Poblano Jerk Chicken


This dish has easily earned a place on my Top Meals of All Time list.  Easily.  As soon as you begin toasting the spices for the rub, you’ll understand.  Preparing this dish is an experience to be enjoyed!  The rub is just plain fun to make, and your kitchen will smell sublime.  Don’t rush the marinade – let your chicken relax in this rub for a full 24 hours before baking.

Somewhere, someone is dancing from foot to foot while shouting at their computer screen about how Jerk Chicken is traditionally made with Scotch Bonnet peppers… I know.  Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we’re being rebellious and using Poblanos!  Why?  One, I have a freezer full of free Poblano peppers from my backyard organic garden, and free is my favorite price!  Two, Scotch Bonnet peppers (also known as Habaneros) are hot enough to peel paint right off the walls.  That’s fine for a grown-ups only dinner, but not always fine with kids.  I want everyone to enjoy their meal.

Next time on Crowded Earth Kitchen, we’ll make a perfect accompaniment for this dish.  So, while you’re gathering ingredients for Poblano Jerk Chicken, you may want to make sure you have cornmeal and a few plantains on hand.  Just sayin’.

picture517Ingredients (Serves 4 – 6)

1 fresh, whole chicken, cut into pieces

2 whole Poblano peppers

1 red onion

4 cloves garlic

picture5181/2 cup white vinegar

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons ground allspice

picture5191 teaspoon each:  salt, black pepper, ground ginger, freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon, crushed coriander, ground cloves


Step 1) Place ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, and allspice in a small pan.  Toast over low heat for 2 minutes, picture520stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 2) Place peppers, onion, garlic, vinegar, molasses, and olive oil in a small blender or food processor.  Puree until smooth.

Step 3) Add toasted spices, salt, pepper, and thyme to puree.  Blend until all ingredients are fully incorporated.  This is your Jerk rub… do you smell that?  Fabulous!

picture521Step 4) Score each piece of chicken several times with a sharp knife.

Step 5) Generously rub each piece of chicken with the Jerk rub and set in a pan.

Step 6) Pour any remaining Jerk rub over your pan of chicken, cover with foil, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Step 6) Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking, and rearrange chicken so that it can bake in a single layer.

Step 7) Bake in a preheated, 350 degree oven for 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the meat (but not against a bone!) reads 165 degrees.  Tip:  I bake the smaller pieces (wings, drumsticks) on a their own pan, as these pieces are usually ready to come out of the oven at least 10 minutes before the larger pieces (breasts, thighs).

Try to take more than one bite without dancing a little reggae, I dare you!

8 replies to “Poblano Jerk Chicken

    1. I didn’t roast the peppers first, because I figured they were going to bake with the chicken anyway. I imagine roasting the peppers first might add another flavor dynamic, but this rub is so intense, I don’t think it’s needed. 🙂

  1. Lucky for me. MY kids eat hot foods.. MY son took up eating a whole scotch bonnet. He’ll never do it again, but he wasn’t all that bad and said he’d do it again if we let him 🙂 Any who, there is a change in the flavor profile between the two peppers mentioned in this article. Though I am not one to care about the differences in the “pepper exchange” I do notice one to me (glaring) omission, and that is Jamaican pimento. It’s worth the hunt! Happy cooking 🙂

    1. Definitely a flavor profile change, no question! Interesting discussions abound around foods with a universal name but a thousand recipes (mole, BBQ, and gumbo come to mind). I hear you on the pimentos. Many of my personal recipe variations are based upon what I grow. Last year, for peppers, I grew poblanos, mini sweet bells, cascabels (good in mole – another discussion!), jalapenos, and some sort of long yellow Italian pepper. As much as possible, I try to use what I have dried or frozen.

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