This sweet and spicy homemade seasoning is easy to make and perfect for making homemade jerk chicken.
Enjoy a taste of the Caribbean at home!
This Jerk Baked Chicken Seasoning offers a spicy punch to your chicken, making it so much more flavorful and tasty.
You can often find jerk seasoning as either a dry rub or a more of a wet paste. This dry rub recipe lends itself well to chicken that is baked or pan fried.
The key when using any jerk seasoning is to marinade your chicken well in advance, so it takes on an abundance of flavor whilst remaining tender and juicy. You can try poking holes or create little slices in your chicken to help the flavor permeate the meat.
Chicken drumsticks, thighs or legs work best for baked jerk chicken. Whilst you can use breasts, you need to be careful not to over-bake them as this will dry them out.
A quick history of jerk chicken
Jerk chicken is commonly cooked over a BBQ. This method of cooking began over 2500 years ago, pioneered by the Arawak Indians who settled in Jamaica.
The Arawak Indians would often smoke and dry meat, making a jerky of sorts that would last on long boat trips. Years later, Christopher Columbus found Jamaica and gradually brought over African slaves who were taught by the Arawak Indians how to cook using this method. After the Arawak Indians died out, the African slaves living on the island began using fresh spices, salt and pepper to preserve their meat, then wrapped it in leaves to avoid it spoiling.
When they were ready to cook the meat, they would place the wrapped meat into a hole with hot rocks which essentially barbecued it. Over time, this method evolved to what we now know as the jerk cooking method.
The smokiness of the BBQ helps to enhance the jerk flavor, so if you are baking your chicken as opposed to barbecuing it, do be aware that you will be missing that! You can try and recreate the smoky flavor with liquid smoke, but only use a dash and brush it over the chicken before coating it in the jerk seasoning.
Creating a Caribbean meal
The jerk cooking method lends itself well to all kinds of meat! In addition to chicken, you can try pork, goat and even fish. Try these Jerk Fish Tacos with Pineapple Slaw or these Jerk Chicken Mango Avocado Sliders.
Commonly served up alongside jerk chicken is fried plantain and rice and peas. Plantains belong to the family of bananas, but they are starchier and are lower in sugar so they are not as sweet. Plantains, whilst technically a fruit, are treated more like a vegetable in Caribbean cuisine. They are delicious boiled, fried, grilled or steamed.
When stored in an airtight container, this seasoning will last for months before beginning to lose some of its flavor. If you notice that your seasoning is lacking in flavor, you can revive it by gently toasting it in a skillet before using it.