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Jamaican Jerk Chicken Legs & Grilled Corn

Posted by mmillet on May 7, 2013

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Legs & Grilled Corn

Jamaican food is not for the faint of heat heart. If you can't take the heat, this may not be the recipe for you. Scotch bonnet and habanero peppers ain't messing around! (Although, you could easily tone down the heat in this recipe by substituting the habanero for a jalapeno.) That being said, the Jamaicans like a little heat and a lot of flavor. Caribbean cuisine is colorful and spicy with the warmth of allspice and cinnamon and the eye-watering effect of the scotch bonnet. This jerk recipe is practically technicolor. The home-run hit is the smoking of the allspice berries, which imparts an irreplaceable flavor and with your Traeger, you don't have to go to Jamaica to find it.


Prep Time: 10 minutes plus several hours for marinating
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 4
Recommended Pellets: Oak, Apple, Pecan


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

4-8 ears of corn
Olive oil
1/2 cup water
Traeger Veggie Shake
Traeger Blackened Saskatchewan Shake

Combine all the ingredients for the jerk chicken except the chicken legs in the jar of a blender.

If you haven't handled scotch bonnet or habanero peppers before be very careful. Unless you want your mouth to burst into flames, clean out the seeds and the ribs of the pepper. (see below) Also, the oils they contain are incredibly potent and can practically fry your eyeballs if you forget to thoroughly wash your hands and all of the cutting boards and knives. (You could even wear gloves while cutting the pepper just to be safe.)

Pulse until the mixture is liquefied. (Add a tablespoon or two of water if needed to get the blender blades turning).

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 thoroughly. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours, or overnight.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). To get that truly authentic Jamaican smoke to mimic the pimiento wood in the style of Yallahs, put a handful of allspice berries (like the ones below) on top of the burn plate.

Arrange the chicken legs on the grill grate and smoke for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the corn cobs for grilling. Shuck and clean all of the ears. Lay the corn on a large piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Season all sides with the Veggie Shake and the Blackened Saskatchewan Shake.

Grilled corn

Pour in 1/2 cup of water. Pull up the sides of the foil to cover the corn.

After the chicken has smoked for 30 minutes, increase the temperature to 350 degrees F. Transfer the foil-covered corn to the grill (it may be easier to put it on a small baking sheet first) and cook both for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the corn is plumped and the chicken reads 165 degrees F on an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg (but not touching bone).

There was some extra space on the Traeger so I couldn't help but add some Roasted Asparagus. The Jamaican Jerk Chicken seemed incomplete without a steaming side of Jamaican Rice and Peas. (This recipe from Food.com is amazing!) Steel drums are optional.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken And Grilled Corn