Jerk Chicken: Mockingbird Hill Hotel Jamaica

October 2010


Mockingbird Hill Hotel not only excels in providing great organic meals in their top rated restaurant, Mille Fleurs, they aren’t shy about sharing their culinary secrets with their guests.

We put our aprons on to get first hand knowledge on how to prepare some of the delicious food we had been enjoying during our recent stay.

Wonderful smells and laughter filled the top floor veranda of the hotel where our cooking lesson was held. Owner Barbra Walker and top chef Junior, shared with us their recipe for one of Jamaica’s most popular exports, Jerk Spiced Chicken.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

4 chicken breasts, skinless

4 to 6 Scotch bonnet chili peppers, stems removed, or habaneros

6 garlic cloves, peeled

6 spring/green onions (chopped)

1 red onion (chopped)

1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons crushed pimento berries (allspice)

2 tablespoons chopped thyme

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder (optional)

1 ½ tsp cayenne

½ cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons soya sauce

1. Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a blender or food processor and blend. Coat chicken with jerk sauce and refrigerate 12 to 36 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking and lightly sprinkle with a little more ground allspice.

2. Preheat charcoal grill to medium heat. Add two large handfuls of soaked pimento (allspice) wood sticks and chips (see note) or other aromatic wood chips to coals, then close grill. When thick white smoke billows from grill, place chicken on grate, skin side up, and cover. Let cook undisturbed for 30 to 35 minutes. Can be grilled on barbeque without pimento, but the chicken won’t have that lovely smokey taste. If you are determined to be as authentic as possible, you can try to soak 1/8 cup of whole allspice berries in water for about 30 minutes, then sprinkle them over the coals of the grill and cover to allow the smoke to permeate the meat.

3. Uncover grill, chicken will be golden and mahogany in places. Turn chicken over and add more wood chips, and charcoal if needed. Cover and continue cooking, checking and turning every 10 minutes. Jerk chicken is done when skin is burnished brown and chicken juices are completely clear, with no pink near the bone.

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