Jerk Chicken

Jerk is more than just a highly spiced combination of antioxidant rich green onions, thyme, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and hot spices. It’s a process that doesn’t work if you’re in a hurry.

The chicken, fish, or tofu needs time to marinate, the grill needs to be fired up, and that protein needs to cook slowly. All of these elements have to be in place so that the end result will be spicy sweet and full of flavour.

This jerk recipe is mild on the heat side so if you want spicy, you’ll need to add your favourite hot sauce. I kept the marinade mild so kids and friends who are spicy-food challenged could enjoy the fabulous flavours.

You really need a food processor to make this marinade.

1 onion, chopped into quarters

4 green onions, chopped into quarters, the green and white part

1 tsp (5 mL) honey or sweetener of your choice

1 tsp (5 mL) ground thyme

1 tsp (5 mL) ground allspice

1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon

1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black pepper

½ tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg

½ tsp (2 mL) red pepper flakes

3 tbsp (45 mL) lower sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil

1 tbsp (15 mL) apple cider vinegar

  1. Whirl everything in a food processor until it forms a thick paste. Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  2. Can be used to marinate poultry, fish, and tofu.

 Makes approx. 1 cup (250 mL)

One cup contains: 246 Calories, 15.3 g Total fat, 1.5 g Sat Fat, 0.3 g Trans Fat, 1757 mg Sodium, 29 g Carbs, 7 g Fiber, 10.9 g Sugars, 6 g Protein

 Diabetes Food Choice Values Per Serving: 1 ½ Carbohydrates, 1 Meat and Alternatives, 2 ½ Fats


 Jerk Chicken

I lived on Queen Street East while I was in the Second City Comedy Troupe. Everyday I walked to the Old Fire Hall, at that time SC’s main stage location; I would go right by an exotic Caribbean restaurant called the Real Jerk. The smells that wafted out that door were tantalizing. I was a starving actress back then and rarely went to a sit down restaurant, and it killed me to just walk on by. It wasn’t until I started dating my partner, Scott, about fifteen years later, that I got to taste the restaurants specialty, Jerk Chicken. It was totally worth the wait.


2 lb (1 kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs or boneless, skinless breasts * see below.

The entire recipe for Jerk Marinade

1 large resealable plastic bag

  1. Place the Jerk Marinade into a resealable plastic bag or in a non metallic casserole dish. Add chicken and make sure that the marinade is coating all of it. Gently press the air out, reseal the bag, and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. Make sure to massage the bag every so often to make sure the marinade is coating all of the chicken. Open the fridge to get a glass of milk, massage the chicken. Open the fridge to get an apple, massage the chicken, you get the drill. If you are using a casserole dish, make sure the marinade is coating the chicken. Cover the dish, and spoon marinade over top of the chicken every so often. (you can freeze this after 21 hours, thaw in fridge overnight before cooking)
  2. Preheat indoor grill or outdoor BBQ or in the dead of winter slowly roast them in the oven. If roasting in the oven:Preheat oven to 275°F (140°C) line a shallow rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a rack onto top.
  3. Remove the chicken from the fridge and let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade and place on hot grill, or BBQ or on the prepared baking sheet. Out door grill –  Close the lid. Discard the marinade.
  5. Cook chicken on low direct heat until internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) approx. 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. Flip often to reduce blackening. OR oven method: roast for 30-50 minutes in the oven or until the correct internal temperature has been reached
  6. Remove from grill and place on a clean plate. Let sit covered for 5 minutes. Serve.


Makes 8 servings One serving = approx 3 oz (75 g) cooked chicken

One serving contains: 213 Calories, 11 g Total fat, 2.9 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 302 mg Sodium, 3.6 g Carbs, 1 g Fiber, 1.4 g Sugars, 24 g Protein

 Diabetes Food Choice Values Per Serving: 1 Extra, 3 ½ Meat and Alternatives

 *I used bone in breasts on Cityline – they were on sale! They take a little longer to cook.

 Professional home economist tip: This recipe is for eight people, so you can either cut the recipe in half or cook up the whole thing and serve the leftovers cold the next day. It’s a fabulous make ahead dish to take on a picnic or to a cottage.

 Leftovers: eat cold as is – or shred the chicken, line a crusty bun with leafy greens, add your favourite creamy salad dressing. Serve with Coleslaw, the one pictured is made with red cabbage. See picture:

Make yourself a cold Jerk Chicken Sandwich with the leftovers.



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