The Perfect Jamaican Jerk Recipe

By Nigel Spence
CJ Contributor

Well my friends, as a Jamaican, I have to say how very proud I am of the strides we have made to put our little Island on the map and spreading to all corners of the earth. So much so, we have now ranked third in the world, as the “coolest” people.

We have received high recognition for our reggae music, thanks to the pioneers like Millie Small, Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff. We sealed the deal with the fastest man on the planet – Usain Bolt – and the rest of the lightning Sports crew.

Our tourist industry has opened the eyes of many a visitor to our unique and fascinating people.

Now, our culinary artistry in blending select herbs and spices to create the most sumptuous dishes, has gained notoriety the world over.

In fact, the entire Caribbean as a whole is being favored in a fresh new light – brightened by the explosion of exquisite flavor, tantalizing the taste buds of those consuming our spicy offerings.

Overcome by a rush of pride, I felt my creative, culinary juices pumping with rejuvenation — or it could have been the old J Wray and his Nephew talking — not entirely sure.

Independence celebrations in Jamaica had just passed and I was curious to find out what grand affairs had taken place there or if any special food events had been hosted.

So I began scanning through snippets of headlines and news articles. I was really searching for that bright spark that would inspire my next culinary creation. However, what I came across instead, had not only my juices flowing, but my eyes-a-runnin’, my sides-a-stitchin’ and my belly-a-rollin.’

It seems my fellow readers, we have a Jamaican woman who has made her way into the local market selling fake “butts” through her Blackberry Messenger!

The report stated that she was “exposed” on a popular television program that highlights scams, before hitting her mark with the local clientele in Jamaica -(not sure yet how to define “exposed” — lol).

And there you have it folks. The bottom line (no pun intended). Another proud Jamaican making her mark – no “ifs”, “ands” or “butts”…

As amusing as I found this piece, I have to give credit where credit is due.

The woman may not have inspired me to seek out her services but she surely inspired my next culinary masterpiece. I assure you, this recipe will need no defending. What I cannot assure is that after preparation, women won’t use it to “entice a next man”.

Presenting my “BIG ASS JERK STEAK”

4 each 1 inch thick, 18oz Rib-Eye Steaks
4 Tablespoons Jerk Rub
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Vegetable Oil
Charcoal or Gas Grill
2 Sheets of Aluminum Foil (wide enough to hold 2 steaks each)
Long Tongs

Season one side of each steak with 1 tablespoon of the jerk rub. Season the other side liberally with kosher salt and cracked black pepper only. Allow to marinate for at least an hour and up to 72 hours in the fridge. Remove from fridge and let the steak rest for 20 minutes at room temperature to take the chill of the meat. Place the steaks rub side down on the hot side of the grill and let it sear for 6-8 minutes depending on the heat of the grill and form a crust on the meat. In the meantime , rub vegetable oil on the 2 foil sheets and place on the cool zone of the grill. After the first side of steak is done searing, use the tongs to flip it over onto the foil setup. Repeat for all steaks. Cover the grill and allow steaks to cook till your desired doneness, anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the steak and the residual heat of the grill. Remove and cover with more aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes for the juices to re-distribute.

Ingredients for Jerk Rub:

1tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cinnamon
¼ cup ginger root, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
¼ Cup Black Pepper
½ C Kosher salt
¾ Cup freshly ground Allspice
¾ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 whole Scotch Bonnet pepper
8 whole Garlic cloves
¾ Cup chopped Scallions (green onions)

METHOD: Put Scotch bonnet pepper, garlic cloves, thyme and scallions in food processor and pulse until it forms a paste. Then add the remaining ingredients except for the vegetable oil and blend. Slowly stream Oil into the processor until all is incorporated. You may adjust the amount of Oil
used depending on how dry or wet you prefer the rub to be. I like it be the consistency of chutney.

Nigel Spence, a Culinary Institute of America alumnus, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Nigel freelanced at the Television Food Network for three years where he worked with culinary luminaries such as Mario Batali, Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse. Chef Spence has appeared twice on Throwdown with Bobby Flay where he emerged the victor in cookoffs against the Food Network star and was featured on CBS when he appeared on Tony’s Table as well as ABC’s Neighborhood Eats, NBC’s The Today Show, Sirius’ Everyday Living with Martha Stewart and TVFN’s Chopped. The acclaimed and New York Times-reviewed Ripe Kitchen and Bar is Mr Spence’s first entrepreneurial endeavour.