Authentic Jerk Chicken


  • 1 big bunch of green onions or a couple smaller bunches
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme, or 1 Tbls fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 1-10 scotch bonnets. Start with a small amount and add more lately if you think it needs it.
  • 1 thumb sized knuckle of ginger (don’t worry about peeling it; just blend it up skin and all!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 a small onion
  • 2-3 tbsp of brown sugar


Mix it all together into a blender and turn it into a puree. Don’t add more water, if you’re having trouble getting it all blended, just keep turning off the blender, stirring it up, and trying again. Eventually it will “take” and start to blend up nicely.

Now taste it. It should taste pretty salty, but not unpleasantly puckeringly salty. If you think it’s perfect, and would enjoy it as a table sauce, add a bit more salt. You want this to sort of brine the meat as it marinates. It won’t taste too salty when you eat it with the meat, it will taste great!

You can also now throw in more chiles if it’s not spicy enough for you. If it tastes too salty and sour, try adding in a bit more brown sugar until things seem good and balanced.

Authentic jerked meats are not exactly grilled as we think of grilling, they are sort of smoke grilled. To get a more authentic jerk experience, add some wood chips to your BBQ, and cook your meat over slow indirect heat or just get em going over high heat and enjoy a beautiful jerk chicken breast, should be ready in 10 minutes or less.

If you have any modifications to make this recipe more delicious then feel free to leave a comment.

49 responses so far

49 Responses to “Authentic Jerk Chicken”

  1. Anilon 24 Jan 2009 at 11:05 am

    This is a gem of a recipe – and accurate too!
    I had tried making Jerk Chicken using arecipe from All – it called for 4 tsp of thyme, and my wife refused to eat it.
    So I tried one last time using your recipe.
    The marinade itself taste great!
    It turned out well. I even prefer it to Tandoori chicken and coming from a person of Indian origin, is a compliment!

    1) Can one use ordinary onions instead? Green onions are not so readily available.
    2) I used 1 habanero, seeds removed – I think these are Scotch bonnets?
    3) 1 Tbsp cider vinegar instead of lime juice.

  2. Eyeballon 15 Mar 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Habineros are not Scotch bonnetts, though i dont know if one could substitute since both range in heat from 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Units.

  3. marciaon 05 Apr 2009 at 3:29 am

    the best

  4. CheapImitationFood.comon 16 Apr 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Wait, this stuff is traditional?

    It tastes like 2008-2009 sorta, new wave recipes…

  5. rastamonon 27 Apr 2009 at 5:33 am

    yeah mon me wife got da recipe from ya and it takes me back too the island coulta very good mon…bless

  6. Thymeon 25 Jun 2009 at 9:26 pm


    An interesting post by a bloger made me ……

  7. Jamaican MeCrazyon 05 Aug 2009 at 9:26 am

    Yo mon, you niggas gotsta geev it up to jah . we bwoy just jammin on da lambsbread, but see no praise! Bloodclots doin your fuckery. Praise jah. I-ree!

  8. miss lon 18 Aug 2009 at 10:14 am

    well my sister in law cooks jerk chicken 4 me all the while and its damn good i’m gonna try this and see how it goes maybe it’ll be nicer than hers lol x

  9. Dennis Grahamon 04 Sep 2009 at 2:30 pm

    This recipe has a HUGE mistake. No way are you gonna “smoke grill” a chicken breast in 10 minutes. Maybe 30 minutes…and that’s fast.

  10. Ryanon 22 Nov 2009 at 9:48 am

    Dennis, read it again. The 10 min figure was for the chicken over direct heat. There is no substitute for a good thermometer, though.

  11. chicken coopon 10 Dec 2009 at 11:16 pm

    What a great idea for an article! Thank you for the awesome suggestion.

  12. Rx7driver4lifeon 25 Feb 2010 at 5:14 am

    I’m going to be trying this recipe tonight we will see how it comes out. I am going to omit the scotch bonnet peppers though not a big fan of the heat i will use jalapeños instead, keeping it bearable. And you can smoke grill a chicken breast in 10 min if you fillet it open.

