One of my favorite parts about visiting St. Lucia is eating half my body weight in jerk chicken. I don’t think there is such thing as a more flavorful piece of meat. All the spices, herbs, heat, everything sings together in a perfect harmony that keeps you wanting more until ya just can’t eat anymore physically. If you haven’t had jerk chicken before, don’t worry I’ll forgive you…as long as you make this recipe as soon as possible!
I’ve bought pre-made jerk marinade and it’s pretty darn good, but obviously homemade marinades from scratch are way more fun and rewarding. Jerk seasoning has many influences not just from the Caribbean, but African, European, and most recently Asian influences as you can see in the different ingredients above. All of these flavors form together to make such a flavorful seasoning.
My other favorite part about the recipe is that, you basically throw everything into a food processor and there ya go! Ok fine, you have to peel the garlic and peel/cut up the ginger, but I think we can all sacrifice that for the rest of the ease of the recipe.
The recipe calls for scotch bonnet peppers, but sometimes they are hard to find so you can substitute with a habanero pepper. If you like your jerk very spicy you can add two peppers, we did two and it was pretty hot but we like our jerk very spicy. If not, just stick with one to be safe.
Once the marinade is pulsed and blended, taste and you can adjust the seasoning. All spice is the star of this show, so feel free to add more after giving it a taste.
You can stop here, bottle the marinade, and store it in the fridge to use later…..or we can use it now!
I marinated it for about 12 hours myself. I recommend overnight or minimum 4 hours, this dish relies on the flavor so you have to give it the time for the marinade to do its job. After hours of marinating, trust me it deserves an A+.
We grilled it on our gas grill, but I can only imagine how amazing it would taste over a charcoal grill. I did use boneless skinless chicken breasts because thats what I had, but feel free to use skin-on, legs, thighs, etc. I’m sure the skin will crisp up and be so amazing!
I finished it off with some chopped scallions and I served it with my version of an spicy Caribbean coconut rice which compliments it so well. I hope you enjoy the jerk marinade and it spices up your life a little bit!
Things you’ll need: Food processor, ziplock bag for marinating, grill.
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Homemade jerk chicken marinade full of spices, heat, and flavor.
- 2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (4 single breast)
- Garnish: Chopped scallions
- 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped (1/2 cup)
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 2 inches ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp ground all spice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp better than bouillon paste (optional)
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper or habanero, stems removed (if you like really spicy add 2)
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Serve with my Spicy Caribbean Rice
- In a food processor, combine all the marinade ingredients and pulse until all ingredients are combined into a paste. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed, can add more all spice if desired.
- Separate the chicken breasts and clean where necessary. Add to a gallon ziplock bag and pour the marinade into the bag, carefully pushing out excess air, and seal. Massage the marinade into the chicken and place into the refrigerator. Marinate overnight or minimum 8 hours.
- Grill over medium high heat (about 425 degrees) for 5-8 minutes each side. Cooking time will depend on thickness of chicken and grill heat. You are looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Remove from grill and garnish with chopped scallions and serve with a side of rice or side of choice.
- You can place the marinade in a sealed jar and keep refrigerated for a week or freeze if you want to keep longer.
- Category: Marinade
- Method: Grill
- Cuisine: Caribbean
Keywords: jerk chicken, jerk marinade, chicken marinade