Make it at Home: Jamaican Rum Jerk Chicken

Our chefs at Secrets Wild Orchid & Secrets St. James Montego Bay have perfected Jamaica’s jerk cooking style. Our guests love the Jamaican jerk dishes we serve up here so we want to share inside tips with you. Jerk started out as a local tradition to cook pork and chicken but now it is a popular technique used around the globe using a dry-rub with a spicy jerk spice mixture to prepare many types of proteins including beef, fish and even tofu.

Jerk spice rubs used in traditional Jamaican jerk dishes include thyme, nutmeg, allspice, scallions and brown sugar. Although the rich spicy flavors have remained the same, the cooking techniques have evolved over time from using smoke pit fires to using old oil barrel halves to now using modern hardwood charcoal grills with a steel drum jerk pan.  The charcoal enhances the spicy, smoky taste making the flavors very rich.

Book your stay now at Secrets Wild Orchid or Secrets St. James so you can taste the tradition in Jamaica. Try this recipe for Jamaica Rum Jerk Chicken at home before your trip. It’s a twist on traditional jerk chicken using Jamaican spiced rum for an extra kick of flavor.

Jamaican Rum Jerk Chicken (Serves 4)


  • Whole chicken 3-4 lbs. (cut in half or quartered)
  • ¼ cup of Sea salt
  • 2 fresh limes
  • 2 oz. (shot) of spiced rum
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped green onion (scallions)
  • 2 Tbsps. brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp. Orange Zest
  • 5 small jalapenos
  • 2 Tbsps. Canola oil
  • ¼ cup white vinegar

Directions: Rub chicken with lime juice and sea salt to coat the whole chicken. In a blender mix all jerk seasoning ingredients including the rum for 10 – 15 seconds. Rub mixture over chicken covering the entire chicken.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

Preheat grill to medium heat and cook chicken slowly until fully cooked, flipping occasionally so that all sides cook even.  Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve this with rice and fresh veggies for a complete meal. Enjoy!

Basket Weaving at Secrets St James

Jamaica is a powerful artistic and cultural community.  The country’s craft industry supports tens of thousands of artisans, who are skilled in leatherwork, ceramics, shell art, beadwork, and basket-weaving.

Have you ever walked through one of the local Jamaican markets and wished that you could make some of the phenomenal crafts they sell?  Well now is your chance!

When visiting Secrets St James Montego Bay, you have the opportunity to partake in a variety of activities, including a poolside basket weaving class. Our experienced instructors can help you learn the art of basket weaving so you can create your own handmade Jamaican souvenir.

Take a look at some pictures of a recent basket weaving class: