How to Make Jerk Seasoning
Jerk seasoning is an aromatic rub or marinade used in Caribbean cooking. There are several variations on traditional jerk seasonings and marinades, ranging from very spicy to mild. You can use this sauce to make flavorful chicken, pork, fish, and seafood dishes.
Spicy Jerk Marinade
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 scotch bonnet peppers (spicy)
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Mild Jerk Marinade
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped scallion
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground Jamaican pimento (allspice)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 hot pepper, finely ground
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar
Preparing Spicy Jerk Marinade
Consider making a spicy jerk marinade.Traditionally, jerk marinades combine many spices such as pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice with hot peppers, onions and garlic.
- This marinade is an excellent flavorful addition to grilled chicken and other meats.
- Keep in mind that jerk seasoning is meant to be spicy.
- The scotch bonnet pepper is traditionally used in authentic Jamaican cuisine. These can have quite a bit of heat.
Measure out the spices.You will need a collection of spices for this marinade. Keep in mind this is a highly flavorful and spicy sauce.
- You will need 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 teaspoons ground allspice, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. For the fresh spices and seasonings you will need 5 sprigs of fresh thyme and 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger.
- Combine all the spices in a small bowl.
- Set these aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
- It is a good idea to measure out spices and mix them before preparing other ingredients.
- All ingredients will need to be blended thoroughly. Having spices mixed ahead of time will make this process go faster.
Peel onions and garlic.Chop these finely.
- Set these aside in a small bowl.
- You will eventually add these to a blender to make a thick marinade.
- You can always chop garlic and onions ahead of time and store these in the refrigerator until you need to use them.
Prepare the scotch bonnet peppers.Take care while working with these, as they are very spicy.
- A good rule of thumb when working with hot peppers is to wear gloves.
- If you get the hot pepper juice on your skin and then touch your eye, you could end up with a burning sensation.
- Slice the peppers open and remove the seeds.
- Finely dice the peppers and put them aside in a bowl.
- If you get hot pepper juice on your skin, wash your hands thoroughly with dish soap. Alternatively, you can rub your hands with rubbing alcohol or olive oil. These products will help to break up the capsaicin that makes peppers spicy.
Add all of the ingredients to a blender.You will need to use an electric blender to get a thick, smooth marinade.
- Blend the ingredients well, using a higher setting.
- If you find that your blender isn't mixing all of the ingredients, you may need to pause and scrape the sides of the blender.
- If you are making a large amount of marinade and don't have a high capacity blender, you can use a food processor for this.
Use the marinade to season meats and poultry.
- Jerk seasoning is best when it is used shortly after you make it.
- Jerk chicken is one of the most common dishes made with this marinade, but you can also use the sauce on pork, fish, or seafood.
- When using jerk sauce as a marinade, make sure you marinade your meat at least 2 hours.
- For a more potent flavor, marinade your meat overnight.
Making a Mild Jerk Marinade
Gather all of the spices and mix them.You will need to combine the salt, sugar, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper.
- Measure each spice out and put it in a bowl or jar.
- If you want, you can make this spice mix ahead of time and store it for when you want to make jerk marinade.
- You will need to add this spice mixture to a blender later to make a milder version of jerk sauce.
- By mixing the spices ahead of time, you will save time when going to blend the ingredients.
Combine the onions, garlic, and thyme sprigs.Chop these ingredients finely.
- Set these aside in a bowl.
- These can be chopped ahead of time to save time.
- If you do so, store these in the refrigerator in a bowl with plastic wrap.
Prepare the hot pepper.Take care when working with hot peppers.
- You can use gloves if you want to avoid getting any juice on your skin.
- Make sure you use caution when cutting the pepper, as any juice can cause eye and skin irritation.
- Remove the seeds from the pepper and discard them.
- Pepper seeds are very hot. They can increase the heat in a dish.
- Cut the pepper into small, fine pieces.
- If you get any pepper juice on your hands, be sure to wash them thoroughly with dish soap and water.
Combine all ingredients in a blender jar.Blend the mixture on high until smooth.
- If some of the ingredients stick to the side of the blender jar, pause and scrape the sides.
- Store the sauce in a tightly sealed jar.
- This can keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.
- You can also use a food processor to blend the ingredients.
Use the sauce as a marinade.This is best on chicken, pork, or fish.
- Allow at least two hours for your meat to marinade.
- Bake or grill your dish for best results.
- Traditionally, jerk chicken is often grilled. You can even grill a pork loin or pork chops.
- Be aware that even though this version of jerk marinade is milder than traditional jerk seasoning, it still contains hot peppers.
- If you find your dish is still too spicy, you can top it with yogurt or sour cream to cut the heat.
To make spicy jerk seasoning, start by mixing salt, pepper, brown sugar, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, thyme, and ginger in a small bowl. Once you’ve mixed the spices, add them, onions, peeled garlic, scotch bonnet peppers, soy sauce, vegetable oil, vinegar, and orange juice to an electric blender. Then, just turn the blender on, put it on a high setting, and let it blend the mixture into a thick, smooth marinade. After it’s all blended, immediately use it to marinate your meat.
Video: Ingredients of Real Jamaican Jerk
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