How To Cook With Jerk Seasoning

How To Cook With Jerk Seasoning


Those in the know are big fans of jerk seasoning as a way to add flavour to food. A winner on chicken and pork, this tasty spice mix will transport you to the Caribbean in an instant. Here, three chefs share their top tips and recipes with SLMan…

Matin Miah: Rudie’s Jerk Shack, BOXPARK Shoreditch


Jerk is quintessentially Jamaican BBQ cooking. It’s a traditionally favoured way to grill pork or wild boar, although these days chicken is the most popular choice. But you can pretty much jerk most meat (lamb is sweet), poultry and seafood. Jerk lobster is amazing.

The secret to jerk is the lengthy brining, marinating and charcoal-cooking processes. Our secret jerk marinade has over 20 ingredients, but the key ones are: spicy scotch bonnet peppers, pimento (or allspice), spring onion, garlic, lime juice and brown sugar. For an authentic flavour and aroma, always slow-cook over good-quality charcoal.

When it comes to serving jerk dishes, in the best ‘jerk centres’ in Jamaica it’s simply chopped up using a large cleaver and served on foil. Rudie’s ‘Jerk-It-Up’ box is the most popular item on the menu and comes with the option of jerk chicken or pork, a choice of sides, amazing jerk marinade and one of our homemade sauces, which range from mind-blowingly spicy to sweeter flavours.

For the ultimate island experience try the classic combo of jerk chicken, rice and peas, jerk gravy and Nuff Scotch hot sauce. Wash it all down with a Wray & Nephew Appleton rum punch, and play some Soca beats in the background for an instant carnival atmosphere.


Rudie’s Jerk Chicken


  • 1 free-range chicken

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 3 spring onion stalks

  • ½ scotch bonnet pepper (preferably Jamaican yellow variety)

  • ½ tsp of fresh thyme

  • 2 bay leaves

  • ½ tsp of freshly grounded pimento or allspice

  • ¼ tsp of grated nutmeg

  • ½ tsp of sea salt

  • ¼ tsp of freshly ground black pepper

  • 100g of brown sugar

  • 1 tsp of vegetable oil 

  1. Blend all the ingredients for the jerk marinade together in a blender or food processor.

  2. Cut the chicken lengthways through breastbone and spatchcock. Put three slices in each breast and thigh. Rub the jerk marinade all over the chicken, ensuring it gets into all nooks and crannies. Clingfilm tight and leave the chicken for at least 24 hours (preferably 48) in the fridge.

  3. When you’re ready to serve, light the charcoal in the BBQ (or preferably the jerk drum). Be patient in lighting and getting the charcoal to the right temperature (no flames, just simmering white coal) before starting to grill. Cook the chicken on slow indirect heat for 60 minutes by placing the charcoal on one side of the grill and chicken on the other. Finish off by lightly colouring the skin over direct heat for 15 minutes. 

  4. Optional: throw in a handful of soaked woodchips onto the coal to get the real smoky flavour; and cover the chicken with a few bay leaves for added aroma.

  5. Chop the chicken into 2in pieces using a large cleaver before tucking in.


Jerk Wings & Watermelon: James Cochran, 1251 & Around The Cluck


Wings are my all-time favourite finger food. They’re designed to be messy and they’re the perfect shape to ensure peak crispiness in every crack and crevice, while being the ideal vessel to load up with delicious marinades and sauce of the jerk spice. This twist on my classic buttermilk wings incorporates the jerk spice while the feta and watermelon cool the heat and smoke. You can also make these on the BBQ rather than fry.


  • 300g of chicken wings
  • 150g of buttermilk
  • 9g of salt
  • 18g of jerk spice
  • 200g of plain flour
  • 2l of flavourless oil such as sunflower or vegetable oil (for the deep fat fryer or heavy-based pan for frying)
  • 200g of watermelon
  • 50g of vinegar
  • 100g of feta cheese 
  1. Mix the spices and salt into the buttermilk before pouring over the chicken wings. Leave for 24 hours minimum, covered with clingfilm in the fridge or in Tupperware. The longer you leave the chicken in the buttermilk the better, as the acid tenderises the chicken – for perfect wings that are crispy on the outside, and delicious and juicy inside.
  2. When you’re ready to prepare, set the deep fat fryer to 180ºC or heat up oil in a heavy-based saucepan until bubbles form around a skewer when you test it.
  3. Coat each wing in plain flour and deep fry for 6 minutes until golden.
  4. Dice the watermelon into chunks.
  5. In a pan, bring the white wine vinegar to the boil then pour over the watermelon to quickly pickle.
  6. Pile the wings high on a platter, before dressing with the pickled watermelon salad. Crumble the feta over the top and then the chopped mint.



If you’re veggie or vegan…


Tofoo: Jerk Smoked Tofu With Pineapple Salsa & Coconut Rice


  • 1 pack of Smoked Tofoo
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tsp of jerk seasoning
  • 120g of uncooked basmati rice
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 200g of fresh pineapple
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 lime’s zest and juice
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves
  1. Place the rice in a saucepan, and add the coconut milk and 50ml of cold water.
  2. Put the pan on the heat and bring to the boil, stirring every now and then so that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  3. Once the rice is boiling, cover and reduce the heat to the lowest setting and steam for 15 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated and the rice is cooked through.
  4. To make the salsa, finely chop the pineapple, red pepper, mint and spring onions, then mix together with the zest and juice of the lime.
  5. Cut the tofu into 6 slices then sprinkle with the jerk seasoning and rub in.
  6. Heat a frying pan and add the olive oil. Fry the tofu slices in the pan for a couple of minutes on each side.
  7. Serve the jerk tofu with the pineapple salsa and coconut rice.



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