Healthy and Savory Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Recipe From Pete Evans
Pete Evans Fat for Fuel

Pete Evans and Dr. Mercola recently joined forces and created a new cookbook, “Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook.” In this book you’ll discover easy and delicious recipes, along with practical tips on how to follow a ketogenic eating plan. CLICK HERE to order your copy now.

Craving the rich flavors of Jamaican dishes? There’s no need to book a flight to the Caribbean because you can satisfy your cravings in your own home with this Jamaican jerk chicken recipe from world-famous chef Pete Evans. The rich marinade and juicy meat of this dish are sure to give you the burst of aromatic and flavorful goodness that you desire. What makes this dish even better is that it’s filled with nutrients that can boost your overall health.

If you want more healthy and delectable keto-friendly dishes like this one, you should look forward to the “Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook,” which will be out November 14. Pete and I collaborated to write this cookbook, in the hopes of making it easier for people to embrace a ketogenic diet.

Healthy and Savory Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes


  • 2 pounds free-range chicken drumsticks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Lime wedges, to serve
  • Roasted vegetables, to serve
  • Jerk marinade:

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 habaneros, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons tamari or coconut aminos
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  1. To make the jerk marinade, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process to a smooth paste.
  2. Transfer the marinade to a large shallow bowl, add the chicken and bay leaves and turn the chicken to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight for best results.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Bring the chicken to room temperature 20 minutes before cooking.
  5. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken drumsticks, in batches and cover, basting occasionally with the marinade, for five minutes or until browned on all sides.
  6. Place the chicken in a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Cover with foil and allow it to rest for five minutes before serving.
  7. Arrange the chicken and lime wedges on a platter and sprinkle over the coriander leaves. Serve with roasted vegetables.

Raw Chicken Handling and Preparation: A Few Tips to Remember

Chickens are susceptible to bacterial contamination, especially those that come from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These bacteria may cause a variety of serious health problems, which is why it’s important to know the proper way to handle and prepare chicken.

Be sure to cover and keep fresh chicken chilled prior to cooking to prevent the growth of bacteria. You should also avoid washing it, as this may spread bacteria, particularly Campylobacter, to other surfaces though water splashes. When cutting chicken, or any raw meat for that matter, make sure that you use different knives and cutting boards for the other ingredients to prevent cross contamination. Don’t forget to wash your hands and clean the utensils that you used after preparing chicken to help stop the spread of bacteria.1

Why Should You Choose Free-Range Chicken?

A lot of people consider chicken as one of their primary sources of protein, but only a few are aware that most of the chicken meat sold in the market actually comes from CAFOs.

I have constantly advised against consuming any product that comes from CAFOs because of the health risks that they pose. These facilities not only promote poor animal welfare and environmental damage, but also contribute to the increasing cases of antibiotic-resistant diseases by injecting low doses of antibiotics to animals. Keep in mind that chickens from CAFOs are also linked to foodborne illnesses, like salmonella outbreaks.

The best way to prevent these health risks is by consuming organic, free-range chickens, which are allowed to roam freely to look for their own food. By consuming their natural diet of worms, plants, seeds and insects, these chickens can provide superior health benefits compared to those that come from CAFOs. You can get these pasture-raised chickens and other organic poultry products from your local farmers market.

Herbs and Spices Turn This Dish Into a Nutritional Powerhouse

Herbs and spices are obviously the primary ingredients that make this Jamaican jerk chicken dish taste exceptional. But did you know that they not only add distinct flavors but also provide a variety of nutrients? Here are the health benefits that you may get from them:


Habaneros are one of the chili peppers that contain the highest concentration of capsaicin, which is the compound that causes the burning sensation and activates the pain receptors in the mouth, nose and throat.2

Capsaicin is also found to be useful for controlling blood sugar levels, decreasing the risk of cancer, preventing cardiovascular diseases, promoting weight loss and alleviating inflammation and pain.

Black pepper

Black pepper contains piperine, which is a substance that can aid weight loss by blocking the formation of new fat cells and helping you burn more calories. It may also increase the bioavailability of other substances.


Paprika comes from dried and ground chili peppers, so it also has the health benefits of capsaicin. Plus, it’s rich in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E and iron.3


Cinnamon has antioxidant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral properties, which make it useful for a variety of applications, such as fighting free radicals, enhancing cognitive function, alleviating inflammation, improving brain health and supporting weight loss, among others.


Thyme is a useful herb that’s rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, riboflavin, iron, copper and manganese. It also has antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

Bay leaves

Bay leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, manganese and calcium. Together, these vitamins and minerals provide a positive impact on your eyesight, bone health and blood.

The other ingredients of this dish also contribute to its health benefits. For instance, onion is a very good source of vitamin C and B6, iron, folate and potassium, whereas garlic may help improve bone health, reduce inflammation, boost immune function and improve heart health and thyroid function.

A Basic Bone Broth Recipe

The recipe that follows calls for beef bones, but you can also make bone broth using whole organic chicken, whole fish (including the head) or fish bones or pork. Each will render a different flavor. Boynton and Brackett actually suggest starting with chicken because it has the mildest flavor (beef tends to be more overpowering). If you're using chicken, simply place the entire chicken, raw, into the pot in place of the beef bones and proceed with the recipe as follows.

One note, if cooking a whole chicken, the meat should start separating from the bone after about two hours. Simply remove the chicken from the pot and separate the meat from the bones. Then place the bones back in and continue to simmer. You can even use bones from a roasted chicken or turkey carcass to make bone broth, which is incredibly cost effective since you would otherwise throw them away.

About Pete Evans

Pete Evans

Pete Evans is an internationally renowned chef who has joined forces with Dr. Mercola to create a healthy cookbook that’s loaded with delicious, unique Keto recipes, ideal for people who want to switch to a ketogenic diet. The “Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook” is the perfect tool to help get you started on your ketogenic journey. CLICK HERE to order your copy now.

Pete has had numerous noteworthy contributions to the culinary world. He has not only cooked for the general public, but he’s also cooked a royal banquet for the Prince and Princess of Denmark, a private dinner for Martha Stewart, and even represented his hometown at the gala GʼDay USA dinner for 600 in New York City.

Pete’s career has moved from the kitchen into the lounge room with many TV appearances including Lifestyle channel’s “Home” show, “Postcards from Home,” “FISH,” “My Kitchen Rules” and “A Moveable Feast.”

+ Sources and References