grilled jerk chicken

Wood Grilled Jerk Chicken Thighs

Fragrant spices mingle with spicy cayenne to create these Caribbean-inspired wood grilled jerk chicken thighs.


If you do not have a wood grill, don’t worry! This recipe can easily be made in a propane, gas ceramic or regular charcoal grill. Wood grilling does lend an extra layer of flavor, but the final result will still be delicious.

I chose to use thighs for this recipe for a simple reason – they are fattier than white meat. How does this correlate to your eating enjoyment? Well, thighs have more flavor and the presence of extra fat means they don’t dry out as quickly as white meat, so they can handle the conditions of the live fire grill a little better. Ergo, giving you a better result overall. However, if you must, you can substitute thighs with chicken breast, just butterfly them out so they cook evenly.

You will need to use a meat thermometer to ensure that your meat is cooked to the correct temperature AND to make sure you’re not overcooking it beyond that temperature. Knowing the precise internal temperature means you’re taking the guess work out of cooking, which means safe, healthy grilled chicken that isn’t dried out. I use and recommend the Thermapen, or for a cheaper option try the Thermopop.

wood grilled jamaican jerk chicken thighs

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wood grilled jamaican jerk chicken thighs

Wood Grilled Jerk Chicken Thighs

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  • Author: Jess Pryles
  • Yield: serves 6-8 1x



For the rub:

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoon thyme powder

1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

2 teaspoons white sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoon allspice powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

remaining ingredients:

3lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

3 tablespoons canola, olive or vegetable oil

12 fresh limes (optional)


  1. To make the rub, combine all seasoning ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Rinse the chicken under cold water and roughly pat dry with paper towel. Since the chicken is deboned, it actually will lay out in flat pieces when grilled. Place chicken thighs in a large bowl and drizzle with oil. Toss to coat pieced thoroughly.
  3. Add seasoning to bowl, shaking across the top of the meat. Toss again to ensure all the chicken is coated, and the seasoning has adhered to both sides of the meat.
  4. Prepare a charcoal/wood grill for high heat grilling (about 500-550 degrees). You should not be able to hold your hand over the top of the grates for any longer than 2 seconds.
  5. Oil the grates, then lay the chicken pieces out flat directly over the heat. After 2 minutes, flip the chicken over. Repeat, flipping the chicken every 2 minutes until the thighs register 163-165f at the thickest part.
  6. Remove from heat and serve. If desired, squeeze fresh lime juice over surface before eating.

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