It has been a very productive week at the spice shop here in sunny Chicago. We have been hard at work developing and implementing blends and rubs that take advantage of our delicious organic herbs and spices. We are proud to announce that we have added a most delectable Jamaican Jerk seasoning. This little blend packs a big punch but is balanced with a world of island flavors that are sure to make any dish delicious.
What is Jamaican Jerk seasoning all about? As with any regional specialty, Jerk seasoning has a history that goes far back into the culture of Jamaica. Most sources suggest that term “jerk” in this case comes from the Spanish, “Charqui”, which loosely translates to jerky. I’m personally curious how this also relates to the term Charcuterie, which is near and dear to my heart. Alas, this gets us a bit off topic. It seems the technique goes back to a time when the Arawak employed a techniques of slow cooking over wood to help preserve meats. A healthy dose of spices native to the Caribbean were also used to help as a preservative. This has evolved into a cooking method that implements both native and foreign spices and often uses grills converted from steal drums. Much like American style BBQ. Jerk Chicken is a term synonymous with street food that many consider to be the heart soul of cooking around the world.
What’s in the seasoning blend? One of the key ingredients is Allspice known in Jamaica as pimento. Pictured above is fresh allspice berries that look remarkably like grapes or maybe currants. In the Pinch blended Jamaican Jerk spice we used our organic herbs and spices to create this classic. The mix has brown sugar, sea salt, onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, bird’s eye chili, allspice, corriander, cinnamon, ginger, thyme, clove, and nutmeg combining for a flavor packed taste delight. As a cook who has made this blend at home many times, I can honestly attest to the fact that this is made 1000 times better through the use of high quality organic ingredients.
How about a quick recipe? With spices already blended this is a pretty simple technique to master. Jerk chicken, or another protein, can be cooked either on the grill or in an oven. All you need is some chicken, your jerk seasoning, a bit of vinegar, some oil, lime juice, orange juice and a touch of soy sauce. Oh, and some time and patience. Take your chicken and sprinkle a generous amount of the spice mixture over it. Rub the spice and chicken to insure that the chicken is evenly coated. Now add the liquid ingredients to coat. You want this to be a paste rather then a marinade. Let the rubbed chicken sit over night. Now the fun part, low and slow cooking. On the grill you will want to use an indirect cooking method to get the chicken to proper temperature and then a quick sear over direct heat. In the oven you will want to cook at 275 or so and then finish off under a broiler to char the chicken. You can serve with this with rice and beans, or a nice salad. Some people enjoy topping this with a spicy jerk sauce, while others just enjoy it as is. You may find it goes well with a smokey sweet bbq sauce. There you have it; delicious, fiery, Jamaican Jerk chicken. From our humble spice market in Bucktown to your kitchen.