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Grilled Jamaican Jerk Style Drumsticks Recipe

Jamaican jerk chicken drumsticks plated
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3.85 from 40 votes
This twist on traditional Jamaican jerk chicken delivers much of the same bold flavors of the original while dialing back the heat.

Serve with: a Red Stripe beer.

Main Course



Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Marinate: 12 hours


Jerk Paste

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 10 chicken drumsticks

Sticky Glaze

About the paprika. If you have smoked paprika, now's the time to use it.
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page


  • Prep. For the jerk paste, mix together the olive oil, mustard, allspice, cinnamon, paprika, ginger, onion, and thyme in a bowl until the spices rehydrate and the mixture forms a wet paste. Mix together all the ingredients for the sticky glaze in a bowl.
  • Marinate. Score the chicken all over in a crosshatch pattern (optional), and place into a large zip top bag or bowl. Scoring the chicken in a crosshatch pattern with a sharp knife all the way around the surface will ensure penetration of flavors past the surface down into the crevices of the meat. Add all of the spice paste, and move the meat around to evenly and completely coat all surfaces. Seal or cover and pop the meat into the fridge for at least a couple of hours or overnight.
  • Fire up. Light your grill for 2-zone cooking, aiming for a temperature of approximately 350°F on the direct heat side of the grill.
  • Cook. place the drumsticks on the indirect side, and close the lid.
  • When the drumsticks are close to 150°F internal temp, brush them liberally on one side with the sticky glaze, and move them over to the direct heat side so the glaze can set and begin to caramelize.
  • Turn the chicken pieces over on the hot side of the grill, and coat with more of the glaze. Continue cooking the chicken until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165˚F. If the glaze starts to burn, simply move the chicken back to the indirect side of the grill, add the cover, and allow the drumsticks to finish cooking.
  • Serve. Remove the drumsticks from the grill, plate, and serve immediately.