Caribbean Cookout: Jerk Chicken

It’s dinner time in BVI, which means it’s time to fire up the grill! Jerk chicken is a traditional spice and cooking method from our neighboring  island, Jamaica. Because Jerk marinade uses Scotch Bonnet peppers, which are some of the hottest peppers on the Scoville scale, this is the perfect recipe to spice up your British Virgin Islands cookout.

Once you get the grilling technique down, this is the best Jerk Chicken recipe we’ve found:


For jerk marinade:

  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 to 5 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For chicken:

  • 4 chicken breast halves with skin and bones (3 pounds), halved crosswise
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks

Cooking Instructions:

  1.  Make the marinade by blending all the marinade ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Marinate the chicken by separating the pieces into two sealable plastic bags. Let all the air out, and then turn the bags over several times to distribute the marinade. Let the bags sit in the fridge for about a day, turning them over once or twice to evenly marinate the chicken.
  3. Using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, then adjust heat to moderate. Cook chicken until well browned on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust heat to low and cook chicken, covered with lid, until cooked through, about 25 minutes more.

If you have a charcoal grill, go here for more detailed grilling instructions.

And, if you don’t want to mess with the grill yourself or you can’t handle the heat from the Scotch Bonnet peppers, just relax and grab some grilled grub from these nearby restaurants.



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