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A Jamaican jerk chicken marinade recipe from Matt and Ted Lee.
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 4 scallions, coarsely chopped
- 4 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, stemmed, seeded, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons allspice berries
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
- 1/4 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
Purée 4 tablespoons oil and the next 10 ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Transfer 1/4 cup marinade to a small bowl and make sauce: Whisk in vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons oil and season to taste with salt. Refrigerate sauce. Put meat in a glass, stainless-steel, or ceramic dish. Toss with remaining marinade. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Remove meat from marinade, pat dry, and grill.
Spoon reserved sauce over grilled meat.
Nutritional ContentMakes about 1 cup. 1 tablespoon contains: Calories (kcal) 30.1 %Calories from Fat 78.1 Fat (g) 2.7 Saturated Fat (g) 0.2 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 1.7 Dietary Fiber (g) 0.2 Total Sugars (g) 1.0 Net Carbs (g) 1.5 Protein (g) 0.1 Sodium (mg) 73.2Reviews Section
Jerk Marinade Recipe
Hands down, best vacation so far for my family was our trip to Jamaica. 16 Wilsons in a 4 bedroom villa inside a really nice resort in Montego Bay. The resort and activities were amazing of course but one of the most memorable parts of the trip was our live-in chef. She made us all kinds of traditional Jamaican recipes like oxtail, rice and peas, etc.
She also had a lot of patience with me and spent a lot of time educating me on technique from the 55 gallon drum grills to using pimento wood for grilling authentic jerk chicken. I finally got up the nerve the last day to ask her for her secret jerk chicken marinade recipe. She smiled sheepishly and went to the trash to retrieve the empty jar she used to make the sauce. That’s when I realized we had even more in common, because I don’t make my own BBQ sauce anymore either. There are tons of great sauces on the market and a few jerk seasonings now that would be way too much trouble to recreate. Like our chef, I would rather concentrate on cooking things well and leverage the expertise of those sauce experts.
I have tried jerk chicken from a few places in Florida since then but nothing has come close. So I’m now on a mission to recreate those meals I remember from Jamaica, starting with this jerk marinade recipe. This marinade is perfect for chicken of course, but equally awesome for shrimp. I think I am close to matching her technique, but I’m going to keep tweaking and posting more recipes as I find and try other jerk seasoning brands. I used Grace jerk seasoning for this particular marinade recipe. Grace makes hot and mild jar varieties and they can be found on Amazon. I prefer the hot, but just a warning for spice wimps, their spicy is pretty legit spicy. This marinade recipe makes enough marinade for about 1 whole chicken cut into pieces and it is super easy to throw together with stuff you probably already have in the cupboard.
This recipe is amazing for whole chicken, wings, drums, thighs, bone in breasts! My favorite is to get chicken drumsticks and french them into “Lolipop wings” and marinate them overnight or up to 2 days, then bbq them. Eat them as is when they come out or toss them in another sauce I love honey ginger glaze.
You can also try the jerk spice rub over potatoes, corn on the cob, shrimp, pork butt or fish!
- 2 tablespoons jerk seasoning / rub (1 tbsp onion powder, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 2 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp ground thyme, 2 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp ground allspice(pimento), 1 tsp dried parsley, 1 tsp paprika, ½ tsp hot pepper flakes, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp ground clove, ¼ tsp cumin )
- 8 green onions, root trimmed off
- 8 garlic cloves
- 2 limes, juiced
- ½ batch cilantro
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and rough chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon ground fresh allspice
- 1 jalapeño, or scotch bonnet or habanero
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup water
Clean and remove the roots from the green onions remove the stem of the jalapeno or pepper of choice, removing the seeds is not necessary. Jalapeños are easily accessible, but if you want a more authentic Caribbean feel, shoot for the scotch bonnet or the habanero. Rough chop the onions and peppers and add to a blender. Use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to grind up fresh allspice berries. Using fresh allspice adds a better flavor but isn't necessary. If you have ground allspice laying around use it! Toss all the remaining ingredients into the concoction and blend them until thoroughly mixed and a fragrant liquid has formed. If you have an immersion blender you can add the ingredients to a deep bowl and use the stick blender if you choose. Check for seasoning and salt before adding anything to the marinade. It should be sweet and spicy with a kick of heat and salt. A very distinctive “island-y” flavor which is great for wood burning ovens!
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™), or to taste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup brown sugar
Stir together soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and hot pepper sauce in a bowl. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and sugar stir until mixed.
To use, toss one pound of thinly sliced meat with the marinade until well coated. Place into a resealable plastic bag, and squeeze out the air. Marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours, mixing twice. Remove meat from marinade, and discard excess marinade. Prepare jerky according to the manufacturer's directions of your smoker or dehydrator.
