Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Jerk chicken is probably the best known Jamaican dish to have been exported from the island and this sensational seasoning makes the ideal jerk chicken! Now you too can add a dash of heavenly Caribbean flavor to beef, chicken, fish, pork, seafood and vegetables. This exotic blend is spicy, aromatic, and a just a bit off the beaten track that in just a short amount of time will allow you to add a splash of fun to your meal.
Not all Jerk Seasonings are the same. Most Jerk Seasonings on the market have salt listed as one of the first ingredients. This makes for the less expensive product on their end (but not necessarily on yours). Our top quality Jerk Seasoning is salt free.
The island's cuisine has been greatly influenced over the years by the Spanish, British, East Indian, West African, Portuguese, Chinese, French and Dutch.
The word "jerk" is derived from the Quechua word "charqui" meaning jerked or dried meat. Quechua is an indigenous language family, with variations spoken by the Quechua peoples, primarily living in the Andes and highlands of South America and was spoken long before the expansion of the Inca Empire.
The origins of modern jerk can be traced back to Boston Beach on the north coast of the island of Jamaica. In the 1930s roadside stands popped up serving flavorful jerk in a relaxed atmosphere, today you'll find these stands located throughout the island. The first documentation of "jerking" dates back to 1698 when Pere Labat, a French priest, described a jerk pit made from forked sticks and a grill of pimento wood (wood from allspice trees). On the grill was a whole pig stuffed with lime juice, salt and pimento (better known to us in this country as allspice berries).
But the history of jerk stated long before then. It's generally acknowledged by food historians that "jerk" cooking is from the maroons who brought the cooking technique with them from Africa. But what the maroons learned from the island's original inhabitants, the Taino people, was how to preserve meat, especially wild boar (and while also adding tremendous flavor), which was done using many of the spices that make up modern jerk seasoning.
The Taino are generally considered the first people of Jamaica and likely migrated to the island more than 2500 years ago from either from the Colombian Andes or the Amazon basin where the Arawakan languages emerged. The Taino was the name given by some islanders as a way to distinguish their group from the Caribs (who inhabited the nearby Windward Islands, Dominica, and possibly the southern Leeward Islands) who were reputed to be fierce and ruthless warriors (maybe even cannibalistic). The Taino called the island Xaymaca (pronounced "za ma ka"), which meant "land of wood and water".
In 1494 Christopher Columbus landed on the island and claimed it for Spain. Soon the Spanish colonist arrived and brought with them European diseases that soon killed off most the of the islands inhabitants. The Spanish then introduced Ashanti slaves from Africa's Gold Coast (modern day Ghana) who brought their cooking techniques, spices and recipes from Africa to the island. Some of these slaves escaped their slavery and lived in secluded parts of the Island, were they became known as "maroons". The word "maroon" derives from Spanish "cimarrón" (meaning "wild" or "untamed" and was often used to refer to runaways or castaways), which itself is believed by etymologists to be based on the Taino word "si'maran" meaning "the flight of an arrow".
Traditional Jamaican Jerk is a specific method of slow cooking pork. Today beef, chicken, goat or seafood can be seasoned in this manner as well. Authentic jerk from the island is an elaborate blend of seasonings including allspice, black pepper, thyme, scallions, onions, scotch bonnet chiles and numerous other spices. All of its ingredients can be found on the island's lush green landscape.
The typical jerk cooking style uses a marinade or paste and the pork (typically pork shoulder) or other meat is then marinated for 3 to 4 hours. Traditionally cooked in an open pit that's lined with rocks the wood is usually a green wood from the allspice tree (called pimento on the island), which is indigenous to the Caribbean. Once the fire has died down to burning embers the meat used to be wrapped in tree leaves (today it's more likely to be wrapped in foil) and placed on the burning coals and then covered with embers and slow cooked 6 to 9 hours.
Jerk rub has a reputation for its not so subtle heat and this blend won't disappoint. Our Jamaican Seasoning is convenient enough to use in everyday cooking, but is packed with enough special flair to be used for any backyard grilling celebration. Use as a Jamaican Jerk Rub or sprinkle it on chicken, pork, beef, fish, seafood (most definitely on shrimp) before grilling, roasting, smoking or baking.
When using it as a rub we recommend 1 tablespoon of mix per pound of meat. Coat the meat and rub it in and be sure to cover both sides of the meat evenly. Once this is done wash your hands and place the meat in a resealable plastic bag (we prefer to use a large zip lock bag). Place in the refrigerator for at least two hours. For best results we like to leave it refrigerated for up to 8 hours before grilling.
To make your own jerk marinade mix 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 large orange), 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice (about 1 small lime) and 1/2 cup of our Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. This is enough for 3-4 lbs of chicken. We like to marinate for at least 3-4 hours and have marinated for up to 24 hours. Remove from the fridge 30-45 minutes before you plan to cook or grill.
And if you are the truly adventurous type, you can give a few of these recipes a try -- Jamaican Jerk Stir Fry, Jamaican Chicken and Mango Chutney Sandwich and Jerk Burgers.
Hand blended from onion, coriander, garlic, ginger, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, thyme, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg, scotch bonnet, clove and chives.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*