Island Recipes: Smoked Jerk Chicken

This is a wonderful barbecue dish and travels well for picnics too. In the mountains of both Trinidad and Jamaica, curing meat in herbs and spices then smoking them using local hardwoods was a method learned from native Caribbean tribal people – tonka and samaan in Trinidad, allspice wood in Jamaica. This recipe does double duty – use green seasoning for Trini style or Walkserwood Jerk Seasoning, a very traditionally made and excellent jerk sauce, for Jamaican jerk style. The method calls for a charcoal grill but if you don't have a charcoal grill you can use a gas grill set on a low temperature or bake the chicken in the oven at 250ºF for about two hours; however, you will miss out on the smoky flavor.


Serves 4 to 6

1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
– juice of 1 lime
– 2 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt
– freshly ground black pepper
– 1/4-cup green seasoning (recipe below) mixed with 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar OR ¼ cup Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning
– 6 cups fruit wood briquettes

Rub the chicken with the lime juice and then rinse with water. Pat dry and rub on the salt and black pepper, and then the green seasoning mixture. Place the chicken in a shallow nonreactive bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 2 days. Soak 3 cups of the wood briquettes in water for 1 hour.

In a charcoal grill, create a smoldering fire on only one side of the grill pan, using the 3 cups of dry wood briquettes. Once the embers are glowing, place the chicken on the grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until grill marks form. Move the chicken to the opposite side of the grill, away from the fire. Add the 3 cups of damp briquettes to the fire and let smolder. Close the grill lid and allow to smoke for about 1 hour.


If necessary, occasionally spray the fire with fresh water during cooking, using a spray bottle – just enough to maintain smoke without putting out the fire.

Remove the chicken from the grill and serve.