Jerk Chicken

Attention to all my trager friends. I swear this is a recipe for you. This is another great Cook’s Illustrated favorite of mine and has instructions for how to smoke the chicken on the BBQ grill which is what I do because I don’t have a trager. So I guess this is really a recipe for anyone who likes smokey meat. The flavor is awesome!

Ingredients for Jerk Marinade:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp whole allspice berries (I can usually find these in the Hispanic section of the grocery store where they have a bunch of dried Hispanic spices)
  • 1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
  • 1-3 habanero chiles, stemmed, quartered, with seed and ribs removed
  • 8 scallions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated lime zest (3 limes), plus lime wedges for serving
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Ingredients for Chicken:

  • 3 lbs bone-in chicken pieces (split breasts cut in half, drumstricks, and/or thighs)
  • 2 Tbsp whole allspice berries
  • 2 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 C hickory wood chips, soaked in water for 15 minutes and drained


  1. FOR THE JERK MARINADE: Grind coriander seeds, allspice berries, and peppercorns in spice grinder or mortar and pestle until coarsely ground. Transfer spices to blender jar. Add habanero(s), scallions, garlic, soy sauce, lime zest, mustard, thyme, ginger, brown sugar, salt, basil, rosemary, and nutmeg and process until smooth paste forms, 1-3 minutes, scraping down sides as necessary. Transfer marinade to gallon size zipper lock bag.
  2. FOR THE CHICKEN: Place chicken pieces in bag with marinade and toss to coat; press out as much air as possible and seal bag. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while preparing grill, flipping bag after 15 minutes. (Marinated chicken can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
  3. Combine allspice berries, thyme, rosemary, and water in bowl and set aside to moisten for 15 minutes. Using large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap soaked chips and moisten allspice mixture in foil packet and cut several vent holes in top.
  4. FOR A GAS GRILL: Place wood chip packet over primary burning. Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot and wood chips begin to smoke, 15-25 minutes. Turn primary burning to medium and turn off other burners.
  5. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chicken with marinade clinging and skin side up, as far away from fire as possible, with thighs closest to fire and breasts furthest away. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Move chicken, skin side down, to hotter side of grill; cook until browned and skin renders, 3-6 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken pieces and cook until browned on second side, 5-12 minutes longer.
  7. Transfer chicken to serving platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temp with lime wedges.

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