Because the flavour of chicken is quite mild, it benefits from a tasty Jamaican jerk baste, when barbecued or grilled, and this also helps to keep the outside from burning until the chicken is cooked through – especially when cooking over charcoal.
To make the baste, heat the oil in a small frying pan over a moderately low heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until the onion is softened and starting to brown. Sprinkle over the salt.
Tip into a large shallow bowl. Add the spices and the lime zest and juice, and stir well to mix.
Make a few shallow slashes in the meat of each piece, then add to the bowl. Turn the pieces to coat thoroughly with the baste, rubbing it into the slashes in the meat. Cover and leave to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Prepare a charcoal fire. When it has burned down to coals covered with grey ash, remove the chicken pieces from the marinating baste and barbecue them for 20–25 minutes, turning and brushing frequently with the baste, until cooked all the way through.
Alternatively, preheat the grill to moderately high. Arrange the chicken on the grill rack and grill for 20–25 minutes, turning and basting frequently.
Serve the chicken hot, garnished with lime wedges.