Jamaican Jerked Chicken Legs

Jamaican Jerked Chicken Legs

In Jamaica, chicken legs slathered in a spicy paste cooked on grills fashioned from 55-gallon steel drums over savory-smelling pimento wood are sold to locals and appreciative tourists alike. But you can replicate the flavors at home using ingredients found at your local grocery store. This fiery marinade can also be used on chicken thighs, breasts, or wings, as well as on pork. By the way, this is not the kind of marinade you'll want to lick off the spoon. But its harshness will meld into terrific flavors when exposed to the smoke and heat of your Traeger. Serve with rice or coleslaw.

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  • 1 bunch scallions (green onions), trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 Scotch bonnet or habanero chile (these are very hot), seeded, or substitute jalapeno or serrano chiles for a milder marinade
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Water, if needed
  • 2-1/2 pounds chicken legs
  • 1 small onion cut into chunks


1. Make the Marinade
Combine all the ingredients except the chicken legs in the jar of a blender. Pulse until the mixture is liquefied. (Add a tablespoon or two of water if needed to get the blender blades turning).

2. Put the chicken legs in a glass baking dish large enough to hold them in one layer. (Alternatively, put the legs in a large resealable plastic bag.) Pour the marinade over the chicken legs, turning them to coat throughly. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours, or overnight.

3. When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes).

4. Arrange the chicken legs on the grill grate and smoke for 30 minutes. Increase the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg (but not touching bone) reaches 165 degrees F.