Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Published Mar 06, 2019
Updated Jun 20, 2022
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This Jamaican Jerk Chicken is savory, smoky and spicy! Traditionally, Jerk Chicken is grilled over firewood but this one is made in the oven and no marinating time is required, either!
You guys, remember that Jerk Seasoning I shared with you earlier?? We are going to take that seasoning and make some Jamaican Jerk Chicken, baby! All you need to add to the homemade seasoning is some chicken bouillon powder and fresh thyme to make your Jerk Chicken. So assuming you have made your Jerk Seasoning, let’s move on!
The method called jerking which is used to cook Jerk Chicken is said to have been developed in Jamaica by African slaves who escaped into the wilds of Jamaica when the British captured the island from Spain in 1655. Oher historians claim that jerking was developed by a portion of the Amerindians in Jamaica who intermingled with the Maroons.
Jerk Chicken combines two methods that are so African: cooking over firewood and cooking with scotch bonnet pepper. This is one recipe that tastes like history to me: African story on a plate.
Although Jerk Chicken is traditionally cooked over firewood, I make mine in the oven because honestly going out to grill is not something that is feasible at all times. So with this recipe, you make your own Jerk Chicken in your kitchen at any time. But if you have a grill and the weather is convenient and you want that unbeatable smoky taste that comes from grilling, then go out and grill, my friend.
If you choose to grill your meat, be sure to let it marinate first for up to 24 hours. That way, the seasoning doesn’t fall off the chicken while grilling, leaving you with tasteless chicken. But if you make your Jerk Chicken in the oven, no need to marinate it. The chicken absorbs the flavors as it bakes in the oven.
Why Is It Called Jerk Chicken?
Jerk is a way of cooking in Jamaica that includes seasoning meat with a marinade that often includes pimento (allspice) and scotch bonnet or habanero peppers. Jerking refers to the process of poking meat to let the flavors in the marinade penetrate. The word “jerk” is said to come from the Spanish word “charqui” which means to dry or dried. The process of marinating the chicken for long hours and cooking the chicken over firewood as it is traditionally done yields meat that is dry – crusty on the outside and perfectly seasoned right up to the bone!
Homemade Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Making your own Jamaican Jerk Seasoning at home is super easy! The ingredients for jerk seasoning include scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, allspice or pimento, scallions or green onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, white pepper, thyme, lime juice vinegar, and some brown sugar. Check out this post to see how to make your own Jerk Seasoning.
Jerk Chicken in the Oven
To make Jerk Chicken in the oven is quite easy! Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius) then rub the marinade on the chicken, place on an oven safe pan and place into the oven. Your chicken will cook for 40-50 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken. Baste the chicken with some more Jerk seasoning halfway through cooking if you want the chicken extra crusty and if you want it to develop the rich dark color that Jerk Chicken is known for.
What to Eat With Jerk Chicken
You can serve Jerk Chicken with the following:
Hope you enjoy this easy Jerk Chicken recipe!
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
- Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil then rub the foil with 1 teaspoon of oil (I used corn oil). Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius)
- Pat chicken dry with paper towel then place in a large bowl. Add the jerk seasoning, bouillon powder and thyme then mix well to ensure the seasoning gets to every part of the chicken.
- Arrange chicken on a single layer on the baking sheet then place in the oven to cook for 40 minutes.