When you think of Jamaican cooking jerk seasoning and marinade surely comes to mind. Spicy, zingy and flavorful, applied as a rub this combination of spices brings out the flavor of anything you want to put on the barbeque. Jerk recipes all include four mandatory ingredients; allspice, green onions, thyme and chili pepper - most commonly Scotch Bonnet. The meat is then smoked over soaked pimento wood, imparting extra flavor.
Whether you want to make Jamaican jerk chicken or Jamaican jerk pork you can choose from a wide variety of commercially available products or make your own. Head online and select something milder such as Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Marinade. Slather it on your meat, let it sit a while, even overnight, then put it on the grill for a long, slow cook.
Jerk seasoning and marinade come in different degrees of heat. Even the milder versions can pack a powerful punch of flavor. How long you marinate your meat or how much rub you apply will play a part in determining just how much kick you have when you sit down to eat.
Some traditionalists will insist that only a rub is true jerk, but marinades can impart flavor deeper into the meat, even with a shorter lead-time. Jerk products by a company named Dave's start out hot, and just get hotter, regardless of the method. For true jerk flavor though, it has to be spicy, and the spicier the products get, the stranger the names.
You can even make your own Jamaican Jerk sauce at home. The Internet is swimming with Jamaican jerk recipes for both jerk seasoning and marinade. To make a rub you will need a mortar and pestle or a dedicated spice/coffee grinder. The heat in the scotch bonnets is intense, and will transfer if you aren't careful. Always wear gloves when working with these peppers.
Jamaican jerk marinade departs from traditional recipes often including vinegar, cane syrup or other liquids to carry the flavor. Cover your chosen meat with rub or place it in the marinade, cover tightly and let it sit overnight in your fridge. Extra rub or marinade will keep for a long time, if stored properly, so make a double batch and enjoy the Caribbean flavors again soon. If you are serving your jerk seasoning or marinade to someone who doesn't enjoy the heat, sweeten things up a bit by including fried plantains, a fruit salsa or some traditional beans and rice as side dishes.
When you think about cranking up the barbeque and getting friends together, make sure you keep jerk seasoning and marinade top on your list. There is nothing like jerk to keep you in mind of Jamaica, the sun, the sea and the surf.