  13. Accompongon 03 Mar 2010 at 1:22 pm

    How come soy sauce? InI always use a sprinkle of browning sauce and leave the spice mix without soy sauce or lime juice

    And Scotch Bonnet Pepper are important if its not hot it sucks. One original Scotch Bonnet pepper is enough for 2 chicken trust me

    you either better leave it marinated in the fridge overnight and cook it properly for 45 minutes instead of 10

    or do it the original way smoked on small opened fire for a couple of hours

  14. Bikebirdon 08 Jul 2010 at 11:46 am

    Rx7driver4life–Please give the Scotch Bonnet a try. It’s not gonna be Jerk without it. The pepper has a distinct flavor that makes Jerk Jerk; the heat is almost secondary (though unavoidable). Do like the recipe says and start with one and add more for more heat, as desired.

    I just got back from a trip to Jamaica, where I took a class on Jerking from the head cook of the Jerk Centre at the Ritz Carlton. Upscale Jerk? No, mon. De real ting. And she was adamant–no Scotch Bonnets, no jerk.

    And Accompong–my recipe calls for soy sauce for flavor and browning for color.

  15. Hen Houseson 10 Aug 2010 at 5:18 am

    Thank-you for this recipe, i went to a Carabbian Carnival in Bristol and I bought some Jerk Chicken and it was absolutely delicious!

    With this receipe i’m now going to try and replicate the taste.

    Thank-you very much


  16. Caymanwenton 31 Aug 2010 at 9:52 am

    All of you critics are missin’ the point I live in the Caymans and Jam for 12 years annd every little local eatery made it a little different………….viva la difference.
    Color outside of the box!!!!!!

  17. Detra Hembyon 22 Oct 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Long time viewer / first time poster. Really enjoying reading the blog, keep up the excellent work. Will most definitely start posting more oftenin the near future.

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  20. zmundjon 29 Mar 2011 at 2:29 pm

    what the fuck is a thumb sized knuckle ? fuck u jamicain fucks

  21. Sebon 16 Apr 2011 at 3:47 am

    Tried some jerk at young african art market (yaam) in Berlin.
    Damn, the jerk chicken, they served was awesome.
    Tried today myself, following a slightly different receipe from a friend of mine. Little more garlic, little more allspice, little more lime, little vinegar for the colour.
    And as a secret from his mama, I added a jug of orange juice for little less sugar.
    Fantastic result.
    By the way, I tried scotch bonnets with it, as his mama said as well, “no bonnet, no jerk”. I was almost dying when I cut that stuff and licked the finger. This is a weapon of mass destruction.

  22. Halon 29 Apr 2011 at 7:19 am

    This recipe is a great starting point. To illustrate the variations in jerk chicken, every year on Labor Day at the Caribbean festival here in Brooklyn, I go from vendor to vendor trying different cooks’ versions. I love them all, especially if their spicy. Food vendors line both sides of Eastern Parkway for two miles, and pungent savory smoke rises from split oil drums all along the route of the parade. I usually try to buy from three or four vendors, and carry the leftovers home to finish over the next day or two.

  23. cmltowon 07 May 2011 at 2:39 pm

    This recipe is a good base. Like someone on here said, jerk chicken is different depending on who’s cooking it. I agree it needs scotch bonnets, they add a distinctive flavor even if you just use 1 or 2. I would suggest doubling all the dry ingredients and adding cinnamon, a couple teaspoons of malt vinegar, some Appleton rum (or any dark rum), Tbsp nutmeg, Tsp of molasses, a little bit of orange juice. For me, the more flavors the better. I marinate mine for a minimum of 4 days, usually 6, and I poke lots of holes in the chicken with a fork before I throw it in the freezer bag with the marinade. I only cook this on a charcoal grill. I put the coals on one side, sear chicken over direct heat for a couple minutes then, move it over to indirect heat and cook till it is done, flipping sparingly. Just shuffle them around so they don’t burn.

  24. Rhondaon 01 Jun 2011 at 11:33 am

    I tried jerk chicken for the first time in May while in Jamaica for my daughter wedding. This dude with an oil drum grill was wandering around our hotel complex. He took our what looked like a machete to chop up the cooked chicken and asked if I wanted Magic Sauce. My other daughter said, trust me Mom, you can’t handle it. Well, now I’m sorry I didn’t try it. Anyhow, I bought some Jerk seasoning and tried to make it myself. Just the smell of it cooking took me back to the island. I’m still experimenting too. I also used orange juice in mine instead of water.

