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Ingredients:


1 bunch green onions (scallions)

1/3 cup cane or apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 Tbs. allspice

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ginger

about 1" of stick cinnamon, or 1/8 tsp. powdered

2 cloves to 1 whole head or more fresh garlic, as preferred

1 or 2 fresh habañero chile peppers

1Tbs. freshly ground black pepper

1 lime

1 tsp. brown sugar


Chop onions, chop or press garlic cloves. Juice lime. If fresh habañero is not available, a couple tablespoons or a little more of habañero-based hot sauce, or, at a stretch, at least three tablespoons of tabasco type hot sauce can be substituted. If using fresh chiles, seed all but one, to mitigate extremity of heat, then chop finely. Avoid contact, especially with eyes, until washing your hands well after handling hot peppers. Combine all ingredients and pour over meat to be marinated (usually chicken or pork ribs or small pork roast) in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Use remaining marinade as basting liquid for meat during grilling.

Jerk is used in both dry and wet forms. Dry rubs are ground spices rubbed into the meat immediately before it is placed on the grill or in the oven, much in the way that seasoned flour is rubbed into or patted onto a pork chop. Wet jerk is used as a marinade, in which the meat soaks up the spices before cooking.

The original purpose of the jerk marinade was to help preserve meat as well as giving it a unique spicy flavor. Any meat can be "jerked;" pork was the original jerked meat, in the form of wild pig, but nowadays jerked chicken and fish recipes are very popular.

As with any food that has a long history, there is no one jerk recipe. Everyone has their own take on how jerk should taste and what it should contain. Common ingredients include chilies, allspice, and salt; there are often dozens more herbs and spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon, thyme, garlic, pepper, lime, onions, scallions, and many more.

According to foodreference.com, "Its origins date back to the native Arawak Indians traditional method of using Jamaican pimento (what we call allspice) to season and smoke meat.... Combine this with hot chilies (originating in South America and the Caribbean) with pirates bringing in a variety of new spices from both the old and new worlds; add salt and escaped slaves with skills at slow roasting in pits, mix well and you have jerk."

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