Recipe courtesy of Patricia Thomas and Troy Thomas

Jerk Chicken

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr 20 min
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups
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2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

Jerk Rub, recipe follows

Jerk Base, recipe follows

Jerk BBQ Sauce, recipe follows

Serving Suggestion: Serve on rolls for sandwiches or over cooked rice.

Jerk Rub:

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

6 tablespoons onion powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons garlic powder

3 1/2 tablespoons ground allspice

1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons ground nutmeg

1 1/2 tablespoons ground thyme

1 tablespoon orange peel

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 1/2 teaspoons ground sage

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon jalapeno powder

1 teaspoon habanero powder

1 teaspoon lime peel

Jerk BBQ Sauce:

1/2 Jerk Base recipe, recipe follows

4 cups vinegar-based, store-bought BBQ Sauce

2 cups orange blossom honey (any honey will work)

Jerk Base:

4 large yellow onions, roughly chopped

2 bunches green onion, roots removed and chopped

4 jalapeno or habanero peppers, chopped

1/2 cup white sugar

5 tablespoons dark brown sugar

6 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons ground allspice

2 tablespoons ground thyme

2 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 1/2 teaspoons ground sage

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups white vinegar

2 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice

1 1/2 cups soy sauce

1 cup dark rum (recommended: Myer's)

1 cup olive oil

1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice


  1. Sprinkle the chicken with the Jerk Rub, then saute or grill the chicken until firm but not cooked all the way, about 4 minutes per side.
  2. Remove to strainer and let sit for 1/2 hour to drain off as much of the juice as you can. Add the chicken to a pot. Cover the chicken 1/4 of the way up with the Jerk Base and then fill the pot with Jerk BBQ Sauce to the 3/4 point of the chicken. Simmer until the chicken starts to fall apart, about 45 minutes. 
  3. Remove the chicken to a clean strainer to drain, reserve the liquid, put back into the pot and reduce the contents of the pot by 1/4. While the liquid is being reduced, use 2 forks to pull the chicken apart. After the liquid is reduced, add the chicken back to the pot. It is ready to use at this point and can be made into sandwiches or served over rice.

Jerk Rub:

  1. Combine the sugar, onion powder, 5 tablespoons salt, 3 tablespoons black pepper, garlic powder, allspice, cayenne, nutmeg, thyme, orange peel, cinnamon, sage, ginger, jalapeno powder, habanero powder and lime peel in a bowl and stir to combine.

Jerk BBQ Sauce:

  1. For the jerk BBQ sauce: Combine 1/2 the Jerk Base recipe with the store-bought BBQ sauce and honey in a large bowl and stir to blend.

Jerk Base:

  1. For the jerk base: Combine the yellow onions, green onions, jalapeno pepper, white sugar, brown sugar, cayenne, allspice, thyme, pepper, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce, rum, oil and lime juice and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. When the onions are very tender, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. In batches, use a blender to puree until smooth.
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