David’s Just-Right Jerk Chicken

David’s Jamaican roots haven’t translated into a full-on love for hot and spicy food. But David does loves his Jerk and demonstrated how to make the sauce from scratch (who knew? I thought it only came in a jar) using milder jalepeno papers. David’s son Jason likes a decidedly hotter version using scotch bonnet peppers, Like his dad, Jason is an avid cook who isn’t afraid to take a good thing and run with it. It was great fun watching David and Jason work through their different styles and approaches in the kitchen–a microcosm of the parent/child dynamic at its best. The good news is that the results were delectable. And now there’s one less sauce you need to buy from a jar.

The recipe is right after the video


David’s Jerk Chicken 


  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 T. lime juice
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 3 or 4 coarsely chopped green onions (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 coarsely chopped jalapeno peppers or 1 scotch bonnet if you prefer
  • 1 T. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2-3 lbs fresh skin-on chicken (eg thighs or boneless breasts cut to similar size as thighs


Make paste

  • Place dry ingredients including brown sugar, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, in a small food processor or blender
  • Add the wet ingredients including vegetable oil, lime juice & soya sauce
  • Then add fresh ingredients including green onions (excluding dark green parts), chopped jalapeno peppers (or 1 scotch bonnet if you prefer hotter) and chopped fresh thyme
  • Mix at med-high speed until a smooth paste is formed

Prepare Chicken

  • Score chicken (cross-hatch) skin with a sharp knife about 1/4″ deep (this helps paste penetrate chicken better)
  • Spread paste all over all surfaces of chicken and refrigerate for 3+ hours
  •  Grill, preferably on barbecue, lid down 6-8 minutes per side on med heat, preferably turning only once



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