If You've Got the Patience for Homemade Sourdough, Try Making Jerk Chicken Next

Jerk chicken from scratch takes about two days to make from start to finish. You’ll be so satisfied and proud don't be surprised when it becomes a regular weekend project.

June 25, 2020

Photo by: Felicia Perretti

Felicia Perretti

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If you can’t make it to your go-to Jamaican restaurant or have to postpone your trip to the Caribbean, you can still get your jerk chicken fix – right at home. Perfect for a lowkey weekend, Kwame Onwuachi’s recipe for the fiery dish involves a two-day process that will keep you occupied at home when you’ve got time on your hands.

In his class on the Food Network Kitchen app, Kwame breaks down how to make jerk chicken from scratch. He starts by brining dark meat chicken with sugar, spices and the dish’s signature Scotch bonnet chile. Pro tip: Be sure to wear gloves when slicing through the very hot Caribbean peppers and definitely don't touch your face to avoid burning your eyes. Kwame mentions he’s rubbed his eyes with spicy fingers more times than he’d like to admit!

Photo by: Felicia Perretti

Felicia Perretti

After a day of brining, Kwame makes jerk paste marinade with a mixture of sauces (soy sauce, tamarind paste, Worcestershire sauce) and spices (allspice, cinnamon, ginger, garlic and more). If you’re not into chopping everything by hand or plan on making a larger batch, he recommends speeding up the process by tossing all the ingredients into a blender.

After putting the marinade together, Kwame takes the chicken out of the brine and tosses it in the freshly made paste. Once tossed, and wrapped in plastic, he puts the chicken back into the fridge for another 24 hours. (Like we said, this recipe takes time!)

Finally, once all the flavors have permeated the meat, Kwame gets the chicken onto the grill. While it’s cooking, he makes a fresh jerk barbecue sauce that, if you make in bulk, can be saved and used on more than just grilled chicken — think: lamb, ribs, even vegetables. Once the meat is cooked through, he brushes each piece with a generous helping of sauce.

The result? Unbelievably juicy, beautifully charred chicken bursting with deep, spicy flavor.

Seriously good jerk chicken requires patience, but the total time you need to spend actively cooking only totals to an hour. (Seriously, if you've created a sourdough starter for bread, you have the patience for this!) With Kwame by your side, you’ll be well on your way to satisfying all your jerk chicken cravings. Check out his class now – it’s free through June on the Food Network Kitchen app.

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