  25. MonkeyManon 09 Jun 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I just made this sauce up, substituting habaneros for scotch bonnets (cant find scotch bonnets anywhere around here) and it is DELICIOUS. I haven’t put it on food yet but I’ve been licking the excess off my fingers and spatulas like its candy!

  26. Ironmanon 12 Jun 2011 at 6:31 am

    I put in a couple of cinnamon sticks, cilantro, nutmeg and fresh ginger. I just tried some orange juice in it and it made it a little sweeter. Good recipe!!!

  27. robon 02 Jul 2011 at 12:12 pm

    this recipe looks great, now to find somewhere selling green onions in the UK midlands…

  28. robon 02 Jul 2011 at 12:13 pm

    hang on. green onions – are these shallots?

  29. Paton 30 Jul 2011 at 2:18 am

    no green onions are also known as scallions (escallion to islanders)

  30. Justinon 30 Jul 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Superb blog with very insightful information. the author is one talented person. Keep up the great work!

  31. Jayon 19 Aug 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I’m Jamaican… I love mi sum jerk…..

    This had an ok flavor. The flavor was not as strong as I would of liked it.

    Maybe I needed to marinate it longa.

  32. Deadra Reffon 24 Aug 2011 at 3:46 pm

    What is the easiest way to make money off of my blog posts?

  33. jodion 25 Aug 2011 at 4:28 pm

    The actual wood from the pimento wood tree must be used to make it really authentic. That can only be found in one place in the USA – They are the only importer of the wood, charcoal, leaves, etc.

  34. Ryanon 15 Oct 2011 at 6:47 am

    3-4 sprigs of scallions/green onions (not handfuls/bunches)
    1/2 – 1 Onion (depending on how much you like onions- use white or substitute with sweet onion)
    2 tbsp soy sauce (optional, personally I dont add soy sauce)
    3 tbsp vegetable oil
    2 tbsp salt (Celery salt can be used instead
    Juice of 2-3 limes (depending on their size – this is for bathing the chicken before marinating!!! do not add to blender)
    2 tsp dried thyme, or 1 – 2 sprigs of fresh thyme chopped
    4-7 tbsp allspice (I use ~5)
    1-2 scotch bonnets (habeneros will substitute, but flavors a little different with bonnets)
    1 thumb sized knuckle of ginger (optional)
    4-8 cloves of garlic ( I stick with around 5-6 usually, but it just depends on the clove sizes really- they can be small sometimes)
    2-3 tbsp of brown sugar (optional)

    The main thing with the ranges and optional ingredients above is to think about the flavor of each and what types of tastes you prefer; this is a versatile recipe which is why you’ll see ingredient combinations across the board with certain ingredient volumes loaded-in when you search for jerk recipes online.

    you blend up everything in a blender except for the lime- put this in a bowl with a little but of water and thoroughly bath each piece of chicken in this before marinating with blender mix- the lime juice is an active ingredient that helps the marinade soak into the chicken better.

    Let chicken sit for a minimum of 24 hours; 2-4 days is ideal if you have the patience/foresight.

  35. louis vuitton monogram canvason 17 Dec 2011 at 3:01 am

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

  36. Captain Conchon 07 Jan 2012 at 9:36 am

    My Jamaican friend Ivy gave me a little Scotch Bonnet plant, here in So Florida it grew up into a very beautiful ornamental plant covered with the colorful peppers. ATTENTION: ya just cant substitute jalapenos for the Bonnets! Scotch Bonnets have a totally different and unique flavor! And yes they must be handled with great respect cause they are &%##@HOT*#*#!!!!

  37. kit homeson 18 Jan 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Whoa! that post was quite helpful thanks.

  38. Jasonon 14 Jul 2012 at 9:59 am

    Just left the island…miss it already,,,I threw in some island spice brand jerk seasoning (my wife does not do hot) and added my own hot sauce…Thanks for the recipe!!!!!!

  39. justcraigon 10 Mar 2013 at 12:34 am

    green onion also known as scallions also known as spring onions in the UK

  40. Ericon 23 Aug 2013 at 4:31 am

    This recipe is incredible. I did substitute habañeros because I can’t find scotch bonnet peppers. The smoky taste of the scotch bonnet is not missed if you can smoke the chicken. I have a pressure smoker so that I can smoke the chicken in 30 minutes. Then throw on the grill or broil for a few minutes to char a little bit. This was so good.

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    This one’s a keeper:)

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