Whoa! Wait one meat jerking minute! Japanese jerk? Indian jerk sauce, Jamaican style? Raspberry flavored jerk!? What in the world is going on? In the past 15 years Jamaican jerk has set palates ablaze across the globe, prompting others to strike up their own rendition of jerk.
These days authentic Jamaican jerk seasonings sit on the shelves with pretenders from around the world. Recently, a seasoning found on the shelf in Jamaica was actually made in Ohio, USA!
What's in the real jerk? Jerk is really the spices and the method of cooking. Done the old fashioned way, jerk is slow cooked over pimento sticks, with fumes from the stick adding the flavor. To be considered authentic in modern times, sauces must have certain ingredients, Jamaican grown pimento(all spice): a mixture of peppers, including scotch bonnet; and other seasonings grown in Jamaican soil. The Jamaican's insist, it must be grown in Jamaican soil, as it gives the pimento, scotch bonnet pepper and herbs their distinctive taste. That being said I am giving you a couple of recipes today as I sit over the Caribbean Ocean.
*On a side note, I have knowledge of this, as we partnered with a Jamaican a few years ago to grow Scotch bonnet peppers and limes, here in Jamaica. We actually were known for the best peppers on the island! Hurricane Charlie came and wiped out our lime trees and eventually, our business! But, it was great fun! Our business, "Pigs, Limes and Peppers".
Hot Hot jerk dip
3 tsp. jerk marinade (recipe follows)
1 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. ketchup
juice of a fresh lime
1/2 tsp fresh chopped coriander
salt and pepper to taste
Mix ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve with chips
6 whole hot red peppers, stems removed
3 large cloves of garlic
3/4 c. chopped chives or green onions
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/4 tsp. pimento (all spice)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 c. malt vinegar
3/4 c. soy sauce
1 1/4 T. salt
1 T. white or brown rum
Combine all ingredients in a blenderor food processor until liquified or whisk together, put in jar and refrigerate, then emulsify. Store in a jar in refrigerator.
*Use this marinade for meat, fish or poultry for three hours or overnight in refrigerator. Brush marinade on thickly. Then cook slowly over heat as the Jamaicans do, or bake in the oven.