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Homemade Jerk marinade recipe. Get Jamaican at your next backyard bbq.

Updated on October 9, 2010

Nothing beats a good jerk!

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It's pretty hard to resist the sweet and spicy aromas of jerked meat grilled over a smoky BBQ. The floral heat and the complex spices make this a classic dish, and the perfect meal for any hot summer backyard BBQ.

This recipe is for a jerk marinade, and although you can easily buy a jerk sauce at the supermarket, this will be a lot better, and you can have this marinade ready in about 3 minutes.

You can adjust the seasonings in this marinade to suit your palate, and if you really like to sweat, get authentic and use scotch bonnet chiles (the hottest chile pepper in the world!). These chiles are inferno spicy, but also contribute a floral and complex taste unique to the scotch bonnet or habanero pepper.

This recipe is for a marinade, and as a result is going to be a little bit salty. You can easily adapt this recipe to serve as a table sauce by holding back on some of the salt.

Try this with chicken breast, whole split chicken, pork chops, or a whole pork shoulder roast cooked slowly over an indirect fire; with lots of great smoky heat. The general rule is the thicker the meat, the longer it will take to marinade. Chicken breast will be marinated in a couple of hours, pork chops will take a bunch of hours, and whole chicken parts or a pork roast should start marinating the day before. That being said, if you don't have the time (or forget) to marinate, just slather on the marinade generously as you grill, and it will still taste great.

The ingredients here are all pretty loose. Don't get stressed about precise measurements. Just chuck approximate amounts into the blender; you can always modify the tastes later.

I know this looks like a big list of ingredients, but you really barely need to measure them, and you are just going to throw them all into a blender.

Spicy homemade jerk marinade/sauce

1 big bunch of green onions or a couple smaller bunches

2 Tbls soy sauce

2 Tbls vegetable oil

1 Tbls salt

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp dried thyme, or 1 Tbls fresh thyme

1tbls allspice

1-10 scotch bonnets. Start with a small amount and add more lately if you think it needs it.

1 thumb sized knuckle of ginger (don't worry about peeling it; just blend it up skin and all!)

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 a small onion

2-3 Tbls of brown sugar

Just whack it all into the blender and give it a puree. Don't add more water, if you're having trouble getting it all blended, just keep turning off the blender, stirring it up, and trying again. Eventually it will "take" and start to blend up nicely.

Now taste it. It should taste pretty salty, but not unpleasantly puckeringly salty. If you think it's perfect, and would enjoy it as a table sauce, add a bit more salt. You want this to sort of brine the meat as it marinates. It won't taste too salty when you eat it with the meat, it will taste great!

You can also now throw in more chiles if it's not spicy enough for you. If it tastes too salty and sour, try adding in a bit more brown sugar until things seem good and balanced.

Authentic jerked meats are not exactly grilled as we think of grilling, they are sort of smoke grilled. To get a more authentic jerk experience, add some wood chips to your BBQ, and cook your meat over slow indirect heat; or just get em going over high heat and enjoy a beautiful jerk chicken breast in 10 minutes!


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    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      7 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I really want to try this one also! I think I found a whole new cook book with your hubs! What a find! Shared!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I found this exact same recipe elsewhere (don't know who copied who) and it is amazing. I used habaneros instead of scotch bonnets and it seems to still come out delicious.

      Use the recipe verbatim one time then play around with it by adding in different types of hot chile peppers, and different fruits, more allspice/garlic etc. yum

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 

      8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      John, another great recipe. You are the man!

    • DeniseClarke profile image


      8 years ago from Florida

      WOW ... this sounds awesome. Think I'll go out and fire up the grill now ... LOL!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      this recipe is fantastic. I just tweaked it a little to match the versions I've had in the past. I changed the brown sugar to molasses, used 2 bunches of scallions and no onion, reduced the salt a little, and added another lime. Also, for the heat instead of fresh scotch bonnets I used one of the crazy Death sauces. the recipe blows away Walkerswood jerk sauce

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This sounds like a good mix to me! Will have to try it soon.

      I love making Jerk on the BBQ.

    • John D Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      John D Lee 

      9 years ago

      Please do!

    • Info Help profile image

      Info Help 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks for this recipe! IT sounds quite easy and I am sure it is delicious! My husband loves seasoning with a kick, Ill let you know how it turns out for me. I am a fan :)

    • Angela Harris profile image

      Angela Harris 

      12 years ago from Around the USA

      Thanks for this. I had Jamaican Jerk pork on a cruise and have been looking for a good authentic jerk recipe ever since. The bottled jerk sauces are terrible.


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