For the jerk marinade
1 small to medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons granulated or light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground Jamaican allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 habañero, serrano, or jalapeño chile, or more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or substitute tamari, which is gluten-free)
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
For the jerk chicken
1 1/2 cups jerk marinade
1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into pieces
Make the jerk marinade
In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients and process until smooth. The marinade will be quite thick. You should have about 1 1/2 cups.
(You can store the marinade in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator for up to a couple weeks.)
Make the jerk chicken
Place the chicken in a large glass bowl or baking dish and dump 1 cup jerk marinade over the chicken. Turn the pieces to coat them completely.
Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
Build a low fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to 225°F (107°C). Editor’s Note: For authentic flavor, build a low fire in a charcoal grill with a combination of charcoal and pimento wood and hold the temperature around 225°F (107°C). If you don’t have pimento wood, substitute hickory or applewood, or use all charcoal.
Grill the jerk chicken
Place the chicken on the grill, skin-side down. The marinade will cling to the chicken; that’s okay.
Cover the grill and cook the chicken, basting frequently with the remaining 1/2 cup jerk marinade and turning every 10 minutes or so, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.