Jamaican jerk chicken is a spicy island treat that gets its heat from Scotch bonnet peppers. The origins of its name are unclear, but “jerk” may have been an evolution of the Spanish word “charqui,” which refers to dried meat. It may also have come from the practice of jerking, or poking, holes in the chicken to allow the marinade to penetrate deeper. Baking crispy jerk chicken works best when you leave the skin on the bird.
Rinse your chicken pieces in cool water and pat them dry with paper towels.
Poke the chicken pieces several times with a fork to make small punctures for the marinade to run down into.
Pour enough jerk marinade into the baking dish to coat the bottom of it, and place the chicken pieces in the dish. Cover the chicken pieces with more marinade, keeping some aside to use later for basting the chicken.
Cover the baking dish tightly with plastic cling wrap and refrigerate the chicken pieces for two to three hours or overnight.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Remove the chicken from the baking dish and arrange it, skin side down, in a single layer on the baking sheet. Discard the used marinade.
Bake the chicken for 30 minutes. Turn the pieces with tongs, and baste the skin with some of the jerk marinade that you set aside. Continue baking for another 30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place jerk chicken under the broiler for a minute or two after baking for even crisper skin.
Never touch your face after handling Scotch bonnet peppers.