Posted on October 5, 2021

Why is it Called Jerk Chicken?

Have you ever had jerk chicken? It’s not just regular chicken, but rather a unique spicy grilled meat. If not, come to Kevin’s Restaurant to rectify that! What distinguishes jerk chicken from regular grilled chicken is how it’s coated in spices and slow-cooked to perfection.

Traditionally, it’s slow-cooked over a fire or a grill composed of green pimento wood heated by burning coals. It’s the burning smoke that’s the key to its flavor. We put a twist on our own by serving it with pineapple carrot slaw, rice, and a seasonal vegetable. However, whether or not you’ve had this style of chicken before, you might be wondering what makes jerk chicken so ‘mean’? Turns out, it’s not just some random name.

Jerk Chicken’s History

To figure out where its name came from, we must know where the recipe came from. This white meat dish actually has its origins with the Taino people. They were the inhabitants of Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, and more when Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean Islands. They may have been the ones who developed this “jerk method” of cooking meat, but they were not the ones who thought to use it with chicken.

The Africans who came to live in the Caribbean whom the Taino taught the “jerk method” to, were the first to try the method on chicken. It is believed by some to have been first attempted in what is now modern-day Jamaica, but it was a common dish through the Caribbean.

Where does the “Jerk Chicken” Name Come From?

The name comes from both the people who developed the method and the people who colonized the Caribbean. The word “jerk” comes from the Spanish word “charqui,” as Spain had come to colonize the Caribbean Islands. It makes sense that the Taino and Africans who lived in the Caribbean would use this Spanish word that means “dried strips of meat.” This word also accurately describes the dish’s appearance. This means that its name comes from a similar place as modern-day jerky, which is also dried strips of meat.

What’s So Good About Jerk Chicken?

There are many reasons to love jerk chicken. Whether it be the flavor that comes from its cooking method, or the many different ways you can marinade it, it is quite a unique dish.

But truly the only way to understand what’s so delicious about jerk chicken is to try it for yourself. Kevin’s Restaurant proudly serves our own version so, contact us or make a reservation online. We look forward to serving you and your loved ones.