Learn how to make the best homemade Jerk Chicken Burger recipe!
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burgers are one of our family’s favourite recipes to cook at home when craving a tropical vacation to the Caribbean.
Also known simply as Jamaican Burgers or Jerk Burgers in our house, this quick & easy Jerk Chicken Burger recipe is ready to serve in under an hour.
You’ll love cooking our juicy Jamaican Burger recipe featuring creamy Jerk mayonnaise, spicy marinated chicken thighs, grilled pineapple, fried plantain and crunchy lettuce.
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What is Jamaican Jerk?
Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica, in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice.
Some culinary historians in the Caribbean believe it was originally developed by Maroons, enslaved Africans who escaped into Jamaica when the British captured the island from Spain in 1655. Adapting to their new surroundings, the former slaves made use of the natural food sources available to them, creating the spicy sauce and slowly cooking the meat over a smoking wood fire.
Other historians argue that “jerking” originated with the Amerindians in Jamaica from the Arawak and Taino tribes who intermingled with the Maroons.
The word jerk is said to come from charqui, a Spanish term of Quechua origin for jerked or dried meat, which eventually became the word jerky in English. The term jerk is also derived from the action of “jerking”, which referred to poking meat with holes so that flavour could more easily be absorbed.
The smoky taste of jerked meat is achieved using a variety of cooking methods, including modern and wood-burning grills and ovens.
The meat is normally chicken or pork, and the main ingredients of the spicy jerk marinade sauce are allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers. Additional jerk seasoning ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and salt..
Jerk cooking is popular in Caribbean and West Indian communities throughout North America and Western Europe.
Travel to the Jamaica by Cooking Jerk Chicken Burgers at Home
I love traveling to Latin America and the Caribbean.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in the Caribbean, from authentic markets to award winning restaurants.
For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Jamaican Jerk Burger via adventures that had me sailing from turquoise waters and white sandy beaches in Jamaica, Cuba, Curacao and Puerto Rico.
I ate a juicy Jerk Chicken Burger at the island’s best restaurants at Round Hill Resort, Half Moon Resort, The House Boat Grill, Scotchies Jerk Restaurant and several local eateries during a rural Jamaican road trip.
Where To Eat Jerk Chicken Burgers
If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Caribbean restaurant that serves a traditional Jerk Chicken Burger.
Haven’t traveled to the Caribbean before? It may be helpful to first sample a spicy Jamaican Burger at a local restaurant to better understand how the soup is served. You’ll get an idea for the desired spice level as well as burger fixings such as jerk mayo, fried plantains and grilled pineapple.
In Toronto, popular Caribbean restaurants that may serve a Jerk Chicken Burger include Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen, Pat’s Homestyle Jamaican Restaurant, Allwyn’s Bakery, Nicey’s Eatery, Jerk King, Mr. Jerk and The Real Jerk.
My Family Loves Jerk Burgers
My family loves firing up burgers on the barbecue at our home in Oakville and cottage in Muskoka during the summer.
While we love traditional beef burgers, this Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger recipe offers a taste of the Caribbean islands thanks to tropical flavours like plantain and pineapple.
My parents have traveled to Jamaica several times on winter getaways to enjoy a beach holiday so I knew they’d love to bite into a Jerk Burger. When developing this recipe I used a bottle of Jerk Seasoning my mother bought on her most recent trip to Jamaica.
Jerk Chicken Burger Health Benefits
Our homemade Jerk Chicken Burger recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.
Scallions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of scallions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Ginger contains at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a good source of copper, which supports your bones, blood and nervous system.
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Containing starch and fibre, plantain are an excellent superfood for digestive health. They are a good source of heart-healthy potassium, as well as amino acids and vitamin B6, which help keep your brain healthy.
Lettuce is one of the most widely consumed vegetables worldwide, but its nutritional value has been underestimated. Lettuce is low in calories, fat and sodium. It is a good source of fibre, iron, folate, and vitamin C. Lettuce is also a good source of various other health-beneficial bioactive compounds.
Pineapple features vitamins and minerals that are known to help shorten viral and bacterial infections and strengthen bones. There’s also evidence that the tropical fruit may help prevent cancer and help fertility by improving the quality of sperm.
A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, limes help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.
Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.
Allspice is used for indigestion, intestinal gas, abdominal pain, heavy menstrual periods, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, colds, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger Tips
This yummy Jamaican burger is quick and easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips for first time burger makers!
- Our Jamaican burger recipe suggests using chicken thigh meat. We marinate the meat and then fry on the stove before baking it in the oven until tender. Brown meat is more flavourful and moist than white meat but if you prefer chicken breasts you can substitute them instead.
- We suggest slicing the cooked chicken thighs before assembling your burgers but you could also leave them whole and insert one or two thighs into each sandwich.
- We think these Jerk Burgers are best enjoyed with chicken meat but you could substitute for your favourite beef steak or pork chop. Simply use the same marinade and cooking method.
- Depending on the season of the year feel free to caramelize the pineapple wheels on the barbecue or in a skillet on the stove.
- Slice ripe plantain and fry them in a skillet until they brown and sugars caramelize. If you don’t have access to plantain you could substitue for underripe banana.
- We’ve used a Spicy Jamaican Jerk Sauce in our creamy mayo but you could also use a Jerk Spice Mix instead.
- We’ve used crunchy baby gem lettuce but you could substitute for boston lettuce, head lettuce or romaine.
- We like using slightly sweet brioche buns when making these burger but you could also use regular hamburger buns.
What To Serve with Jerk Chicken Burgers
We love serving this homemade Jerk Burger recipe with a fresh salad.
If you’re hosting a large dinner party or Caribbean-inspired potluck you might want to serve our Jerk Chicken Burger with Jamaican dishes like Jamaican Chicken Soup with Dumplings, Ackee and Codfish, Curry Goat and beans & rice.
We love serving burgers in the summer with Keto Jalapeno Poppers, Gruyere Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Baked Chicken Cracklings, Roasted Pumpkin Feta Salad, Roasted Beetroot Salad and Healthy Garlic Lemon Chickpea Avocado Salad.
After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe or Cinnamon Babka For Chocolate Lovers.
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How To Make Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burgers
Jerk Chicken Burger
- mixing bowl
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- French knife
- baking sheet
- 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Plantain
- 2 Brioche Buns
- 4 Baby Gem Lettuce Leaves
- 2 Pineapple Slices grilled
- 1 Red Chili deseeded and sliced
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1/4 tsp Allspice
- 1 inch Fresh Ginger minced
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 4 tbsp Mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Jerk Seasoning Sauce
- 2 Scallions thinly sliced
- 1/2 Lime juiced
- For the marinade, blend ingredients in food processor or small blender until it forms a paste. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the chicken thighs, then cover with the marinade. Let chicken rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a oven-safe skillet and place the chicken thighs in the pan. Cook for 1 minute on each side, then place the pan in the oven for 7 minutes.
- Peel and slice the plantain into thick coins and heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the plantain and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
- While the chicken and plantain are cooking, make the jerk mayonnaise by mixing the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Slice the buns in half and toast them in a dry frying pan or under a broiler.
- Dollop the jerk mayo on the top and bottom of the buns, then lay the plantain on the bottom. Top with a slice of barbecued pineapple. Chop the chicken thighs into strips and place over the pineapple. Cover with crunchy lettuce and serve as a sandwich.
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