Great flavor, but not close to hot enough to call a jerk seasoning. I tripled the recipe, and quadrupled the chicken (cooking for all coworkers) so this contributed to the lack of heat, but still it needs more kick. For half of the peppers, don't take out the seeds. This saves your running nose and eyes while doing so, and I bet it brings it up to a respectable amount of heat. I also could not find Scotch Bonnets, so I used Habaneros, whose flavor I enjoy. I did like the flavor other than the non spiciness. I would mandate 12+ hours of marinade in the fridge without a doubt. It needs time to soak in. Min was grilled using indirect heat over mesquite charcoal on a weber kettle. It was a challenge getting all that chicken on such a small grill, so I had to spend more time turning etc. If you make the recipe as is, for the family, it will be fine on a normal sized grill. Remember to keep that heat low and let it roast for a good solid hour to absorb the smoke.
love this - so tangy and delicious
This is definitely a 4 fork marinade. I made this last night with chicken thighs it was delicious. I only had 3 habeneros and a jalapeño which worked great. I had allspice powder which I used 2 tablespoons and 1/4 tablespoon of each cinnamon and nutmeg. Really good. I did have some left over marinade that I reserved since it makes quite a bit, I used it to grill shrimp and crab with limes. Another winner.
We loved this! I made the marinade in the morning, marinated drumsticks in a plastic bag all day, then baked them. I made some changes for convenience that didn't negatively impact the flavour, in my opinion: lemon juice instead of lime juice no chiles ground allspice instead of berries ground thyme instead of fresh onion instead of scallion
This is absolutely amazing. I followed the recipe exactly, other than using ground allspice instead of whole. I serve it with red beans and rice and fried plantains. Delicious.
This is a fantastic marinade. I had to substitute jalapenos for habaneros (and so left the seeds in), but other than that I followed the recipe as written. The sauce adds a real brightness to the finished meat. I wouldn't skip it.
This made *delicious* chicken! Marinated drumsticks and skinless/boneless thighs overnight and grilled them on the barbecue. When the chicken was cooked, turned off the grill and brushed them with the sauce for extra flavor. These have a nice bite but aren't overwhelming. Only had 1 tbsp of fresh thyme so subbed 1 tsp dried for the second tbsp. Also didn't have whole allspice berries so I substituted 1 tsp dried allspice. Served with zucchini cornbread from this issue, coleslaw and a salad. Great dinner! TIP: WEAR GLOVES when you seed and chop the habaneros. You've been warned.
This is totally delicious. Served on pork. Had to use jalapenos instead of habaneros, so added a bit of Jamaican Pepper Sauce at the end to up the spice a tad (once you seed jalapenos they don't have a lot of kick) but I like having a little control over the spice anyway, so that was good. Also subbed 1 tsp of ground allspice for the 2 tsp of berries, but otherwise, followed to spec. Just delicious.
First! A very easy recipe and super tasty. Used three instead of four habanero and the heat was just right. Substituted dried thyme for the fresh, ground allspice for the berries and rice wine vinegar for white vinegar. Made the mistake of using my raw chicken utensil to mix sauce as a result, I just added the sauce to the marinade. Just as well in hindsight, as the sauce may have been overpowering (raw habenaro, ginger and allspice?). Chicken took what marinade (overnight) it can to the grill, discard the rest. Trust me, there's enough flavor without the finishing sauce. Grilled over medium-high charcoal, searing all surfaces, then moved over to secondary zone (no charcoal), close lid to slow finish (10-15 minutes). Done when juices run (mostly) clear. Highly recommended to flavor seekers.
Jamaican Jerk Sauce
Danielle Centoni is a Portland-based, James Beard Journalism Award-winning food writer and cookbook author whose idea of a perfect day always includes butter, sugar, flour, and an oven.
The Spruce / Diana Chistruga×
|Servings: 10 to 12|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 1g||1%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||1%|
|Total Carbohydrate 14g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||7%|
|Total Sugars 8g|
|Vitamin C 10mg||50%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Jerk is an important part of Jamaican history, tracing back to the middle of the 17th century and possibly even earlier. The term "jerk" is thought to be from the Spanish word for dried meat, charqui, which has been transformed into the English "jerky." It is likely connected to the way the meat gets poked, prodded, and jerked around the grill as it cooks.
Although Jamaican chefs and cooks keep their recipes close to their chests, all of them can agree on a few jerk sauce ingredients. Key components like allspice, Scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, and garlic are necessary to get the right flavor. Other seasoning blends might include scallions, onions, salt, black pepper, and more. Jamaican jerk sauce should be challengingly spicy, so it's important not to skimp on the peppers. Keep in mind that the peppers tend to mellow a bit during the cooking process.
- 4 to 15 Scotch bonnet chiles, seeded (for a hotter marinade, leave the seeds in)
- 1 bunch scallions, both white and green parts, trimmed and coarsely chopped
- 2 shallots, cut in half
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoons ground allspice
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons salt, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Traditional Jamaican Jerk Marinade Recipe
- 2 tablespoon ground pimento
- 2 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinannom
- 2 table spoon salt.
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon mint garlic cloves
- 1 cup diced onion (fine)
- 1/2 cup escallion - diced (fine)
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper (chopped fine)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 3/4 white vinegar
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- It is recommended that you marinade the meat overnight and reserve some of the marinade for basting.
