What a Jerk Chicken


I know I lean towards the middle eastern spice palette but every one in a while a new flavour intrigues me. A few weeks back my friend, Cheryl, raved about a Jamaican Jerk chicken she had tasted and I thought, why haven’t I ever tried that?

And within a week, this recipe for Jerk Chicken Marinade comes across my computer screen – Leite’s Culinaria Jerk Chicken – and what a perfect moment in time to try it out.  I I have followed Leite’s Culinaria, a blog written by David Leite, a foodie extraordinaire, who was introduced to me at my first Food Bloggers’ Conference in the spring of 2013.  Every week, on his mail list is the ‘best of recipes’ that he shares.  Take a look and see what intrigues you.

The jerk flavours are a combination of heat, sweet, and warm spices.  Below I amassed the ingredients: green onions, fresh thyme, jalapeño pepper, onion.  The liquids are vegetable oil, cider vinegar and soy sauce. And the spices are the warm spices of allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon combined with brown sugar, salt and pepper.


I have chopped the green onions, yellow onion and jalapeño to ease the puréeing in the food processor.


All ingredients are thrown into the food processor and puréed until it is a thick paste.  This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of sauce.  And that’s all there is to it.IMG_4413

This sauce can be used for:

  • marinating boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • marinating bone-in chicken pieces, however I would remove the skin to help the flavours sink in.
  • I have added a couple heaping tablespoons of this sauce to ground chicken or turkey before making burgers — a real flavour boost

For this blog post, I marinated boneless skinless chicken breasts for a few hours in the fridge in one cup of the marinade, saving the 1/2 cup to baste during barbecuing.  Delicious grilled chicken to serve for a crowd.  And now I’ve added another spice mix to my pantry.  Enjoy!

Jerk Chicken Marinade

1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 jalapeño chile, coarsely chopped (more or less, depending on your spice level)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or substitute tamari, which is gluten-free)
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar

For the jerk chicken

1 1/2 cups jerk marinade
3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs


  1.  In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients and process until smooth. The marinade will be a thick paste. You should have about 1 1/2 cups. (You can store the marinade in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator for up to a couple weeks.)
  2.  Place the chicken in a deep dish and completely coat with 1 cup of the jerk marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.
  3.  Place the chicken on the grill for about 3 minutes per side. Baste once on each side with the remaining 1/2 cup of sauce. Cut through one piece to ensure that it is cooked thoroughly.
  4. Plate and serve.  Enjoy!


  1. Ellen Gelman · · Reply

    What a delicious and versatile way to enhance the flavour of the chicken. The copper coloured marinade bubbling away looks so inviting, beyond the taste the aroma must be delightful too.

    1. It was simple to put together, and a fun and easy way to marinate chicken pieces! give it a try!! Shelley

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