Jerk Seasoning Rub

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Recipe by Damien Shillingford

Owner of ICho (It’s Hot!) Jerk Grill, Massacre, Dominica

There are numerous of variations on this classic seasoning rub that originated in Jamaica.

Everyone will agree, though, that pungent allspice, essential garlic, sweet thyme, and super hot Scotch Bonnet peppers are the absolute must-haves for a good jerk paste rub. You can easily make jerked foods at home with a good recipe and an understanding of the requisite ingredients needed for the stimulating flavour. This Jerk seasoning recipe has been adapted with the optional use of one of Dominica’s most famous versatile herbs – The Bay Leaf, which adds an even more irresistible aroma. There are no hard and fast rules to the quantities so experiment and adjust the ingredients “a peu pa” (little by little), to suit your taste…


Garlic cloves, crushed
Scallions/chives, chopped
Fresh thyme leaves
Scotch Bonnet or
Bonda Ma Jacque peppers
Fresh ginger, grated
Distilled white vinegar
Vegetable oil
Allspice (pimento berries),
finely ground
Freshly grated nutmeg
Cinnamon bark, finely ground
Bay leaves, crushed, (optional extra)
Salt to taste



Traditionalists grind their spices by hand using a mortar and pestle. The whole spices tend to retain more aromatic oils in them and therefore more of a natural pungency. But you can use a food processor to pulse ingredients into a thick, chunky paste. Place the paste into sterile jars and this will last several weeks refrigerated. Be warned, you’ll only need to use a couple spoons of seasoning per 2lbs of meat or fish. Season well, and refrigerate overnight or up to 24hrs before grilling on a hot coal bbq.


Scotch-bonnet peppers for Jerk Seasoning Rub

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