Let's talk all things Jamaican-Jerk style: recipes, techniques, etc

I used to have some fantastic Jamaican/Caribbean banana chutney, but it’s no longer commercially made. It goes great with jerk anything. I’ve made banana chutney myself, but I haven’t come very close to the commercial product, which was sublime.

Today, I decided to jerk some pork shoulder. Three and a half pounds, used the leftover jerk paste from the chicken a few days ago. Cooked it atop a plantain leaf on the Weber Smokey Mountain. Took about 4 hours.

Pork marinating

On da smoker.

Chopped up and ready to eat.

Texture was exactly where I wanted it: cooked through, soft, and juicy, but not shreddy, fall-apart tender. Served it with some soft bread, limes, and squirt of jerk marinade mixed with Open Pit barbecue sauce and cider vinegar. Great 3rd of July supper! (And we had some mac & cheese on the side, as well as a lemongrass-lime chicken-rice soup to start.)

Mmm that looks and sounds really good! it just so happens I have a pork shoulder in the freezer. Maybe next weekend…

Thanks Kelevra, and let us know how your chicken turns out!

I’ve been on a bit of a Jamaican food kick the last few weeks. I used the Walkerswood paste mentioned upthread to jerk some chicken, then a few days later, a ribeye. I also made rice and peas, just adding canned red kidney beans to some rice cooked in coconut milk, sauteed onions and garlic, and ground allspice, thyme and a pinch of cinnamon. Really good! And the convection oven does really great plantains. I like them really black and ripe, but MrP prefers them green and potatoey.

I used the Serious Eats recipe (mostly). It came out really good! The breasts were done well before the rest so I took them off and kept the others cooking for another 20 minutes. I like dark meat to be really well done. Everything was really juicy and flavorful, so the marinade did the trick. I would definitely make it again. I’ve been eating it every day.

Nice! Glad to hear it turned out well. :yum: :poultry_leg:

I just did a grocery store run for jerk ingredients, and for the second straight week in a row they were out of habaneros! Well, they had one lonely one left so I grabbed that. I asked and an employee of the store said their distributor was having supply problems. So I picked up this habanero sauce-- it had the fewest ingredients and the only one to list habanero peppers as the first ingredient. I tasted it and it’s not too bad-- plenty spicy. But I’m still pretty bummed I couldn’t get more actual habaneros :angry:

I bought some Walkerswood Hot & Spicy and some wings. I’ve made this before but not for a while. The results were outstanding, I highly recommend.

So here’s my process. I bought some Tyson commodity wings from Walmart for about $3/lb. I cut them into flats and drums with shears and discarded the tips. The Walkerswood bottls says 1 oz per 2 lbs of meat which is laughably short. I didn’t measure but it was 4 heaping spoonfuls of jerk into a ziplock of a little over 2 lbs of wings at around 10 this morning. I massaged the bag a few times over the course of the day.

Around 6:30pm, I made a fire with hickory and maple.
The wings smelled absolutely incredible as they cooked.
Here’s a shot while cooking:
The skin was bubbly when flipped and it was an enjoyable time working the tongs.

The fire really mellows the jerk spice. I’d licked the spoon earlier and found myself panting in the best way. Holy smoke, this is spicy. The finished wings are not so spicy, though. The allspice and chilie flavor are very much muted by the heat. I was also wishing for a bit more salt.

I’m my own worst critic and these were really good. Here’s a bonus shot of some awesome Romanian beef & lamb mititiei, very similar to cevapi & cevapcici:


Looks outstanding, and good job on the mititei! I have yet to do a mititei recipe. I’ve done many a cevap, but never ventured a bit further east (minus the Middle Eastern/Turkish/etc., koftes or adana, etc . kebabs.)

So here’s my jerk chicken adventure from this weekend-- it involves an injury, a hospital visit, but ultimately pretty good jerk chicken :laughing:

I made the jerk marinade paste Friday night almost exactly using Pulykamell’s marinade recipe from the “What to make with a chicken " thread. As a mentioned in my previous post, my grocery store only had one sad habanero pepper so I bought some “Marie Sharp’s” Habenero sauce and used half the bottle for the marinade. Still, the resulting chicken was not very hot so I definitely plan to use 8-12 habeneros per Pulykamell when I finally get my hands on that many peppers.I also added a peeled clementine orange for a bit more citrus.

