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Grilled Jerk Chicken with BBQ Sauce

Jerk chicken is one of my favorite ways to eat chicken. You can use the marinade and sauce in this recipe on boneless breasts like I did, or on thighs, or on bone in chicken which is the more traditional way to eat it. I had extra chicken breasts in my freezer so that is what I used this time.

Jerk chicken definitely needs to be marinated ahead of time to get the full flavor. At least 8 hours but 24 is better if you have time. There are some variations to jerk marinade but the main components are scallions, scotch bonnet peppers, ginger, garlic, allspice, thyme, and lime juice. I cannot find fresh scotch bonnet peppers at my grocery stores, so I usually use either habanero peppers or I used jalapenos and then add some scotch bonnet hot sauce I keep in the fridge as well.

You can make this recipe without the jerk bbq sauce, but I love having the extra tangy sauce to eat with the chicken. I served this with yellow rice, black beans and some vegetables.


Grilled Jerk Chicken with BBQ Sauce

Grilled jerk chicken pieces served with tangy bbq sauce
Course Lunch, Main Course
Keyword Chicken, Lunch, Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 people


For the marinade and chicken:

  • 8 scallions trimmed and washed
  • 2 jalapenos or scotch bonnet peppers plus hot sauce if using jalapenos
  • 3 inch piece fresh ginger peeled
  • 6 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tsp thyme leaves (fresh) or 1 tsp dried
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp fresh black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 lbs chicken breast, thighs or parts

For the bbq sauce:

  • 4 oz tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup jerk marinade
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dried mustard powder
  • 2 tsp tamarind puree optional but yum
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


For the marinade and chicken:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender cup and blend until smooth.
  • If using chicken breasts, pound out to an even thickness. Pour marinade over chicken pieces and place in the fridge for 8-24 hours.
  • When ready to grill, heat the grill to medium high heat and oil the grates. Grill until the chicken registers 165 degrees internally. About 5 minutes per side. Serve with sauce, rice and beans.

For the sauce:

  • Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and cook until reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
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