I developed this Jerk Chicken recipe for my friend’s butcher shop, Di Liso’s Meats, at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. If you’re ever there, stop by and say hi to Johnny! He’s a great guy who has a wealth of information about all things meat.
Johnny wanted a jerk chicken recipe with tons of flavour, just like the jerk chicken he tried in Jamaica. He wanted moderate heat with full-bodied flavour (if you want big heat, don’t seed the habanero chili pepper!). The flavour in this recipe comes from the herbs, spices, and the salty seasoning (salt and soy sauce) that infuse the chicken as it marinates and cooks.
This recipe can be cooked on the grill or in the oven. Just make sure if you’re grilling the chicken, you do so over indirect heat, you want to cook the chicken not burn it. If you’re unsure about indirect grilling, this will help.
SAFETY ALERT: Habanero chili peppers are EXTREMELY hot and can cause intense pain if you rub your eye after handling the pepper. To protect yourself, cover your hands with plastic bags or gloves when seeding the pepper or handling the jerk paste.
Jerk Chicken Tips:
- If you don’t have allspice, you can substitute the 2 teaspoons of allspice with 1 teaspoon cinnamon + ½ teaspoon clove + ½ teaspoon nutmeg.
- You can substitute 1 shallot for 4 green onions.
- You can substitute the habanero chili pepper with a scotch bonnet pepper. To increase the heat in this recipe, don’t remove the seeds. The seeds and inner membrane of a pepper is where all the heat is.
- To cook the chicken in the oven, preheat oven to 350°F and bake chicken in a baking dish skin side down, turning half way through, until juices run clear – about 30 to 40 minutes. To crisp up the skin, finish the chicken pieces skin side up under the broiler for a few minutes.
- If you don’t have a thermometer to tell if the chicken is done cooking, use a small knife to cut the chicken piece to the bone – the juices should run clear and the meat should be no longer pink at the bone.