Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings with Cilantro-Lime Ranch

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The heat of these finger-licking Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings is cut by cool Cilantro-Lime Ranch dip. It’s perfect game-day food.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings with Cilantro-Lime Ranch | www.takingonmagazines.com | The heat of these finger licking Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings is cut by cool Cilantro-Lime Ranch dip. It's perfect game-day food.

Sophie’s least favorite time of the week is Sunday afternoons in the fall/early winter. That’s because around 1 pm, she loses both her parents to the thing that is usually a nemesis to parents, the television.

Unfortunately for the poor kid, both Doug and I enjoy watching football and since we have just a few teams that we can’t stand watching (yes, the Patriots are one upon which we agree to avoid), Sophie’s left to her own devices for a few hours on that day.

I have, however, found a few ways to entice her to spend time with us while the gridiron battles take place. A silly app called Roblox is one of them. This past Sunday I cheered my Bears to a second-in-a-row victory (their first in two years) while my goofy-looking character followed Sophie’s even sillier one around a the cartoon town of Robloxia to take a tour of the latest house she’d built.

The other, more enjoyable, way I’ve discovered for enticing Sophie into the family room while the games are on is with food. Instead of serving a big after-church dinner, I pull together a selection of fun appetizers mid-afternoon and the three of us enjoy each other’s company while we graze through whatever’s on the table.

This past weekend, it was these wings.

The Process

This recipe received a false start (yeah, pun intended) before it actually got made because I didn’t read the playbook (okay, I’ll stop now) beforehand, specifically the part that said to marinate the wings for at least four hours before grilling them. Once noted, they went in the freezer and waited a week before being made.

It’s a simple recipe with stellar ingredients. The marinade items go in a blender and are pureed. The puree is poured in a bowl over the wings (I opted for the full wing instead of just the drumettes because I love the tips). The wings marinate, then they’re grilled.

I do have to confess that I didn’t use two Scotch bonnets. And, in addition to using just one, I seeded it. Yes, I’m a heat wimp and I wanted to enjoy the full flavor of the jerk marinade instead of being overwhelmed by the heat of the peppers.

If using a charcoal grill, I do recommend indirect heat since 30 minutes is a long time for such little pieces. If they need charring, just slide them over the coals at the end of the grilling time.

The Verdict

I loved these. Loved, loved, loved. The marinade had a great balance, allowing the spices to shine through and the heat (made perfect for my wimpy taste buds by using just one pepper) was muted by the delicious cilantro-lime ranch dip. These wings were wonderful.

Doug enjoyed them, mentioning a couple of times how much he liked the ranch, but he did say he wished there was more heat (oops). For folks who don’t like much spice, a recommend doing like I did; using one pepper and seeding it. For those who like kick, use both, seeding them to tone it down a bit or chopping the whole thing for the full bomb of heated flavor.

What I’d Do Different Next Time


The Cost

Scallions: $1.98
Ginger: $1.29
Garlic: $.69
Scotch bonnet chiles: $.89
Limes: $.99
Drumettes: $11.97

Total: $17.81

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings with Cilantro-Lime Ranch Recipe

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings with Cilantro-Lime Ranch
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Reviewed by:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Jamaican
Serves: 6

  • ½ cup chopped scallions (about 10 scallions)
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • ½ ounce fresh ginger, sliced (about 1 [2-inch] piece)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 Scotch bonnet chiles, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 3 pounds chicken drumettes

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup whole buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest plus
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Prepare the chicken: Combine scallions, brown sugar, ginger, salt, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, garlic, and chiles in a mini food processor. Process until a smooth paste forms, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and add lime juice, oil, and drumettes. Toss to coat; cover and chill 4 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Heat a charcoal grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Place drumettes on oiled grate, and grill, covered and turning often, until cooked through and well charred, about 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare the sauce: Stir together all sauce ingredients in a bowl; serve with wings.


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