THE Best Jamaican Jerk Sauce Seasoning
We LOVE Jamaican Jerk Sauce and Seasonings. Wanna come for dinner? :)
Hi everyone! I have a friend from a marketing group that I belong to who was born and raised in Jamaica. When I told her that John and I REALLY like jerk paste we asked her for HER recipe.
As it oftentimes happens in home cooking, she told me, "Well, Kath, I don't always really MEASURE" (hint: remember that this takes a lot of HOT pepper). :) But she told me how she would pretty much do it - more or less based on the recipe that follows.
But, I have to say that this is really not too difficult! Except for finding Scotch Bonnet peppers (aka Jamaican peppers) in grocery stores up in northern New Hampshire, just about everything else is available here.
Ok, except for the pimento planks that Barb, my friend says is CRITICAL to really cooking Jamaican jerk chicken...
Anyway, Let's take a look at a recipe, as well as some commercial brands of jerk seasoning that - from personal experience - I can recommend (or not). Trust me... we've gone through a LOT of this! :)
PS: I took the photos accompanying these paragraphs (other than the ones from Amazon or AllPosters), and ask that you please don't use or copy them without my permission. Thanks! :) Photos copyright Kathy Tremblay
Are You a Fan of Jerk Sauce or Paste?
Do you enjoy Jamaican jerk sauce, paste, or seasoning?
Even if you don't have Scotch Bonnet peppers (as is the case for us), you can still make an authentic sauce or marinade. In this recipe, we're making an authentic Jerk Sauce (seasoning) marinade. My actual favorite COMMERCIALLY prepared jerk sauce (Walkerswood as of this writing) has a lot LESS ingredients in it - but my friend Barbara uses these ingredients. As I mentioned, we cannot find Scotch Bonnet peppers where we live, so we use jalepenos (see our home grown jalepeno in the photo!).
Again, Barb says that she really doesn't measure, so experiment with this!
Again, this particular recipe is more for a marinade than a paste - so you can experiment with making this more into a paste by taking out the liquids like the soy sauce and vegetable oil. You'll still want a little lime though! :) Enjoy!
- Scallions (aka Green Onions) - about 6 or 7
- Scotch Bonnet (aka Jamaican) Peppers - 1 or 2 - Use jalepeno or habenero if you can't find Scotch Bonnet. Careful! These are HOT!!!
- Brown Sugar - approx 2 tablespoons (to taste)
- Thyme - If using FRESH thyme - approx 1 tablespoon. If using DRY thyme - approx 1 TEASPOON
- Salt & Pepper - approx 1-2 teaspoons each (feel free to go easy on the salt if you're cutting back)
- Allspice - approx 2 teaspoons ground
- Nutmeg - approx 1 teaspoon ground
- Cinnamon - approx 1 teaspoon ground
- Cloves - approx 1/2 teaspoon ground
- Soy Sauce - approx 1/3 - 1/2 cup
- Lime Juice - Barb starts with 2 large limes and juices them - she adds more if needed for "more zing" as she says
- Vegetable Oil - approx 2 tablespoons (wonder how coconut oil would taste! Hmmm?)
- Fresh Garlic - approx 2 cloves
- Fresh Ginger - approx 1 inch (before chopping) or approx 1 tablespoon. Can omit if you're not a ginger fan. Ginger adds a little "heat" too.
- Chicken Pieces - approx 1.5 - 2 pounds. Personally I love dark meat but it should work find on breasts as well!
- Well, this is the easy part! :)
- 1) Put it all (well, except for the chicken!!) into a food processor or blender and combine until it's well blended.
- 2) Place chicken pieces into bowl or container with the seasoning/marinade - cover, and let it marinade in the refrigerator for anywhere from a few hours to overnight. I like to use large zipper-lock bags so I can turn it easily and keep the marinade covering the chicken better.
- 3) Pre-heat your grill to high, and put a bit of oil on the grill if you want to help keep the chicken from sticking. We have been using a grill basket which is really excellent for cooking chicken on the grill.