- Grill slowly over smokey hardwood fire.
- Baste product (chicken, pork etc) as it cooks with some of the marinade.
- Keep a batch of marinade in your refrigerator, it will keep for up to a month. You may use it to baste everything from tofu chunks to poultry, seafood, or red meat, while roasting or barbecuing.
Be sure to read our article on Jamaican Jerk Spice as well.
By the way, do you want to learn how to cook like my grandma did?
I mean the authentic Jamaican? Check out my list of free Jamaican recipes here.
February 28, 2018
Jamaican jerk sauce is made with , escallion, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, ground cinnamon, pimento, garlic, white vinegar, ginger root and soy sauce. This is the real Jamaican jerk sauce the real taste of Jamaica!
Jerk sauce is easy to make and you will have no trouble preparing it. My jerk sauce recipe is so good that I want to keep it a carefully guarded secret. However, I would also like to keep the legacy of this recipe spreading for the next 100 years.
3 stalk escallion, chopped
2 large onions, cut into halves
2 scotch bonnet peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic
Small piece of ginger root
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
24 pimento seed, crushed
Wash the ginger, escallion, onions, Scotch bonnet peppers, garlic and thyme and put into a blender. Add the soy sauce and vinegar.
Puree blend on high speed for 5 minutes. Stir in the crushed pimento. Your jerk sauce is now ready!
Pour into an air-tight jar and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
You can use it as a marinade on meat or seafood
Cinnamon powder and grated nutmeg should not be added to the wet jerk sauce add them to the dry jerk seasoning!
Jerk Chicken with Amazing Jerk Marinade
Posted By Savita
The best Jerk Chicken recipe with a well seasoned and flavorful Jerk Chicken Marinade. This Jerk Chicken marinade loads chicken with ton of flavor in just 30 minutes.
Three reasons: 1) Marinade has consistency of paste that sticks to chicken making a flavorful seasoned skin. 2) Marinade ingredients tenderize chicken with lot of flavor from inside. 3) I pound chicken (jerk) slightly with meat-ponder to allow marination sink-in deep. Result? In 30 minutes, chicken is bursting with aroma of herbs, garlic, ginger and spices. Ready to join grill and become the ultimate "Jerk Chicken"!
Jerk Chicken tends to be bit spicy. But don't worry if you are not a heat-seaker. I'm sharing details to control the heat in marinade with easy-to-find local grocery ingredients. Don't miss to read. It is you passport to Caribbean flavors from your own backyard.
So, let's grill some Jerk Chicken today!
Jerk literally means "poke". I like to use this technique to let marinade sink deep into the chicken. Specially if you using bone-in chicken, I highly recommend slightly poking the chicken with knife at few places or use a meat-pounder to beat it slightly. This creates pockets in chicken which soak the flavor from jerk marinade deep into thickest parts of the chicken. The resulting, just short marinated grilled Jerk Chicken is so well seasoned and delicious.. you will love the flavors.
Jerk Chicken Marinade:
Jerk chicken is all about the marinade. A good jerk marinade will make this Jamaican chicken recipe sing with flavors.
Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken marinade has signature flavor of two ingredients: All-Spice (it is one spice, not many spices together), and Scotch Bonnet peppers. SO, no matter what else you use, a best jerk chicken recipe starts with two ingredients: all-spice and bonnet peppers. Other Jerk chicken marinade ingredients are : thyme, ginger, garlic, scallion, lime juice, sugar, salt and black pepper.
All-Spice is all you need: When making wet marinade for Jerk Chicken, I don't use other warm spices such as - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. All-Spice does all the work. True to it's name, it is very flavorful and has aroma of all these spices. That said, if I'm making a dry jerk spiced-rub chicken, I add more for additional depth of flavor. But that is whole new post. I hope to share in future.
Scotch Bonnet is NOT Habanero:
When I was working on this recipe, I was surprised to notice how every online recipe is replacing Scotch Bonnet peppers with Hebaneros. Where second is far more hot than first. A marinade with 4 habneros will be super hot. So, I use these peppers based on their heat level. Idea is to add pepper flavor yet keep the heat to medium. We eat pretty spicy food. If you don't. Don't worry! Use following chat to adjust the heat of marinade based on your preference and availability.
Traditional Jerk Chicken Marinade gets heat and flavor of chilies from Scotch Bonnet Pepper. However, I seldom find Scotch Bonnet peppers in my grocery store. So, either I order online or use following substitute for bonnet pepper based on desired heat preference. Use peppers in Jerk Marinade as per the desired heat.
Mild Hot: Use one jalapeno. Remove seeds and inner membrane.
Medium: Use only one serrano. Remove seeds and inner membrane.
Medium-high Hot: Use one serrano and 1 Habanero.
Hot: Well, you don't want to go there.
What to serve with Jerk Chicken?
Traditionally Jerk Chicken is served with side of rice and peas. I also serve few other sides which balances the flavor of spices in Jerk Chicken. Like today I served it with rice and peas, and mango strawberry salsa.