Caribbean cuisine – Jerk

Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice.



  • 6 whole Scotch bonnet peppers (see note above)
  • 6 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 (2-inch) knob fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly picked thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons zest and 1/4 cup juice from about 4 limes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large whole chicken, back removed, split in half along breastbone (4 to 4 1/2 pounds, see note above)
  • 1/4 cup whole allspice berries
  • 3 dozen dried bay leaves (about 2 loosely packed cups)


  1. Make the jerk rub by combining the salt, allspice, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic, nutmeg, pepper, ginger, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and thyme. Toss the chicken pieces with the spice mixture, then cover, and marinate in the refrigerator 2 to 4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Pour the vegetable oil into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. Place the chicken pieces skin-side up into the baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes, until no longer pink near the bone. Turn the oven on to broil, and cook until the skin crisps, 2 to 5 minutes.




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