The basis for righteous jerk barbecue is great sauce. Sauce varies among the experts, recipes are coveted and shrouded in secrecy, yet basic flavors dominate. Chief among them, the pimento tree has given jerking its young green branches for patas (grill stands) and its berries (allspice) for seasoning. In this recipe, jerk sauce is pared down to its bare essentials. Many Jamaicans have different recipes, which include cinnamon or ginger or nutmeg or you name it. Build your own sauce to taste; this is not a science, it’s an art! How much fiery Scotch bonnet pepper to use is a controversy that rages among family and friends. Tested on both wimps and fire-eaters, this sauce challenges the former and leaves macho mouths clamoring, “Make it spicier next time.” For them, just splash in some hot pepper and line up the cold Red Stripes.
- 5 bunches whole scallions, finely chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Scotch bonnet peppers (any color), seeded and minced
- 2 large sprigs fresh thyme or 2 tablespoons dried
- ¼ cup ground allspice (dry pimento berries)
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ tablespoons salt
- 1 cup water
1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the water. Mix well and add water to form a loose paste.
Nutritional information is based on 32 servings.