When I was a wee little nugget aka a little lady, my favorite kind of chicken was chicken drumsticks. My mom grilled and baked them all the time for us, usually slightly coated or sometimes in zippy Puerto Rican spices with creamy beans and Spanish rice on the side. The chicken was incredibly juicy, so much more so than regular chicken breasts.
Now I wonder why I don’t eat it more often.
So today I’m bringing the drumstick back for a special occasion in honor of my friend Lexi‘s cookbook, Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. In the book, Lexi focuses mostly on paleo-friendly recipes with bold, bright flavors.
Everything I read through looked FANTASTIC but as soon as I saw her recipe for jerk chicken, I knew that it needed to go down ASAP. Not only so I could share with all of you, but also because it’s perfect for summertime grilling and entertaining.
First, we must talk about the incredible marinade that the chicken is coated in for up to 24 hours: It’s a mix of scallions, garlic, ginger, coconut aminos (or tamari), lime juice, coconut (or brown) sugar and sweet zesty spices. I want to bathe in it.
Is that weird?
The chicken is grilled and brushed with additional marinade to keep it juicy. Lexi keeps the skin on in her original recipe, but I decided to take the skin off because I just felt it to be unnecessary. Don’t worry, the chicken still stays nice and juicy — even with the skin gone.
On the side, you’ll serve it with coconut caribbean brown rice with a hint of lime & sweet mango salsa that you’ll all summer long.
I’m SO SO in love with this recipe. It’s wonderful for parties and BBQs.
I hope you love it as much as I do, and be sure to pick up a copy of Lexi’s cookbook here!
P.S. If you’re looking for another delicious chicken drumstick recipe, try my baked peruvian chicken drumsticks.
More healthy grilling recipes to try:
Sesame Garlic Grilled Sweet Potato Fries with Yogurt Curry Dip
Spicy Maple Dijon Grilled Brussels Sprouts
Sweet & Spicy BBQ Bacon Hawaiian Turkey Burgers
Jerk Chicken with Caribbean Rice & Mango Salsa
- For the jerk seasoning:
- 1 large jalapeno, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or gluten free soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- For the chicken:
- 2 1/2 pounds chicken drumsticks, skin removed
- For the mango salsa:
- 1 cup diced mangoes (about
- 2 mangoes)
- ¼ cup finely diced red onions
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- For the Caribbean rice:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup lite coconut milk
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1 avocado, sliced, for serving
Make the jerk seasoning: Place the ingredients for the seasoning in a food processor or blender. Pulse for 10 seconds, until the mixture is combined but not totally smooth. Set aside ¼ cup of the marinade, then transfer the rest to a large glass or ceramic dish or resealable plastic bag. Place the ¼ cup of marinade in the fridge.
Marinate the chicken: Pat the drumsticks dry, season them with a pinch of salt, and add them to the dish or plastic bag with the jerk seasoning. Mix to coat the chicken evenly, then marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
Thirty minutes before you’re ready to cook the chicken, remove the chicken from the marinade and allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat a grill to medium heat. Meanwhile, prepare the rice and salsa.
Combine the ingredients for the salsa in a bowl and set aside.
Make the Caribbean rice: In a skillet that has a lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the rice and stir until all of the rice is coated in the butter, about 1 minute, then add the water, coconut milk, salt, pepper, and lime zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 40 minutes, or until the rice is fluffy.
While the rice is cooking, grill the chicken: Brush the hot grill grate with oil. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 8 minutes, then flip, brush with the reserved marinade, and grill for an additional 8 minutes. Turn the chicken over one last time, brush again with the remaining marinade, and cook for 5 more minutes, or until no pink remains in the center of the chicken.
To serve: Place the rice on plates, then add the chicken, mango salsa, and sliced avocado.
Recipe slightly adapted with permission from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen.
This looks like it would have the best flavor!!
The flavor combos are amazing!!
OMG this looks amazing!! Can’t wait to make ❤️
that mango salsa sounds so easy and fresh! and the gingery, coconutty rice sounds delicious paired with the chicken (:
Wow, this dish looks super delicious!!!! Have to make it for my next lunch. Thanks for sharing:)
Perfect for a go-to lunch! 🙂
Wow wow .. I can’t wait to make this ,. I so look forward to your recipes they are delicious 😊
I simply cannot think of a better dish for the start of summer! Yum!!
This looks like the perfect summer recipe, can’t wait to give it a try!
Making this tomorrow for dinner!
Do you think using quinoa instead of rice would work?
This also worked really well in the oven with thighs. And smelled amazing while it cooked. It also tasted amazing thanks for this new go to summer recipe.
For how long did you cook them and at what temperature?
Made the rice side dish to go with our go-to jerk chicken recipe. It was quick, easy and delish!!! The flavors really compliment jerk. Thank you for sharing it.
Amazing! Love these flavors, too. I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Just made the chicken and mango salsa! Only I used chicken breasts (all I had) and it was AMAZING! So hard to please everyone in the fam but this is a new hit! Thank you!!!
YAY! So happy to hear that. Glad they all enjoyed!
Can’t wait to give my family a treat plus the cooking club at my school learns meals from various countries. So we will be in Jamaica soon. Thank you for sharing.
Amazing! Hope everyone loves this recipe!
Do you think this recipe would work in the oven? I do not currently have access to a grill.
I made this tonight! Amazing! I used wings and added pineapple & scallions to salsa. What a perfect recipe!
That sounds amazing! Glad you enjoyed.
Perfect summer time grilling recipe!
This is amazing! I made it using chicken breast rather than drumsticks. The jerk seasoning was so flavorful and had just the right amount of heat, My husband and I really enjoyed this and will definitely make it again!
Perfect! Sounds like a delicious dinner.
I cooked chicken breast instead of drums, really loved the marinade!! My rice did not cook all the way through, it still had a bit of a crunch. I know my stove was on to low of a simmer. Even after it soaked for 40 minutes (not intentionally) and then i tried to cook it proper it still came out crunchy! Could i cook it in s pot next time? also the flavor of the rice did not stand out, i used brown balsmati rice? Thank you for the recipe i will be making it again!
Hi Kellie! So strange – I recommend double checking and following the directions on your package of rice just in case it has different cooking requirements!
This might be my all time fav AK recipe! AMAZING
Such a great dinner!!
I really liked this recipe – I feel as if I get in a rut with cooking similar food, and I liked this one because it is different but very tasty. This even got two thumbs up from my dad, who is a very picky eater and not willing to try many different cuisines. I subbed real sugar for coconut sugar and chicken breasts instead of drumsticks based on what I had. The real specialty in this recipe though, I think, is the rice. Super fluffy and light and really compliments the other flavors. I would not skip out by just making regular rice.
Amazing! So happy to hear that. And yes, love that fluffy Caribbean rice 🙂
Made this for dinner tonight and it was a great combination of flavors. Thanks for another great recipe!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you loved it!
First and foremost, you NEVER leave poultry on the counter to “come to room temperature.” That’s how you get food poisoning. Second, when rice is properly cooked, there is no “remaining liquid” to drain off. Not sure how this recipe has 5 stars…
Hi, there! Thanks for the comment. The chicken is only left out for 30 minutes before cooking (you can actually safely leave it out at room temperature for up to 2 hours). Thanks for the note about the liquid in the rice — we just updated that! 🙂
We make this jerk recipe all summer long—SO good! We tried several different jerk recipes before landing on and sticking with this one. Love to make it extra spicy with extra jalapeños.