Levi Roots' jerk BBQ chicken recipe

According to chef Levi Roots, this BBQ jerk recipe is said to be generations old, passed down to him by his grandmother and 'it has remained a family secret... until now'! Fire up the barbecue and get some reggae on the stereo.

Serves 8


  • 8 chicken quarters with skin
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 quantity Levi's dry jerk seasoning (see below)
  • 1 quantity Levi's juicy jerk seasoning (see below)
  • Chilli barbecue sauce or Reggae Reggae Sauce, to serve

For Levi's dry jerk seasoning

  • 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp mixed dried savory, marjoram, oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil and tarragon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

For Levi's juicy jerk seasoning

  • 4 Scotch bonnet chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 spring onion, green end only, chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp ground allspice (pimento)
  • 2.5cm/1 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp mixed dried herbs
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 500ml/18 fl oz bottle tomato ketchup


How to make jerk BBQ chicken

1. Rinse the chicken under cold running water, then sprinkle over the lemon juice, drain and pat dry with kitchen paper.

2. Put the chicken into a non-metallic dish. Rub in the dry seasoning, then pour on Levi's juicy jerk seasoning and turn the chicken until coated. Chill for 4 hours or overnight, if you've time.

3. Get your barbecue red-hot. Put the chicken on the barbecue, cover and cook for 10 minutes on each side or until the juices run clear when you push a knife into the centre.

4. When the chicken's thoroughly cooked, transfer to a chopping board and chop each piece into about 4 portions with the bones. Serve with chilli barbecue sauce.

© Levi Roots' Reggae Reggae cookbook


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