Crispy Grilled Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings

I first discovered jerk seasoning when I went to Jamaica with a bunch of blogger friends. We were there for a food conference, so naturally, when the cooking class came around, we cooked jerk chicken.

Vertical oblique overhead image of Jamaican jerk wings on a white ceramic rectangular serving platter, printed with orange and white text near the top and at the bottom of the frame.

I was so intrigued by all the different flavors that went into the jerk seasoning. The aroma was intoxicating, and it got even more intense as the meat cooked.

The end result? Me falling in love with jerk seasoning forever.

Now, let’s talk about something else I totally love:

Chicken wings.

Vertical image of three grilled chicken wings with a Jamaican jerk marinade, on a white plate with a blue splatter pattern, beside another plate on a brown surface.

They are the perfect snack that can also double as a meal. Honestly, I could eat chicken wings all day long. There are so many different flavor options to choose from whenever you order them.

They are a must for game night, a BBQ party, or even a late night snack after a pub crawl. The chicken wing is such an important American tradition that learning to love them is basically a right of passage. If you don’t like them, I’m pretty sure you are from an alien planet…

However, why order them when you can make them right in your own home?

Vertical image of a white platter of grilled chicken wings, selective focus.

You will love how easy it is to make these Jamaican jerk chicken wings. All you have to do is throw the poultry into a resealable bag with the jerk marinade. Mix everything together well and make sure the chicken is covered, then place it in the refrigerator.

The poultry should marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight if you want. I think the flavor gets better the longer it sits, so I always recommend letting it rest overnight.

Once you are ready to cook, throw them on the grill until they are crispy and cooked all the way through.

Vertical overhead image of a white rectangular ceramic serving platter of grilled wings, on a gray surface topped with a multicolored cloth with fringe, with half of an orange.

If I am making wings, it’s a pretty safe bet that I am going to be grilling them. Why, you ask?

Well, that char-grilled flavor adds so much to the dish. Plus, the poultry get nice and crispy, adding an extra-delicious textural element.

While you can certainly fry or bake them instead, if you ask me, nothing beats eating wings hot off the grill.

These are savory with a hit of acid from the citrus juices in the marinade. But it’s the spice mixture that comes through with the big slap of flavor. With smoked paprika, thyme, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, you get a little bit of everything.

The resulting flavor spreads across your taste buds in the most satisfying way.

Vertical image of a white rectangular platter of Jamaican jerk seasoned grilled chicken wings, on a gray surface topped with a multicolored cloth, and pieces of citrus, bay leaves, and whole cinnamon sticks in soft focus.

Personally, I like to serve these as is. I am not one to dunk them in ranch or blue cheese because I feel like it covers up the flavor of the marinade.

However, if that’s what you love, I suggest blue cheese as a dunking pairing for these. Its piquancy and richness provided a nice contrast that I preferred over ranch dressing – and you can trust me, I taste tested both. (It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it…)

Be sure to have a few friends over to help you gobble up all this goodness. You’ll need a couple of extra people to help out. Unless you plan on downing a whole batch by yourself, of course.

Print
Horizontal overhead image of a white rectangular ceramic platter of homemade grilled wings, on a gray surface on a multicolored cloth with fringe, with scattered pieces of cut citrus, bay leaves, and whole cinnamon sticks.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings


  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x

Description

Grilled Jamaican jerk chicken wings are crispy, bold, and oh-so-memorable. The homemade marinade makes for a fantastic snack or appetizer.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs chicken wings, broken down into drumettes and flats
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger (about one ½-inch knob)
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Juice of 3 limes (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Add chicken to a large resealable plastic bag.
  2. Add garlic, onion, ginger, jalapeno, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, orange juice, salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, bay leaves, and oil to a medium-sized bowl. Stir to combine. Transfer marinade to the bag.
  3. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
  4. When ready to cook, preheat grill to 400˚F.
  5. Remove wings from marinade and discard the excess. Transfer chicken to the grill and cook for 30-40 minutes, flipping every 10-15 minutes, until skin is crispy and chicken registers 165˚F internally on a meat thermometer.

  • Category: Wings
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Appetizers

Keywords: chicken wings, Jamaican jerk seasoning, chicken, wings

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients

If you purchased whole chicken wings, now’s the time to break them down into drumettes and flats. For more detail on how to do this (it’s easy, I promise!) check out our article on how to break down whole chicken wings.

Alternatively, you can purchase poultry parts that have already been broken down for you.

Overhead horizontal image of square and round glass and stainless steel bowls of various sizes, filled with soy sauce, minced ginger and garlic, orange juice, oil, diced jalapeno, chopped onion, raw chicken wings, and various spices, with three whole limes, on a mottled gray surface.

Peel and mince the garlic. I like to use my garlic press for this.

Peel and chop a small white onion. This should yield about 1 cup chopped.

Peel a 1/2-inch knob of fresh ginger, and grate it until you have 1 teaspoon total.

Seed and dice the jalapeno.

Juice three limes. You should have about 6 tablespoons of juice.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Marinate

Add the wings to a large zip-top bag.

Overhead horizontal image looking down into an open zip-top plastic bag filled with marinating chicken wings, on a gray surface with white splotches.

Stir together all of the other ingredients in a small bowl. Add the marinade to the bag.

Seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or up to overnight.

Step 3 – Grill

When you are ready to cook, preheat your grill to 400˚F.

Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade.

Horizontal overhead image of eight chicken drumettes and flats on the grill.

Place the wings on the grill, cover, and cook for 30-40 minutes. Flip the wings every 10-15 minutes.

You will know the wings are done when the skin is crispy, and the internal temperature reads 165˚F on a meat thermometer when inserted into the thickest part of a drumette or flat without touching the bone.

Remove from the grill and serve.

Can I Make These Ahead of Time?

Sorry, but the answer is no!

Okay, you could. But for me, this recipe needs to be served fresh off the grill to be enjoyed best.

Making these ahead of time is not something I recommend, because the longer they sit, the less crispy they are going to become.

You can definitely marinate the wings right up until you are ready to grill. Just make sure they are going to come off the grill when people are ready to enjoy them.

Horizontal overhead image of a white rectangular ceramic platter of homemade grilled wings, on a gray surface on a multicolored cloth with fringe, with scattered pieces of cut citrus, bay leaves, and whole cinnamon sticks.

Need even more inspiration for tailgating? Here are some more of our favorite game day recipes to try:

What type of sauce do you like to dunk your chicken wings in? Or do you prefer to forego the dip, like I do? Tell us in the comments below. And once you try this recipe, be sure to give it a five-star rating if you loved it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Revised and significantly expanded from articles published on April 15, 2010, and August 5, 2015 by Lorna Kring. Last updated: December 27, 2019 at 21:26 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.