This extremely tasty jerk chicken recipe comes from the awesome and sadly now-defunct Caribbean restaurant in New York City called Sugar Reef. It appeared in the sadly now-out-of-print Sugar Reef Caribbean Cookbook. Despite all the sadness, this recipe still makes people very happy.
The original recipe called for half the quantities of dry spices (except salt) as these, and included the note to double them for a more authentic flavor. These quantities have already been doubled (except the salt), and it’s delicious and spicy. If you wish, you can cut the dry ingredients (except salt) in half for a more mild flavor, but if you’re looking for a more mild flavor, then what the heck are you doing cooking jerk chicken?
I’d note that the heat of peppers can vary almost as much as peoples heat tolerances; carefully taste-test your peppers and adjust the quantity accordingly.
- 2T ground allspice
- 2T ground thyme
- 3t cayenne pepper
- 3t ground black pepper
- 3t ground sage
- 1.5t ground nutmeg
- 1.5t ground cinnamon
- 2T salt
- 4T garlic powder
- 2T sugar
- 0.25c olive oil
- 0.25c soy sauce
- 0.75c white vinegar
- 0.5c orange juice
- juice of one lime
- 1c chopped white onion
- 3 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 scotch bonnet, habanero, or other very hot pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped. I’ve used more when the peppers have been too tame for my taste, and on at least one occasion, it still wasn’t enough for me. But maybe that’s my problem.
- 4 chicken breasts, trimmed; 6-to-8oz ea, or at least that’s what the recipe said in the cookbook, and that’s what they served in the restaurant. I’ve used boneless chicken thighs and been at least as happy, if not happier, with them.
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
- With a wire whisk, add the liquids.
- Add the chunky ingredients and mix well.
- Add the chicken breasts, cover, and marinate for at least one hour, longer if possible.
- Preheat outdoor grill.
- Grill chicken breasts for 6 minutes each side or until fully cooked. While grilling, baste with marinade.
Alternatively, instead of grilling the breasts (or thighs) whole, you can cut the chicken into large chunks, and grill it on skewers, turning them every couple of minutes.
The original recipe ended with “Heat the leftover marinade and serve on the side for dipping,” and while I’m skeptical about serving goo that’s had raw chicken sitting in it, I think if you “heat” it all the way to a boil first, it’s probably fine.
They also say that this recipe “serves 4”, but I’ve found that if you make up the specified amount of jerk marinade, you can easily marinate twice as much chicken in it. Put the marinade and the chicken in a heavy-duty zip-lock bag for efficient marinating.