- 4) Grill the chicken for about 8-10 minutes per side - you'll want the juices to run clear. This step is a little tough for me to recommend because John has a "thing" about chicken, and likes to REALLY cook it through. Use your judgement or consult with your copy of "Joy of Cooking" :)
Look! Look! I Even Made a YouTube Video!! - Step by Step... How John & I make our Jamaican Jerk Sauce / Seasoning Marinade!
I decided that I'd demonstrate the recipe that my friend Barbara gave me, and wound up with a nice YouTube Video showing our amazing and delicious Best (and pretty darned authentic) Jamaican Jerk Sauce Marinade in step-by-step fashion! Enjoy!
It's not REALLY Jamaican Jerk if it isn't cooked over Pimento Wood
That's what Barb says. So, try as I might, I could NOT find Pimento Wood on Amazon OR eBay (Imagine that? Finally found something they don't have??).
Anyway, Barbara found a place called www.PimentoWood.com
Get some of that and you'll be stylin'!
Island Jerk Seasoning - Another Commercial Brand of Jerk Sauce
We're gonna pass on this one next time...
Well... It looked good in the store. But, once we got it home and tried it, it reminded us of Busha Brownes - which USED to be good... But, when Busha Browne spoiled it (in our opinion) by making it more vinegary, we stopped using it.
Same here. We won't buy this brand again - really, because of that overly vinegary flavor.
Ok, in their defense, they are not claiming that it's a JAMAICAN sauce. It's made in Costa Rica. Hey... at least it's not made in some factory in China.
Also... take a look at this list of ingredients. Enough with the vinegar and citric acid already! :)
Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning - Actually Made in Jamaica
This is our NEWEST favorite! At least in the Commercial bracket!
We found Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning at (believe it or not) the Daytona Beach (Florida) Flea Market. Now, this "flea market" isn't really a flea market in the way that John and I think of flea markets (remember, we also deal in buying and selling to make money on eBay and stuff).
This particular market is more like a ramshackle type of mall - most of the stuff is new, a LOT of this stuff is Dollar Store types of items... BUT, they DO have a Thai restaurant on the premises (alongside your beer and hot dog kiosks), and an enormous selection of produce with dozens of vendors. There's one kiosk that specializes in spices - we love that booth!
Then there was this booth that sold sauces. THAT is where we stumbled upon Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning.
Now, let me tell you - if you need a jerk sauce fix, and all you can find is an $11 bottle of Walkerswood, well, that's what you'll have to pay. That's what we had to pay. But, look in the Amazon offerings below and you'll quickly find that you can find this VERY inexpensively. I just received my latest order - 4 bottles (10 ounces each) for about $8 per bottle - and that included shipping. So shop around!
Anyway, this is the taste we're after! And, if you look at the ingredient label here, you'll see that it's simple and straightforward. Who says great taste has to be complicated! TRY THIS! It's WONDERFUL!!!
Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning Wins Our Vote! - Please try this! It really is good...
A little bit about the Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning, and why we prefer it above others.
If you read the previous paragraph about our preference for a "less vinegary" type of jerk sauce, and you tend to agree, then you'll like Walkerswood. The ingredients are simple - scallions, scotch bonnet peppers, salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, citric acid, cane sugar, and thyme. The citric acid is not overpowering - probably like the amounts of lime juice we use when we make it homemade.
But honestly, as long as we have Walkerswood, we don't have a hankering to make it. Oh yeah... Notice that Walkerswood uses SCOTCH BONNET peppers? That's one of the keys right there! Try to find those little buggers in your local grocer (not gonna happen in northern NH!)
We USED to Use Busha Browne... - But we don't any longer...
I think we mentioned it above. We used to LOVE Busha Browne jerk paste - but something changed. Maybe they got too big, or maybe they got bought out by some large conglomerate... who knows. All we know is that it began to taste... well... "cheap." Vinegary.
But, in all fairness to you, my dear readers, if you would like to try it for yourself - and that's really only fair - here are a few choices for you! You can let me know how you like it. I DO realize that everyone's tastes are different!
Now that you've gone through this article... - What do you think?
Would you try to make a Jamaican jerk sauce yourself? Or would you prefer to buy it?
Make it yourself or buy it? What do you say?
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