Jamaican Jerk Marinade
This jerk marinade packs a nice punch of heat and spice all wrapped up in a flavor explosion.
Use it on grilled jerk chicken, or pretty much any protein.
If you love your heat, then this marinade is for you. Although I’d consider this to be about a low to medium, you’ll see how easily you can adjust the ingredients to pack more of a punch in it for those with a lead lined stomach.
Why I like to make my own marinades
The first reason is I know exactly what is going into them. Pre-packaged jar marinades and sauce are filled with additives and preservatives. When I make my own, I’m buying fresh ingredients or using spices from my pantry.
The second reason is flavor, using fresh ingredients any day of the week will always produce a more flavorful end result as you chop fresh herbs or grind fresh spices.
Thirdly, I have children and by making my own marinade, I know exactly what I’m giving them at the end of the day.
How to make it and adjusting to your heat tolerance
I love making cooking easy. So the easiest way to make this marinade is by grabbing all the ingredients for this recipe, measuring them out and placing everything into a blender.
Pulse it on high until all the ingredients are mixed into a smooth consistency.
If you feel this is way too easy and you’d like to make it seem more technical, try pouring yourself a drink while the blender is going.
If you want to see this marinade in action check out our “Jerk Chicken” recipe.
You can scroll to the bottom of this page to get the full list of ingredients or you can keep reading and find some useful tips and tricks that may just help you BBQ better.
This marinade is a great spicy addition to most proteins, Jamaicans tend to use Jerk seasonings and marinades on a range of meats, like pork, chicken, goat and even fish.
Here are a few other tips:
- The three recommended chilies are for a low to medium heat, so use that as your heat base and adjust to your tolerance. Just remember to wear gloves when handling chilies, the last thing you want is to rub your eyes or worse afterwards.
- This rub is perfect for chicken, if you wish to use it on pork, I like to substitute the orange juice for pineapple juice and add an extra 2 tbsp of dark sugar to the mix.
- If you are using this on goat or even lamb, I suggest using more garlic and salt, these game meats tend to lend well to a bit more garlic and salt, I’d start with an extra two cloves of garlic and adjust the salt to taste.
Using the marinade
I cannot recommend it enough to make this marinade up a day or two before you need it. The longer the ingredients have to sit and blend together, the more intense and complex the flavor is.
To help the marinade penetrate the meat better, I suggest using a jaccard to pierce small holes all over the meat. This is also referred to as jerking the meat and it just breaks the surface and allows the flavor to get in deeper. This will ensure every bite will be as flavor packed as the last.
Let the meat marinade for at least 12 hours, I really prefer a 24 hour marinade as you really get the full force of the heat and spices then. Although if using this on fish, I’m inclined to leave it no longer than 4 hours, due the fact fish tends to have a subtle flavor profile
When you are ready to grill, take the meat out of the fridge and remove from the marinade to allow it to get to room temperature, save the leftover marinade as a basting option for the meat while charring it over direct high heat source at the end of the cook.
Use a silicon marinating brush, you won’t get any loose bristles coming off and sticking to your meat and they tend to hold a larger quantity of source then the standard paint brush style brushes.
Jamaican jerk marinade
- 6 scallions spring onions, chopped
- 2 shallots peeled and chopped
- 3 tbsp parsley chopped
- 2” piece ginger peeled and chopped
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 3 red cayenne chillies chopped
- 2 tbsp allspice
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- ½ tbsp black pepper freshly ground
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 lime juice only
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup orange juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- Mix all ingredients in a blender until you have a smooth texture.
- Cover the meat thoroughly and refrigerate for at least 12 hours (no more than 4 for fish).
- Save the leftover over marinade for basting the meat while finishing off with a char.