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Make chef Dwight Smith's recipe for juicy, charred Jerk Chicken

The Toronto-based chef and food creator shares his take on this all-time classic Jamaican dish.

The Toronto-based chef and food creator shares his take on this all-time classic Jamaican dish

Make chef Dwight Smith's recipe for juicy, charred Jerk Chicken

6 months ago
Duration 1:11
The Toronto-based chef and food creator shares his take on this all-time classic Jamaican dish.

This is a recipe that is near and dear to my heart. It’s a popular Jamaican dish that truly represents the island in a global way. And as a Canadian-Jamaican chef, I’m on a mission to highlight the beautiful diversity of Caribbean cuisine while making high-quality restaurant dishes more accessible for people at home. Check out my take on this all-time classic, jerk chicken, below.

Ingredients

Jerk paste:

  • 2 tbsp whole allspice berries
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 white onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ bunch scallions, chopped
  • 3 Scotch bonnet peppers, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • ½ bunch thyme, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped ginger
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp browning
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ¼ cup canola oil

Chicken

  • 4 whole skin-on, bone-in chicken legs
  • 2 L cold water
  • 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp Jamaican all-purpose seasoning
  • 6 heaping tbsp jerk paste (see above)

Jerk sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tbsp jerk paste (see above)

Preparation

Jerk paste:

Toast the allspice berries and peppercorns in a pan over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes to bring out their flavour, then grind with a mortar and pestle. 

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until well combined (depending on the size of your food processor, you may want to do this in multiple rounds). Take your time with this step; you'll want to ensure there are no big lumps and that everything is evenly distributed within the paste. 

Chicken:

Trim any excess skin and fat from the chicken legs. In a large bowl, add the chicken, water, vinegar, salt and lime juice. Massage the chicken in the liquid to prepare it for marinating, then remove and pat dry with paper towel. 

In another bowl, combine the chicken, Jamaican all-purpose seasoning and jerk paste. Be sure to really massage the marinade into the chicken so that it's fully coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge. For best results, allow the chicken to marinate for up to 24 hours.

Jerk sauce:

Add the ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer while whisking gently. Remove from heat and reserve for grilling. 

Grilling:

Preheat your grill to medium. Using a towel or spray bottle, lightly coat your grill with canola oil. Place the chicken skin-side-down on the grill and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the chicken over and continue to cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Brush the chicken occasionally with jerk sauce, allowing a glaze to form. 

Turn your grill down to low and cook for around 10 more minutes; you're looking for a beautiful charred appearance and an internal temperature of 165 F. (If needed, you can turn your grill up to high heat for a couple minutes to render the skin and give the fully cooked chicken a bit more colour.) Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest before serving. 

Enjoy over rice with pepper sauce and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. 

Produced in collaboration with CBC Creator Network.


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