Episode 105: How to Smoke When You Don't Have a Smoker

Jerk Seasoning


Jerk Seasoning


For the spice mix:

  • 2 tablespoons imported Jamaican pimento berries or allspice
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces or 2 teaspoons ground
  • 1 whole nutmeg or 2 teaspoons ground
  • 6 dried pimento leaves or 2 bay leaves, crumbled

To finish the jerk paste:

  • 2 to 8 scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, stemmed
  • 2 bunches of scallions, trimmed
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (strip them off the branches) or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon molasses or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Make the spice mix: Place the pimento berries, peppercorns, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pimento leaves (or bay leaves) in a spice mill and grind to a fine powder. You may need to work in several batches.

Step 2: Finish the jerk paste: Cut the scotch bonnets in half. For milder jerk chicken, seed them; for more fiery jerk remove the seeds. (Wear rubber gloves.) Cut the scallions crosswise into 1 inch pieces. Rough chop the garlic and ginger. Place the chiles, scallions, garlic, ginger, thyme, and the ground spices in a food processor and finely chop. Add the soy sauce, olive oil, vinegar, rum, lime juice, molasses, and salt and pepper and process to form a thick paste.

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