This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.
Marinated in an authentic Jamaican jerk sauce, these tender juicy homemade jerk chicken drumsticks are the best you’ll ever make. Marinated in an authentic Jamaican jerk sauce, these tender juicy homemade jerk chicken drumsticks are the best you’ll ever make. While it does require an advance prep, you’ll love the easy almost hands-off cooking on a week night while the chicken slowly cooks on the grill.
While it would definitely be nice to fly to Jamaica to experience an authentic Jamaican jerk chicken, you can do the same right in your own backyard. My college roommate, Jamaican native, Tamar shared her own version of Jamaican jerk sauce with me. And now I’m sharing it with you!
It’s so flavorful and customizable, so you can easily tailor to your family’s taste.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that jerk is actually the method of slow cooking meat over open wood flame and smoke. It doesn’t refer to the seasoning. BUT traditional jerk sauce and seasoning are pretty similar with some variations, of course.
I hope you’ll give this version a try, you won’t be disappointed!
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Drumsticks
Jamaican Jerk Sauce:
- 1 large tomato, or ½ cup ketchup
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 4 green onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 5-6 stalks of fresh thyme, fresh makes a huge difference in the flavor
- 1 or 2 Scotch bonnet pepper, Note 1
- 10 dried pimento seeds, aka allspice berries
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8-12 chicken drumsticks
- To make the jerk sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
- Place the chicken drumsticks in a large non-reactive bowl (glass or stainless steel) or ziplock bag and add the jerk sauce. Marinade for at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight.
- To grill, preheat the grill over medium heat. Lightly oil the grates with paper towel soaked with vegetable oil. If using charcoal grill, pile one side with more charcoal than the other to create 2 level heat.
- Remove drumsticks from the marinade, letting the excess sauce to drip off.
- Cook the drumsticks on indirect/medium heat (the side with less charcoal) for about 25-30 minutes, turning them over half way through, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Then transfer onto direct heat (hotter side), or increase the heat to medium high on gas grill, and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, or until the skin is nicely charred. Remove onto a clean plate, rest for 5 minutes before serving.