finished off on the grill. This results in crispy skin, perfect texture, and flavor.
After 30 to 35 minutes uncover the grill. The chicken will be golden and mahogany in places. The chicken thighs may already be cooked through. For other cuts, turn chicken over and add more wood chips, and charcoal if needed.
Cover and continue cooking, checking, and turning every 10 minutes. Jerk chicken is done when the internal temperature is 165 degrees, the skin is burnished brown and chicken juices are completely clear, with no pink near the bone. For large pieces, this can take up to an hour. Serve hot or warm, with rice and beans.