Jewell Parker Rhodes: Zion’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken from Black Brother, Black Brother

Jewell Parker Rhodes: Zion’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken from Black Brother, Black Brother

“In my middle grade novel, Black Brother, Black Brother, Jamaican twins Zion and Zarra are Donte’s fencing partners and best friends. Zarra dislikes the kitchen but Zion loves cooking food with his secret ingredients—love and tons of spice! After team practice, he brings Jamaican Jerk Chicken as a ‘thank you’ to his coach and teammates. Eating together strengthens their bond.

At the end of the book they have a celebration party at the Boys and Girls Club. Delores, the receptionist there,  cooks ribs, black-eyed peas, and greens.”

–Jewell Parker Rhodes

Book Club Menu

Jamaican Jerk Chicken* Ribs* Collard Greens* Black-Eyed Peas



Zion’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken from Black Brother, Black Brother

Prep Time: 24 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 3 pounds chicken

Jewell Parker Rhode's recipe for Zion's Jamaican Jerk Chicken, inspired by the chicken her characters eat in her middle grade novel, BLACK BROTHER, BLACK BROTHER.


For the spice blend:

2 scallions, chopped

1 Scotch bonnet or Habanero chile pepper, seeded and roughly chopped

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme

1 teaspoon salt

For coating chicken:

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 - 3 1/2 pounds chicken bone-in skin, cut into pieces


Combine spices in medium bowl and stir to mix well.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice and olive oil. Place chicken in a large shallow dish, add the chicken and turn to coat. Coat with spice mixture.

Place chicken in a sealed container or Ziploc bag. Refrigerate at least eight hours or overnight. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before grilling.

Light a grill. Grill the chicken over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve.


In place of onion powder, garlic powder, and ground ginger, you can use:

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped; 3 garlic cloves, chopped; 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced



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