Grilled Jerk Chicken Kabobs with Pineapple: Chicken is brought to life with a homemade jerk seasoning. Sweet pineapple is the perfect addition to mellow out the heat from this classic Jamaican marinade.
A few years ago, my husband and I took a trip together to Jamaica.
It was the first time we left our kids for longer than overnight and it was HEAVENLY!! And a huge win for our marriage!
One of the days that we were at our tropical paradise, a nasty storm tried to rain on our parade.
I just decided it was the perfect time to take a cooking class from an Jamaican Chef AND take a snooze that afternoon–I mean, I still had todllers at home so a I was taking advantage of a few times without them!
This chef demonstrated the recipe for his Jerk marinade and then we made shrimp with the marinade.
Remember how I feel about fish?! Yeah, the flavor was good, but I could not get past the texture of shrimp.
I knew that I had to try Jerk marinade on chicken or veggies when I returned home.
Grilled Jerk Chicken Kabobs with Pineapple
My chef and trainer for that rainy afternoon in paradise, taught me that the best technique for Jerk Chicken was to throw fresh ingredients into the blender and create a thick paste to serve as the marinade.
I decided that after 30 years of cooking in Jamaica, this guy knew a thing or tw0 and I should most certainly take his advice!!
But I did fudge and use jalapenos instead of habanero peppers. I could handle the heat from habaneros, so could my son (he is OBSESSED with Sririacha Kabobs and Chili Lime Rice) but my husband–he is a whimp when it comes to spice.
So I decided the jalapenos were a safer bet to keep my husband happy–-just don’t tell him I left the seeds in the marinade, mmm-k?!
And since these kabobs still pack a ton of kick, I thought pairing the meat with chicken would work fabulously!
I was RIGHT! Grilled Jerk Chicken or Shirmp or ANYTHING with Jerk Seasoning is best with a sweet bite to balance it all out.
After popping on them on the grill for about 12 minutes total, I was transported to memories of a tropical beach with the smell of charcoal fire pits wafting through the air and a cold pineapple & banana smoothie in my hand. Ahhh…..give me a second, I am dreaming!! 🙂
Seriously, this recipe is so easy, whether thrown on the grill to keep the heat out of the kitchen or oven roasted. And don’t let easy fool you–this baby gives you plenty of flavor!
Go ahead, transport yourself to the Islands and experience a bit of No Worries, as they say in Jamaica, as you dig into this easy dinner.
A Few Notes on Authentic Jerk Marinade:
- You can replace the jalapeno with habenaro and you will truly have an authentic Jamaican recipe–and a spicier dish for sure.
- Instead of a blender, you can use a food processor to puree this jerk marinade recipe.
- If you don’t have honey, agave, or maple syrup go ahead and use brown sugar or even molasses. Do not use white sugar for this recipe.
- If you have leftover ginger, peel it and pop it in a freezer safe bag in the freezer and pull out to grate from frozen ginger. See my tips on how to freeze ginger and more here.
- To keep this Jerk Chicken Paleo, use coconut oil or avodaco oil in the marinade. If you aren’t paleo, feel free to use canola oil.
Important Tip When Grilling with Wooden Skewers:
- It is really important to soak your skewers for at least 30 Minutes so that you skewers will not burn when grilling.
Grilled Jerk Chicken Kabobs with Pineapple
- 1/4 cup avocado oil or melted coconut oil or canola oil if not paleo
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 inch piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 jalapenos cut into large chunks, unseeded (for more authentic jerk--use habeneros--I just happened to have jalapenos)
- 3 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey or agave
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon dried allspice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" chunks
- 1/2 fresh pineapple peeled, cored and diced into 1" wedges
- 4 metal skewers or wooden skewers that have been soaked in water or 30 minutes.
Blend together everything but the chicken and the pineapple, until smooth.
Pour the marinade over the chicken and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
Heat grill or charcoal to medium-high temperature.
Thread the chicken unto skewer, alternating with pieces of fresh pineapple.
Grill chicken for 6 minutes per side.