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Jerked Snapper

Americans think of barbecue as slow-smoked pork or beef brisket, but that wasn’t the earliest example of the cooking technique in the New World. The indigenous peoples of the Caribbean didn’t have cows or pigs, so they were cooking fish and lizards when the Spanish first observed them using the wooden griddles they called barbacoas. This jerk recipe, from Smokelore, is in the spirit of that primeval American barbecue.


Jerked Snapper

Recipe Notes

  • Grill Time: 16 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4; Makes about 1½ cups of Jerk Sauce


For the Jerk Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1⁄3 cup soy sauce
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • 4 Scotch bonnet or Habanero peppers, stemmed and seeded

  • 4 red snapper fillets

Recipe Steps

1: Combine all ingredients for the jerk sauce in a food processor or blender and liquefy.

2: Wash and pat dry 4 red snapper fillets. Cover in jerk sauce (reserving some for later) and marinate for 2 hours in refrigerator.

3: Prepare charcoal grill and cook fish 5 to 8 minutes on each side. Serve with rice and reserved sauce.

Find This Recipe

And More

Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America

Jim Auchmutey follows the delicious and contentious history of barbecue in America in his book, Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America.

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