As I talked about in the “What to make with a chicken” thread I’ve been trying to emulate the technique of a restaurant called “Fenton’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken” which is gone now because the owner Fenton Brown Sr. sadly died back in February. They made the BEST chicken using a 2-step process: first searing the chicken over a hot grill, then slow-cooking it in a pan in its own juices so it’s falling-off-the bone tender. So I planned to sear the chicken on my Weber kettle grill, then transfer it to pans and finish slow-smoking in my Smokey Mountain bullet smoker.

So Saturday around noon I’m getting everything ready. For the smoker I thought I’d use a combo of applewood and allspice berries for smoking. I was cutting a piece of applewood on my table saw into chunks when it kicked back violently on me and smashed my middle finger on my left hand. My finger was split open and bleeding profusely (it wasn’t directly a saw injury; my finger never contacted the saw, it was more of a blunt-force injury from the wood being voilently wrenched out of my hand).

So, trip to Emergency, diagnosis of a Tuft fracture of the distal phalanx, 3 stitches, a splint and a scrip for antibiotics.We had take-out Chinese for dinner Saturday night :disappointed:

Sunday, I just straight-up grilled the jerk chicken-- didn’t bother with the smoker. Turned out very flavorful, which you’d expect after marinating for almost 48 hours. As I said, not as spicy as I would’ve liked, so I’m going big with the habaneros when I can next time. My quest for making perfect jerk continues. Served with pigeon peas and rice, which turned out very tasty. Maybe I’ll post my recipe for peas and rice if anybody’s interested. But I think this post is long enough for now…

Well, glad it all worked out in the end. That sounds almost like a pulykamell story, minus the fact that I would probably stubbornly refuse to go to the ER, much to the chagrin of my wife, and then end up wishing I had listened to her in the first place. :slight_smile:

In terms of the habaneros, still exercise due caution and be a little conservative to start. You can always taste the paste and add more if you like it hotter.

And, yes, please pass on your pigeon peas and rice recipe.

I almost toughed it out and didn’t go to the ER, but my finger was bashed up pretty bad and I type on a keyboard for a living. Also I play guitar, badly, and I don’t need more of a contribution to my bad guitar playing. So I thought I should get it looked at to make sure it would heal properly. Did give me a chance to try out this ancient joke on the doc: Me: “will I be able to pay guitar after it heals?” Doc “sure”. Me: “Great! I couldn’t play guitar before.” Actually got a laugh.

Pigeon Peas and Rice

  • 1 bunch scallions, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, 1/2 red pepper, diced (this is optional- peas and rice recipes typically don’t have bell pepper, but it adds color and sneaks some extra veggies into my kids’ diet).
  • 1 habanero, optional
  • a few strips of bacon
  • about 6 garlic cloves, minced up
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-ground allspice
  • fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1 15 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 15 oz can pigeon peas (can substitute some other kind of bean- pinto, black, red, etc)
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock (more if you drain the can of pigeon peas/beans, or if you start with dried. You want to end up with a little about 2:1 ratio liquid to rice)
  • 2 cups rice (I like Basmati for this)
  • Couple glugs olive oil

Cook the veggies, thyme, bacon and garlic in the olive oil until softened up. Add the allspice and other spices and mix in in, cooking a bit more.

Add chicken stock, pigeon peas / beans and coconut milk and heat until starting to boil. Add rice, turn heat down to low and cook covered for about 20 minutes.

While at the store, I had this thread in mind and checked for pigeon peas. This particular store is mostly focused on Eastern European groceries but they had canned & dry, both Goya. I didn’t buy any but probably will to try your recipe, @solost.

These were bought already prepared from Fresh Farms up in Niles. I can almost never resist buying some where I’m there buying stuff to grill.

It’s funny timing on the saw injury. I did something errily similar about 3 weeks ago. I use a small hatchet to cut my chunks down. To get it started, I put the wood on the blade and bring both down to tap the chunk onto the blade against the large log that serve as the chopping block. Once the chunk is tapped onto the blade enough to hold, I pull my hand away for a more forceful swing. I’ve done this hundreds of times without injury …except once. The chunk sort of rolled funny and the blade got me about a half inch behind the nail on my left index finger. The hatchet was bought used from an estate/garage sale and is pretty dull. Somehow, it gashed the skin open. It bled for hours but wierdly didn’t hurt too much. It’s almost fully healed now but I won’t be suprised if there’s the scar is permanent. It was also apple wood.

