The Smoking Gunn's BBQ Jerk Chicken

The Smoking Gunn's BBQ Jerk Chicken

This superb spatchcock BBQ jerk chicken recipe awarded The Smoking Gunn the winning title of Team Temperature's Big BBQ Challenge, Jamaican Week. Simple but full of delicious flavours from the fire and seasoning, this recipe is a winner.


Have you ever taken a walk through the streets of a Jamaican village? Ever gone to Notting Hill carnival or walked through one of the many rows of food vendors at a music festival?

If you have, you've probably been fortunate enough to see the clouds of white smoke wafting into the air and caught the smell of delicious Jamaican jerk chicken being cooked.

I love jerk chicken and making it can be as easy or as complicated as you like. When you find what works for you, stick with it. I've tried numerous sauces and rubs and even mixed all the spices and herbs myself. I've finally come to a tried and tested version that I truly love, believing it replicates the flavours I have tasted when in Jamaica and at Notting Hill Carnival and Glastonbury festival.

The jerk chicken I love has got to be hot, but not too hot. You can always drizzle hot sauce over it, but you can't take the heat out. It needs to be moist so you mustn't overcook it and dry it out. It has also got to be full of the taste of BBQ smoke.

I don't think jerk is something you can whip up in five minutes. It's going to take some time and love to get to where you want.

Here is my much-loved Jamaican jerk chicken recipe. It's really easy too.

  • 1 whole chicken
  • Lime
  • Chilli
  • Pimento or bay leaves
  • Angus & Oink Exodust Caribbean Jerk Seasoning
  • Angus & Oink Dirty Barbie BBQ Sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Love
Spatchcock the bird​
  • Using a sharp knife, score your chicken all over. Make some nice deep cuts into the meat.
  • Cut the backbone out to spatchcock the bird.
  • Mix a generous amount of Exodust with some olive oil to make a jerk marinade.
  • Massage the marinade into the chicken. Get it into all those cuts and every nook and cranny.
  • Wrap the chicken in foil or place it inside a big box. Leave it in the fridge for at least four hours but ideally overnight.
  • Take it out an hour before cooking and give it another massage.
  • Fire up the BBQ with the coals in a thin layer over one side of the BBQ.
Char the skin
  • Lay the chicken bony-side down over the coals and leave it to cook for a bit. Use your nose; if you smell burning move it off the coals into the safe zone on your grill. I find grilling the chicken for around 3-5 minutes is fine.
  • Flip the chicken and let the skin have some fire. Again 3-5 minutes is fine.
  • Now have a look. I love a few blackened bits so you can have a play and leave it longer if you fancy, but don't burn all the skin.
  • Once you're happy, take the chicken off the coals and move it to the safe side of the grill.
  • If you've got a branch of pimento leaves, drape them over the coal side. If you don't have pimento, some branches of bay leaves is fine. Then leave it; if you've got a lid, close it.
  • You'll see lots of lovely white smoke and it will smell delicious.
Wait patiently...
  • Now it's just a case of patiently waiting until the chicken reaches the right temperature.
  • I have my Thermapen close at hand here. I occasionally insert the probe into a few thick parts of the chicken and as soon as that chicken reaches 74 °C, get it off and let it rest.
  • Sprinkle over some chopped chilli and squeeze some lime juice over the chicken.
  • I love to use a cleaver and just chop the chicken, bones and all, and give everyone some big and little pieces.
  • Serve with some rice and beans, mac and cheese or simply with a load of salad. Add hot sauce sparingly.
  • Now sit back with a Red Stripe, pop some Peter Tosh on the speakers and just enjoy.
Products to help you achieve perfection
"I love my Thermapen and I particularly love showing it in action. When I’ve cooked for friends and shown them that the core temperature of the meat says it’s safe and ready to eat, they always say they would have gone on to burn it. The Thermapen makes creating mouthwatering BBQ food for friends and family easy."
Mark Gunn
#TEAMTEMPERATURE Jamaican Week Winner
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