The epitome of summer is barbecue foods, comfort foods best enjoyed in sunshine, with friends and family.  Nothing makes me think of Father’s day or summer fishing and camping trips more than camp foods.  I took an amazing trip to Jamaica years ago and fell in love with jerked foods.   What specifically is “jerk” you ask.   It references jerky and the method of seasoning with an amazing mix of Caribbean spices and drying before hardwood barbecue. Origins of West Africa found their way across the Atlantic to the mountains of Jamaica where it has become a national dish.  I love Jerk with Grace’s Fish and Meat sauce.  I haven’t found it in Juneau yet, but thanks to online ordering I can still relive those sandy warm beaches and afternoon rain squalls with this magical combination.  While traditional Jerk is cooked over a steel drum might be hard to duplicate for most Southeast folks there are some amazing bbq pits and outdoor ovens that can be accomplished in Alaska.  I’d love to hear from you all and your summer outdoor cooking plans.  I’ll be planning camping trips, cook outs at the ball field and beach.  Find me on Twitter at akamber please post your pics, plans and adventures at #akbbq.

Amber King can be emailed at


  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tsp. fresh ground allspice
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 8 habanero chiles, stemmed
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 1 -1” piece ginger, peeled and smashed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste I prefer heavy on black pepper
  • 8 whole skin-on, bone-in chicken legs and thighs

1. Combine the oil, lime juice, sugar, vinegar, thyme, soy sauce, allspice, garlic, chilies, scallions, shallots, ginger, and salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth or use a mortar and pestle. Place chicken in a 9” x 13” baking dish and pour marinade over it; massage marinade into chicken, making sure to push it under the skin. Cover chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

2. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Or, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Place chicken on grill over direct heat and cook, turning occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to indirect heat, or reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. To serve, transfer chicken to a plate.

SERVES 6 – 8