I visited at one of the south’s most authentic jerk festivals to try to get some tricks on spices that will unlock authentic Jamaican Jerk flavor. I learned some basics:
Most often you’ll get leg quarters… With the skin scored… Jerk spice rub is typically a fiery blend of allspice, Scotch bonnet peppers and sometimes scallion, thyme, ginger, even rum. The folks i talked to in the video were big into escovitch (pickled vegetables).
The habanero is the standard scotch bonnet substitute- they are different, but the same species. When ripe, the Scotch bonnet looks sort of like a little squashed reddish orange paper lantern.
After some research (tasty research) I adapted this rub and here’s how to make it at home…
Good news is the leg quarters are really affordable.. Start with that. I used half Chickens here but the breast is less forgiving than the dark meat – that’s why competition BBQ teams use thighs exclusively… I also used the remaining sauce in the small blender after coating chicken and added 4 tablespoons of cane syrup and 4 tablespoons of texas peat plus another habanero and blended to create a VERY hot but wonderful hot sauce. Great flavor.