Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

It’s not every day you get to call your food mean names. So, if you are feeling any unexplained rage and need to take it out on someone other than your loved ones, go ahead and make this JERK chicken. Call it a jerk while you make it. A big fat jerk.

I promise you will feel better and your kids will thank you. And you spouse and your dog and your fish.

Now really, what the heck is Jamaican Jerk chicken?

I have no idea why it’s called this, but Jerk chicken is a style of spice rub that comes from the Caribbean. It typically features allspice. Which, I have to tell you, isn’t a combination of all the spices, like I once thought, but it’s very own stuff. It comes from the allspice bush. Just kidding, I made that up. It was really named allspice because it tastes like a combination of spices. (Sometimes don’t you think that the fancy Europeans were so clever when they reached the Americas? “Here, let us name your foods and give you some small pox. You’re welcome.”)

This jerk seasoning is earthy and pairs so well with the sweetness of mango salsa.

This is one of my favorite grilling recipes. It is summery and a little spicy and just plain fun. And it happens to be a dish that I have been making for a long time. I found it in a magazine when I was first married and we have enjoyed it for many years.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

It is best to crush the thyme leaves with a mortar and pestle if you have one available or just whir it up in the blender. I didn’t this time and the thyme leaves were a little on the pokey side.

And you can adjust the cayenne pepper to your tastes. It is fairly spicy with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and I usually just put a pinch in there so the children’s heads don’t explode. We wouldn’t want that, now would we?

Traditionally jerk seasoning is made with scotch bonnet peppers, but the cayenne works just fine for me.

Enjoy some inappropriate displays of anger toward your food. And enjoy a delicious summer meal.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 small to medium sized chicken breasts

Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa


    For Chicken
  • 2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon crushed sage
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed or very very finely minced
  • 3-4 small to medium sized chicken breasts
  • For Mango Salsa
  • 1 mango diced
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Mix spices and sugar together. Add garlic. It will form a loose paste.
  2. Mix mango salsa ingredients and let sit for at least 1/2 hour.
  3. Rub spice mixture on chicken breasts. Let chicken stand for 1/2 hour, but not greater than about an hour.
  4. Preheat grill.
  5. Turn grill down to medium and cook chicken for 8 minutes. Then turn and cook an additional 8 minutes or until middle of chicken registers 160 degrees.
  6. (You can also saute this in a skillet or use a grill pan if you don't have a bbq grill.)
  7. Remove from grill and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  8. Top with mango salsa.

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