Monday, February 9, 2009

Peppers to Jerk

The final concoction - Jamaican Jerk rub
It's truly slumber-time right now - the weather is generally cold, and like every year, I'm using the time from about Feb 1 to April 15 (most futile time of the year for fishing, hunting, surfing, and kayaking) to get my life in order, be a good husband, and tie up old projects that just won't die. Old projects like using my dried scotch bonnet peppers ('member those manure-raised organic beauties?) from 2008 in one of my favorite seasonings, Jamaican Jerk.
Jerk is great because, beyond being a wonderful seasoning, it evokes so many great memories from my life. From beachside blackened shrimp in Virginia to the Oistins Fish Fry in Barbados. Good, warm, happy times. Which makes this a perfect project for February.

Jerk's primary ingredients: scotch bonnet peppers, brown sugar, and allspice.
I used a common recipe from the Interwebs and changed it to fit my style a bit. It's posted below. While my skills pretty clearly dwarf those of your hosts at Hunt, Eat, Live! and Hunter, Angler, Garden, Cook, I cooked "professionally" at several restaurants from age 15 to 22, so I at least know my way around a kitchen.
Some notes: use care when handling habaneros and scotch bonnets. Do not use fresh peppers - dry them or lightly roast. Remove the white filament or placenta, and "most" of the seeds, even if you love spicy foods. The skin and a few leftover seeds will give you plenty of heat, especially after your Jerk has sat around and marinated for a few days. When the skins are dried, crush them however you like, but be aware that you will be creating pepper dust. If you don't believe me, try it. You'll see. Crush the skins in a well-ventilated area, let's just say it that way!

Pepper crushing from skins to flakes....there was no way I was going to use my coffee grinder for this.
Recipe: Swamp Thing's Jamaican Jerk (2 lbs - large batch!)
1.5 cups allspice (ground)
1.5 cups brown sugar (packed)
18 scotch bonnet peppers

8 ounces orange juice with pulp
12 garlic cloves
6 bunches scallions or 2 tbs onion powder (easier - green onions grind poorly)
3 tbs ground thyme
1.5 tbs white pepper
1 tbs sea salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp nutmeg
2 bay leaves

Mix it all together and go nuts. Do not over apply to your meats! This is not a "canning" mixture so it has about a 3 week lifespan in the fridge and a 1 year lifespan in the freezer.

When I catch my first rockfish of the already know how it will be cooked!


Rabid Outdoorsman said...

That looks delicious . . . I had to laugh at you comment about being careful when handling peppers. Years ago while making some spicy chili I inadvertently rubbed a pepper covered hand in my eye . . . it might just as well have been hydrochloric acid!

tugboatdude said...

These restaurants you speak of,McDonalds being the finest.I don't remember the Jamaican Jerked McNuggets on the menu.How did I miss this?

Kirk Mantay said...

That's right big guy, pile it on.

I'd like to hear more culinary input from the guy who worked the fry station at Yorktown Bingo Bonanza.

Anonymous said...

I'm not big on the spicy, but that does sound good.

tugboatdude said...

Yeah so what if I got fired from Wendy's,went across the street to McDonald's and they wouldn't hire me,so what.Yorktown Bingo,hell son I worked the grill and the fryer and what!

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