The Chef Upstairs


Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Papaya Salsa

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Serves 6 to 8


For the Jerk Marinade:

  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 to 5 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 teaspoons pimento (allspice) berries
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½  teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 three to four lb chicken cut into pieces or chicken leg quarters


Make marinade: Blend all marinade ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  • Divide chicken pieces and marinade between two 1 gallon sealable plastic bags. Seal bags, pressing out excess air, then turn bags over several times to distribute marinade. Place bags in a shallow pan and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, but preferably 24 hours, turning once or twice.
  • Let chicken stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.

To Cook Chicken using a Charcoal Grill:

Charcoal will infuse the best flavour, but this can be cooked on a gas grill or in your oven too

  • Open vents on bottom of grill and on lid. Light a large chimney of charcoal briquettes (about 100) and pour them evenly over 1 side of bottom rack (you will have a double or triple layer of charcoal).
  • When charcoal turns grayish white and you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds, sear chicken in batches on lightly oiled rack over coals until well browned on all sides, about 3 minutes per batch. Move chicken as seared to side of grill with no coals underneath, then cook, covered with lid, until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes more.
  • If using a gas grill. Use indirect heat @ 250F. Cook for 30 minutes, then turn and cook for another 30 minutes. Increase heat to 400F, turn as needed and cook until internal temp is 165F.
  •  Serve chicken with papaya salsa.

Papaya Salsa


  • 2 pounds papaya (2 preferably pink-fleshed strawberry variety), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 1/2 cups diced (1/4 inch) fresh pineapple (from 1/2 small pineapple)
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Stir together all ingredients.