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Tropical Grilling: Mastering Smoked Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Island Bliss: Mastering Smoked Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Do you want to experience true island bliss from the comfort of your own home? If so, then it's time to master the art of smoked Jamaican jerk chicken. This delectable dish is one of Jamaica's most beloved recipes and is known for its sweet and spicy flavor that will transport you straight to the Caribbean. With a few ingredients, you can create a delicious meal that will have all your friends asking for seconds! So grab your smoker, get ready to fire up some coals, and let's start cooking!

Required Ingredients And Tools

To get the authentic Jamaican flavor of jerk chicken, you will need the following:


  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup Jamaican Jerk marinade or sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Charcoal or gas grill
  • Wood chips (preferably hickory or applewood)
  • Smoker box (if using a gas grill)
  • Instant-read meat thermometer
  • Tongs
  • Basting brush
  • Aluminum foil
  • Meat carving board
  • Sharp carving knife

Preparing The Chicken

Preparing the chicken is key to achieving that perfect smoked Jamaican jerk flavor.

Clean The Chicken

Start by thoroughly washing the chicken with cool water. You will also want to remove any excess fat from all sides of the bird. It is essential to ensure that the chicken is completely dry before you begin cooking, so pat it down with a paper towel.

Season The Chicken

In a mixing bowl, combine the Jamaican Jerk marinade or sauce, olive oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, dried thyme, ground allspice, ground ginger, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. 

Marinate The Chicken With Jerk Sauce

Pour the marinade sauce over the chicken in a sizable plastic bag that can be sealed. Once the marinade is evenly distributed throughout the chicken, close the bag. To ensure that the flavors are completely absorbed by the chicken, refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably overnight.

Bring The Chicken To Room Temperature

Before you start cooking the smoked Jamaican jerk chicken, it is important to bring the chicken pieces to room temperature. Ensure that the chicken cooks evenly, which reduces the risk of burning or drying out during the cooking process. To do this, simply take the marinated chicken out of the refrigerator and leave it on a clean cutting board at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Pat The Chicken Dry

After removing the chicken from the marinade, it is important to discard any excess marinade. It will prevent the chicken from becoming too salty or overpowering in flavor. Patting the chicken dry with paper towels also helps to remove any extra moisture that is still on the surface of the meat. Doing this helps to create a nicely browned and crispy exterior when cooked on the grill.

Smoking The Chicken

The chicken will have a smoky flavor and tender texture from smoking, which is something that grilling cannot provide. Here's how to smoke Jamaican jerk chicken:

Soak The Wood Chips

To create the perfect smoked Jamaican jerk chicken, it is important to use wood chips for their flavor and smoky aromas. Soaking the wood chips before adding them to your smoker or grill will help ensure that they do not burn too quickly, allowing for a steady smoke. It is best to soak the chips for at least 30 minutes before using them.

Preheat The Smoker

Before you begin smoking the Jamaican jerk chicken, it is important to preheat your smoker. The ideal temperature for smoking the chicken is between 225°F and 250°F. This lower temperature will help to slowly infuse the smoky flavor of the wood chips into the meat while also helping to prevent burning or drying out.

Add The Wood Chips

Once the smoker is preheated, add the soaked wood chips to the charcoal or gas grill. If using a gas grill, place them in a smoker box to keep them contained and prevent flare-ups.

Place The Chicken On The Smoker

Using tongs, carefully place the chicken pieces on the preheated grill. Make sure to leave enough space between the pieces to allow for even cooking. Close the lid and let the chicken smoke for 2–3 hours, depending on the size of the pieces.

Monitor The Temperature

To check that your chicken is cooked evenly, it is important to monitor its internal temperature throughout the smoking process. Using an instant-read thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the chicken to check whether it has an internal temperature of 165°F.

Remove From The Smoker

Once the chicken has reached its desired internal temperature, carefully remove it from the smoker or grill and let it keep for 10–15 minutes before serving. Enjoy your perfectly smoked Jamaican jerk chicken.

Serve With Accompaniments

To complete your dish, serve the smoked Jamaican jerk chicken with a variety of accompaniments, such as:

Side Dishes

Enjoy your delicious and smoky Jamaican jerk chicken with all the flavorful accompaniments!

Some traditional Jamaican side dishes that pair well with Jamaican jerk chicken include rice and peas, plantains, roasted sweet potatoes, and Jamaican-style coleslaw. Grilled or roasted vegetables, such as corn, bell peppers, and zucchini, also make great sides.

Jerk Sauce

Serve Jamaican jerk chicken with a side of jerk sauce for dipping or drizzling. Jerk sauce is typically made with hot peppers, herbs, spices, and a sweetener like brown sugar or molasses. It adds an extra layer of heat and flavor to the chicken. 


To complement the spicy flavors of the Jamaican jerk chicken, serve it with a cold, refreshing beverage. A tropical drink like a pia colada or a Jamaican-style ginger beer would be a perfect match. For non-alcoholic options, try serving iced tea, lemonade, or coconut water.


Finish your meal with a sweet and delicious dessert. Traditional Jamaican desserts like rum cake or tres leches cake would be the perfect way to end your meal. Or, try something tropical like upside-down pineapple cake or grilled mangoes with ice cream.

Enjoy Your Meal With Sauces by Jrk!

Enjoy your smoked Jamaican Jerk chicken with Sauces by Jrk!, a range of authentic Caribbean sauces made from natural ingredients and bursting with flavor. With hot and spicy, mild and sweet, and vegan options, there is something for everyone! Try them today and get the delicious taste!

                                                                 KYLE PRICE 

Kyle Price, the creative force behind Sauces by Jrk!, brings a unique blend of Jamaican culinary heritage and modern flair to the world of gourmet sauces. Starting his journey in a bustling Miami kitchen, Kyle's passion for authentic Jamaican flavors and commitment to natural, health-focused ingredients quickly set his sauces apart. His mantra, "Health is Wealth, Mon," reflects in every bottle, offering a delicious journey into Jamaican tradition with a contemporary twist.

For more about Kyle and his approach, visit Sauces by Jrk!.
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