If you’ve ever enjoyed Caribbean cuisine, you’re probably familiar with jerk chicken. However, even if you’ve ordered this dish from the best Jamaican restaurant or food stand, you may not be fully aware of what the preparation entails and its rich history. Here’s what you should know about this classic food.

What Is Jerk Chicken?

Jerk chicken is a national staple in Jamaica. It is also popular in other countries around the world. The dish consists of grilled chicken covered in Jamaican seasonings that give it a spicy kick. Jerk spices are often applied to other meats as well, but most likely, they are commonly paired with chicken.

What’s Its History?

According to historians, it is believed that Jamaicans started cooking jerk chicken in the 1600s. Many former slaves on the island lived outdoors and were forced to cook meat over open flames.

They used the spices they had to create a unique blend, and it eventually caught on. As Jamaicans began migrating to other countries, and as tourists started visiting the island more often, the dish gained worldwide popularity.

jerk chicken

How Is Jerk Chicken Prepared?

Jerk chicken is prepared by starting with a unique spice blend that includes:

  • Scotch bonnet peppers
  • Allspice
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Thyme

The jerk mixture is rubbed onto the chicken, then it is cooked over an open grill or smoker. The chicken must also be turned regularly for even cooking. Jerk chicken is often served with beans, rice, potatoes, or plantains to balance out the jerk spices.

When You Are Ready for Jerk Chicken

We are serving some of the best jerk meats, jerk chicken included at an Indianapolis Jamaican restaurant, Yaso Grill.