What is Jerk Chicken, and is it healthy?

Jamaica’s most famous and well-loved dish, Jerk Chicken, has made its way around the globe, being served up on dinner plates all over the world; but did you know this wonderfully flavourful and punchy dish has a rich history and even richer nutrient content? Many don’t. So, we’re here to answer all of your burning questions about this very famous of Jamaican recipes.

What is Jamaican Jerk sauce made of?

Traditionally comprising a fragrant spice mix made of allspice, peppers, thyme, paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg and sage with fresh lime and orange juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, onion and scotch bonnet peppers (an authentic ingredient however optional if you don’t like the heat), this perfectly balanced sauce is used to marinate chicken, fish, pork, seafood or even veg.

Why is it called jerk sauce?

The name ‘jerk’ actually derives from the cooking technique created by the Maroons to conceal their whereabouts. ‘Jerking’ was a method of spicing and cooking pork underground so smoke could not be seen by other enemy tribes. As an homage to its origins, jerk chicken is traditionally cooked today slowly in old oil barrels over pimento wood for an authentic flavour.

What is served with Jamaican Jerk chicken?

Traditionally, Jerk Chicken accompaniments include Rice and Peas, Fried Plantains, and Callaloo – a leafy green that’s sauteed with onions, garlic and scotch bonnet peppers. It is also popular to serve with a fruity salsa using Caribbean flavours like pineapple to offset the intense smokiness of the chicken – Click Here to check out our quick and easy Pineapple Salsa recipe at the base of our Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe.

How hot is Jamaican Jerk chicken?

When wanting to try their own Jamaican Jerk recipes at home, many ask ‘Is jerk seasoning spicy?’ Traditionally, yes, jerk sauce is made using scotch bonnet peppers for a deep heat and intense flavour. Scotch bonnets, however, are some of the hottest chillies in the world and jerk sauce can be easily made without it. Our Jamaican Jerk blend uses only a pinch of Cayenne Pepper for a little warmth but is still mild to suit all pallets. If you’d like yours a little hotter though, you can easily add in any chilli of your liking to our staple Jerk Chicken recipe.

Is Jamaican allspice the same as Jerk seasoning?

No, Allspice is simply the primary ingredient in Jerk seasoning. Harvested from the Pimenta dioica tree, the allspice pimento berries are harvested while still green then dried and ground to create the powder used in jerk seasoning. This super-aromatic berry has a sweet yet spicy flavour akin to a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg with an added peppery warmth. Allspice has many health benefits from its essential oil known as eugenol which helps to treat digestive problems, reduce pain, and has anti-microbial, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties.

Is Jerk Chicken healthy?

Yes, this spice-rich dish is loaded with nutrients and vitamins from the natural and whole ingredients used in its marinade. Jerk sauce contains paprika and allspice for antioxidants, cayenne pepper for reducing blood pressure, garlic for immune boosting, nutmeg to aid in digestion and sleep, cinnamon for lowering blood sugar and cholesterol, vitamin C from citrus plus many more! Used to marinate proteins such as chicken, pork or seafood, this nutrient-dense, protein-rich dish is a complete and wholesome meal. Everything, however, must be consumed in moderation and in conjunction with a balanced diet.

Can you buy Caribbean jerk seasoning?

Absolutely! Our authentic blend is available online along with four delicious and diverse recipes to make cooking your own Jerk cuisine at home fast and simple. Our blend is made from natural, whole ingredients and adds in all the authentic jerk flavours, so recipes are simple to whip up with just a handful of added extras.

Click Here to check out our Jamaican Jerk blend and follow the links on the page to see how to make Jamaican food recipes at home for yourself.