Good luck with the peas and rice jinglmassiv! And yeah, watch out for the apple wood- it’ll get ya

Mmmm. Jerk chicken. Overall, mine sounds rather similar to pulykamell, but I’ll share mine, because for some people it may be easier, since it’s all stovetop and slow cooker - so great if you don’t have a grill or don’t want to clean one.

I go with either a value pack of thighs (more flavor) or breasts (more common at my store), with skin and bones when possible for flavor, but I’ve used pork chops and done about as well.

I start with an overnight brine with a bit of lime juice and hot sauce added (I like El Yucateco Caribbean hot sauce, but you may use any you like).

Pat the chicken dry, then saute in a heavy skillet with a mix of butter and canola oil (I’d use olive, but the flavor just didn’t mix right for me) until browned. Remove to my ceramic slow cooker.

With the remaining oil/fat mixture in the pan, and medium heat, saute one bunch of spring onions (trimmed and chopped fine), 4-5 scotch bonnet (chopped and seeded), 4 cloves of garlic (chopped coarse), until softened. Then add 1 tsp ground allspice (I use whole berries and grind in my spice grinder, much better), 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (with my microplane grater), with 2 tsp of tubinado sugar. Stir until mixed, then sprinkle with 1 tbsp AP flour and mix to form a simple base.
Add 1 1/4 cups homemade chicken stock (I love stock made from smoked chickens for this) slooooowly and carefully, and stir until the mix bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat and add in 1 tbsp red or cider vinegar, 2 tbsp lime juice, 2 tsp tomato paste, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the chicken in the slow cooker, lid up, and cook on high for 3-4 hours or until done. I serve it with homemade flatbread or rice, and garnish with lime wedges and additional sliced scallions.
I find this gives me a huge amount of flavor, and since it’s slow cooked, I get tender but juicy meat all the time. It certainly isn’t fast though. And saving all the remaining sauce means amazing left overs, great for non-traditional soft tacos once you pull the cooled meat off the bone - it’s already falling apart so no work to shred it.

Just reviving this almost year-old thread to say I tried again yesterday on my quest to emulate the jerk chicken from the now-closed restaurant Fenton’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken. The chicken and peas and rice was about the best meal I ever had, and I used to go for lunch once or twice a month until Fenton Brown Sr. passed away a little over a year ago. I’ve been periodically trying to match his recipe and the way he cooked his chicken since then. I got very close yesterday.

It’s a 2-step process: first I took the marinaded chicken, got most of the marinade off it, and seared the chicken over a very hot grill. Then I put the chicken in disposable aluminum pans, poured the marinade over the chicken, put the pans of chicken on the cool, no-coal side of the grill, and closed down the vents to slow-cook / smoke the chicken.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the Weber kettle grill down to a low enough temperature to slow-cook the chicken as long as I would have liked, but it was very good, if not quite falling-off-the-bone tender. And it provided the pan juices that make the peas and rice so good when you pour a spoonful over it. I overheard my older son telling his brother it was the best chicken he ever ate, and he is not generous with the compliments.

Better yet, I didn’t break my finger this time!

Have any of you Dopers smoked jerk baby back ribs? I have a pellet smoker that works great with various dry rubs but what I have on hand is the Walkerswood paste, both mild and hot. What should I do? Rub them with the paste and let them sit for 24 hours? Use a generic dry rub and only add the paste to finish them? I use a variation of the 3-2-1 method, FWIW. While I’m here, can anyone recommend one of the major chains for the most meaty pork ribs? I see much variation in my local chain store.

Jerk chicken always tastes to me like patchouli (which in turns smells like Pinesol). Luckily, I like that taste! Does anyone know what I mean, and which spices give it that flavor? I looked through some of the recipes mentioned in the thread but didn’t see anything that would explain it.

Allspice is the major fragrant spice. Sometimes there’s also cinnamon,nutmeg, that sort of thing, but the dominant flavor outside of the Scotch bonnets is allspice, accented by thyme.

Allspice is the most fragrant herb in my jerked chicken, although I’d consider it more ‘christmasy’ than patchouli in my mind. Another option (which I’ve done once) is when I subbed out a different thyme varietal when I was out of the normal. I used lemon thyme, and while it worked, the odor profile was different. Not bad, but different. Clashed just a bit with the lime.

ETA - I see pulykamel also thinks Allspice is a likely contender. :slight_smile:

PS - I also recommend adding the zest of any limes you juice to make the dish, for me, the lime flavor is a key part of my homemade jerked dishes.