Photo Courtesy of Stu Spivack

Photo Courtesy of Stu Spivack

When I think about Jamaica – it evokes images in my mind of crystal clear waters, sandy shores, and an amazing and warm people.  This is the image that most of the tourists ever see.  However, if you venture into the island you will experience a fantastic food culture and a product that is unique.  Jamaican Jerk.

This is a very popular dish and it is representative of Jamaican cuisine, that is renowned for flavors and spice.  Of note the term Jerk refers to both the spice rub (or marinade) that is comprised of a distinct blend of herbs and spices and applied to meat, chicken, pork, fish and lamb.  It is also the particular style of cooking.

Jerk recipes do vary.  However they center around six key ingredients for true Jerk spices: all-spice, thyme, scallion, onion, garlic and the key scotch bonnet peppers.  No, this is not a subtle cuisine.  In this recipe, you can play with different hot peppers depending on your aversion to heat.  I would suggest you start on the lower end of the scale and work yourself up the scale, until you reach your perfect level.

Jamaican Jerk Marinade

Prep time 15 minutes


  • 1 Large onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup scallions (finely chopped)
  • 1 hot pepper (finely chopped)
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 Teaspoons thyme leaves (fresh)
  • 2 Teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon allspice (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
  • dash hot sauce


In this recipe, you control the level of heat by using different hot peppers.  You can get a list of them here: The Big List of Peppers

This recipe makes about 1 cup of marinade, and is good to 3-5 pounds of meat.


Step 1
In a blender, combine all ingredients until smooth for 30 seconds.
Step 2
This marinade will last in a air-tight container in the refrigerator for about one month.

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