Homemade jerk seasoning give these chicken skewers tons of flavor without being too spicy. Marinate the chicken in the morning for a quick weeknight meal, or make them over the course of a lazy weekend afternoon.
Two or three years ago, we bought a smoker for our backyard. That summer, we smoked everything we could get out hands on – even cheese, which was a terrible, terrible idea. (Hint: it turns into a melty, congealed mess.) Our favorite thing to smoke was chicken thighs covered in a thick layer of jerk seasoning. We ate a ton of them that year, but haven’t pulled the smoker out since then. The sad truth is that it’s just too much work and too much of a time commitment.
I got a craving for jerk chicken a few weeks ago and decided to adapt my recipe for the grill. It’s a million times easier, and super tasty. The homemade jerk marinade is spicy, with a slow burning heat and packing the chicken tightly onto skewers ensures it cooks evenly and stays nice and juicy. Served with grilled zucchini, corn on the cob, and watermelon, it’s a really fun, summer-y dinner that takes hardly any time to make.
When I’m feeling really lazy, I turn to a premixed dry jerk seasoning rub but honestly it only takes a minute to make your own jerk marinade from scratch and it’s way more delicious. Plus, it makes it easier to control the level of heat in your seasoning. This version is moderately hot – I’d place it at a 5 or 6 out of 10 – but you can easily add an extra pepper to make it hotter or cut back on them and remove the seeds for a more mild version.
Because the base of the marinade is made from scallions, it’s a sort of murky brown color that doesn’t look appetizing at all before it’s cooked – don’t worry, you did it right and it will look much better once it’s hit the grill.
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 4 scallions white and green parts, chopped
- 1 shallot peeled and halved
- 1- inch piece fresh ginger peeled and minced
- 2 habanero peppers stem removed
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 lime juiced
- Cut the chicken into 2-inch pieces and place in a large zip-top bad.
- Add the remaining ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until a smooth paste forms. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the paste over the chicken. Close the bag and give it a few good shakes so that the chicken is evenly coated. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
- Pack the chicken tightly onto several wooden or metal skewers. Sprinkle the chicken with more allspice.
- Heat the grill to medium-high heat (about 400ºF). Place the skewers over direct heat and cook 16-18 minutes, turning occasionally, or until cooked through.