Jerk Chicken (Jamaica)

If you remember, when I initially started this blog, it was for the purpose to explore food cultures from around the world. I think the culture and universality of food is so fascinating! Well, as I would have expected, my “Global Cuisine” project has taken a bit of a back seat to some of my other kitchen creations. That’s OK though. I’m still having so much fun with this blog, that the “Global” posts will just come as I get to them. This is the 19th dish in the Global project (the intial was 80. Like “Around the world in 80 days”) and I have another one in my drafts folder, so that means I’m a quarter of the way through, right?!

Anyway, we eat a lot of chicken in our house and my husband really likes spicy food, so I figured this would be a great option for us. Here is a little bit of info about Jerk: 

Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica where meat, usually chicken or pork, is rubbed or marinated with a hot spice mixture called jerk spice. This is usually a combo of all-spice, scotch bonnet peppers, cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, and salt. There is a slight sweetness to the mix from the sugar and cinnamon, but don’t let that fool you, it is definitely spicy! 

One common theory of how Jerk began goes back to the 1600’s African slaves. When the British invaded Jamaica in 1655, the Spanish colonists fled, leaving behind their African slaves. The Africans did not want to be re-enslaved by the British, so the ran to the mountains and hid out with the indigenous people of the island. So, while the jerk sauce/seasoning does have African roots, because of their new living situation, the recipe had to be manipulated a bit based on the ingredients available to them. The scotch bonnet pepper, for example, was one of the new additions.

The jerk cooking method, which comes from the term jerking which means poking holes in the meat so it absorbs the rub or marinade, could be considered a type of bbq. The meat is generally cooked over a flame or on a grill. It is often served with bread or fried dumplings, but can also be served with vegetables and fried plantains (which I wish I had done because those are really so, so good!). 

Now, I took the lazy-girl way out of this dish. McCormick makes a Caribbean Jerk Spice, already mixed up for you. I bought it, put it on some chicken and let it marinade for a couple hours. Then, since it was raining, took out my Griddler and grilled them up inside.

Looking back on it, it is a bit funny that I bought the Jerk Spice because I have all the ingredients on hand that I would need to make my own jerk spice. Oh well. It was still delicious and very spicy.


I grilled up some pineapple as well, which made a deliciously sweet accompaniment to the spicy chicken. Next time I will do the plantains, because just thinking about them makes me want to make some again.

I’ve never had jerk seasoning before but I really did like it. There is a new restaurant in my town that serves authentic Jamaican food and now I really want to try it. Funny story, though: It is called The Jerk Spot and every time I drive past it, all I can think of is this:  


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