The main content

Jerk Chicken


  • Juice of 4 limes, plus 1 lime cut into wedges, for serving

  • 1/3 cup apple juice

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari

  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 cup canola oil

  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika

  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 6 to 8 thin scallions (a small bunch), chopped, plus 2 or 3 scallions sliced, for garnish

  • 2 large shallots, chopped

  • 8 cloves garlic, grated or pasted

  • 6 to 8 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles (seeds and ribs removed for less heat)

  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 12 pieces chicken (bone-in, skin-on drumsticks, thighs, and split breasts)

  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper


In a food processor or blender, combine the lime juice, apple juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire, canola oil, thyme, paprika, allspice, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, chopped scallions, shallots, garlic, chiles, and ginger, and process into a smooth sauce. Reserve one-third of the sauce for dipping and drizzling. Place the remaining sauce in a large plastic food storage bag and add the bay leaves.

Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and lots of black pepper. Add the chicken to the bag and rub the sauce into the chicken, using the bag to protect your hands from the chile heat. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for 1 to 2 days, flipping the bag and rubbing the chicken from time to time.

Bring the chicken to room temperature 45 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.

Prepare a grill with wood chips to medium-low heat or heat a grill pan to medium-low. Grill the chicken skin-side up with the lid closed or under a foil tent for 20 minutes. Flip and cook 15 minutes more, turning occasionally, 35 minutes total or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

Let stand a few minutes and serve with extra sauce for spooning at the table. Top with sliced scallions and serve with lime wedges on the side.