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Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Posted by PK Grills on 22nd Apr 2023

Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Grilled Pineapple Salsa is a taste of the tropics that will instantly put you in an island state of mind. Combining aromatic warm spices with herbaceous notes and fruity spice, it is a full sensory experience.

Don’t be afraid of the peppers in the marinade. Scotch bonnets are the traditional pepper used in jerk but habaneros are an easily accessible replacement. Both have a fruity heat and while there is a a kick, it’s not the predominate flavor. You will taste the warm spices, the tang, even the sweetness.

This same marinade can be used on any cut of chicken, just reduce the marinating time when using boneless and skinless chicken. It can also be used on pork and seafood. The extra marinade can be stored in a glass container for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

  • 1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2-4 scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, seeds removed
  • 2” ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves only
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup red onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • ½ tbsp lime zest
  • ¼ cup less sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 4-6 lbs whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup room temperature lager such as Red Stripe or pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup whole allspice berries, optional
  • Kosher Salt

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

  • ½ fresh pineapple, trimmed and sliced into rounds
  • ½ red onion, sliced into ½” rounds
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ habanero, seeds removed, finely diced
  • ⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Add the first 16 ingredients to a food processor and pulse until it is smooth.

Cut your chicken breasts in half. Add the chicken to a bowl or large plastic bag. Add ¾-1 cup of the Jamaican jerk marinade to the chicken and toss, making sure it is fully coated. Reserve the leftover marinade.

Allow your chicken to marinate for 8 hours up to overnight, occasionally massaging it.

Prepare your grill for two zone cooking, banking your charcoal to one side of the grill to create a hot zone and cooler zone. Add allspice berries to your ashed over charcoal for an authentic flavor if desired, or wood chips such as cherry, pecan, or applewood. Your grill should be around 350 degrees.

Remove your chicken from the marinade but don’t pat dry. Season both sides generously with kosher salt.

Add the beer and 2 tbsp of the reserved marinade to a small grill safe pot and stir to combine.

Place the chicken skin side up on the cool side and close the lid. Allow the chicken to grill indirect for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes flip and rotate your chicken, moving the pieces that were further away from the charcoal closer. Begin brushing your chicken with the basting liquid.

Continue to flip and rotate your chicken every 15 minutes, brushing with the liquid.

Remove your chicken when the internal temperature is 165 and allow it to rest. Serve with grilled pineapple salsa and a cold beer!

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Prepare your grill for direct grilling.

Add the habanero to a bowl along with the lime juice.

Brush both sides of the pineapple and red onion with oil oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place the pineapple and onion rounds over direct heat. Let the first side grill for 2-4 minutes and flip. Allow the second side to grill for another 2-4 minutes. You are just charring it.

Remove the onion and pineapple from the grill, allowing it to cool.

Dice the pineapple, cutting around the core and add to the bowl with the habanero.

Dice the onion and add to the bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Depending on how sweet your pineapple is you may need to add a little additional drizzle of honey. This can be served warm or chilled.