“Jerk” refers to a style of Jamaican cooking where meat is rubbed with a specific spice mixture and grilled, often over an open-pit fire. The two essential components of jerk seasoning are allspice and scotch bonnet chiles. Scotch bonnets are usually not available dried, so we use habanero chiles (which are nearly identical) in this blend. Habaneros and scotch bonnets are among the hottest chiles on the planet, so this blend is not for the faint of heart! Apart from chiles and allspice, this blend contains garlic, onion, ginger, thyme, black pepper, coarse sea salt, lime peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and demerara sugar, so the blend has some sweetness behind all the heat.
This seasoning can be used as a dry rub just before grilling, but if you want to get closer to true Jamaican jerk flavour, it’s essential to marinate your meat for at least 24 hours. To make a simple marinade, mix 2 tbsp of jerk seasoning with ¼ cup of fresh orange juice, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, and the juice from one lime (about 2 tablespoons). Grill over charcoal and enjoy one of the best summer dishes around. But keep a glass of water handy.