With the busy lifestyle we tend to live and the fact that more and more students are now reaching out for recipes, I figured I’d share this sort of hack or cheat’s way of doing amazing jerk chicken in the oven. Yes, traditionalists will say that you need, smoke, fire and the goodness from pimento wood to really make it “jerk” but when you don’t have access to such, you improvise. In under 1 hr I’ll have you eating the most juicy, flavorful and tender oven jerk chicken you’ve ever had. No Lie! Even your Jamaican friends will be asking you for the recipe when you serve this up at that dinner party you’ve been meaning to have.
1 1/2 cups jerk marinade (your fav store bought)
1 cup orange juice
1 scotch bonnet pepper
1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 medium onions
4 lbs chicken
IMPORTANT! If you’re doing this jerk chicken according to a gluten free diet, do pay attention to the store-bought jerk marinade as it may contain soy sauce and other ingredients which may not fit with your gluten free dietary needs. There are gluten free jerk marinades you can now purchase or you can make your own marinade.
You can certainly make your own jerk marinade, but it does take time and require a few more ingredients than what’s listed above. Remember this jerk chicken is supposed to be fast, but not hurt for flavors. So go with your favorite store-bought marinade, but lets elevate it a bit with some additional freshness and flavor.
Chop the scallions, thyme, onion and scotch bonnet pepper. Use as much pepper as you can handle and remember to help control the heat a bit, don’t use any of the seeds. Do wash your hands with soap and water after handling such hot peppers. Grate the ginger and get ready to assemble the marinade. Pour the everything a bowl and whisk well.
Trim off any fat and excess skin off the chicken pieces (I used legs with the thighs attached), but do keep most of the skin as it will roast and give it a good color and some wonderful flavor. Since this is a fast-cook, we don’t have time to really marinate the chicken so lets go ahead and make a couple deep cuts down to the bone of the chicken (thick part).
Now pour the marinade all over the chicken and mix well.
Line an oven proof baking dish (I didn’t and it’s a lot of clean-up work after) with tin foil and pour everything into it. Set your oven at 400F and place on the middle rack when it comes to temp. After 30 mins, remove and flip the pieces of chicken, then back int he oven for another 10 minutes. So 40 minutes in total.
After 40 minutes it’s time to crank the heat up to give the chicken some color and really make it attractive. So set the oven at broil (525F), but do keep an eye on things as it will be easy to have it burn at this point. It will take about 4-7 minutes to take on a delicious colour. Remember to flip so you get even coloring. I must mention that most commercial jerk marinades are high in sodium so you’ll notice that I didn’t add any salt, but you can certainty add a bit of salt if you wish. If you wish you can also go with half orange juice and half pineapple juice in the marinade for a more fruity finish.
In under one hour you’ll have what I guarantee is an amazing Jamaican Jerk Chicken dish! And that gravy will be delightful on some rice and peas.