This marinade recipe is one of our favorites! This marinade is full of fresh flavor. Although it might seem odd to combine these ingredients, they make an incredible, balanced flavor. It all goes perfectly with chicken.
This recipe is great for summer cookouts, but it can also be used for weeknight meals. You can prepare the marinade the night before or the morning before, then add the chicken to it and let it sit while you are at work. You can either bake the chicken or grill it when you return home.
Ingredients for Chicken and Marinate
- Chicken pieces (bone-in skin-on) I recommend 5 thighs and 5 legs.
- Red onions – A substitute could be 1/2 small red onions.
- Garlic Only uses fresh garlic.
- Ginger This adds so many flavors; use only fresh.
- Habanero Peppers – Scotch Bonnet peppers are also good options if they’re available. These peppers are hot and can be adjusted according to your taste.
- Lime juice– In a pinch, lemon juice may also work. Do not use bottled.
- Soy sauce If you have low sodium, it will work. Just add some salt to the marinade.
- Brown sugar could be replaced with honey.
- Thyme leaves– Use fresh, but in a pinch, 1 teaspoon dried.
- Use nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice in your chicken recipe.
- Black pepper It’s not easy to grind, but it makes a big difference.
How to Make Chicken Jerk
- Place chicken in a gallon-sized resealable bag.
- Prepare marinade: Add green onions, garlic and ginger, habaneros and soy sauce to a food processor.
- Use marinade to coat chicken: Mix the ingredients in a bag and seal it. Press out any air, then rub the marinade on the chicken.
- Allow marinating: Let sit in the fridge for 3 to 24 hours.
How to Make Jerk Chicken in the Oven
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray aluminum foil on a baking sheet measuring 18 x 13 inches.
- Place marinated chicken on a sheet. Remove chicken from the marinade. Layout chicken pieces on a baking sheet, leaving room between them.
- Bake at 165° in the center. Bake in a preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Broil the last few minutes to get a better browning.
How to grill jerk chicken
Heat the grill and clean and oil the grates. Preheat a gas barbecue to medium heat (approx. 400 degrees). Use tongs to oil grill grates.
Heat to 165°F: Grill until the chicken is cooked through. Turn occasionally, and reduce the heat if necessary. This takes about 30 minutes.
Can Boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs be used?
Yes. You can also grill this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Marinate for no more than six hours if you do so.
Grill on medium heat (425 – 450) for 4 – 5 minutes on each side. Keep an eye on it as it can dry out if it reaches 165 degrees in the center. You shouldn’t bake breasts because you won’t see any browning.
You can use boneless, skinless thighs for oven roasting or grilling. Marinate for up to 12 hours if you do so. Grill on medium heat (425 – 450) for 5 – 7 mins per side. Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 30 to 35 minutes. If you need to brown your bread, broil the last few minutes of baking on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Can I make the marinade ahead of time?
The marinade can be prepared up to four days ahead. Keep it in the refrigerator.
Tips for making the best jerk chicken
- Only use fresh ingredients (no dried powders) for the best flavor. This chicken is delicious because almost everything in it is fresh.
- Give the chicken enough time to marinate to allow those flavors to soak in.
- For the best flavor and tender result, skip the chicken breasts and opt for the thighs.
- To maximize the flavor, You can rub some marinade under the skin of your chicken, but be careful not to pull it off.
- Grilling is a different experience. Every grill cooks differently, so be careful. The goal is to get a little bit of char, but not too much. Reduce the heat as necessary.