There's more to the flavor of real jerk chicken than chile heat, Duppie explained in a recent Chowhound discussion. While the heat of Scotch bonnet chiles should always be up front, the dish should also have a sweet-smoky finish, with noticeable allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. It should also have plenty of salt.
Chowhounds agree there's no shame in using a good premade paste, like Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning. After eating lots of jerk chicken in Jamaica, splatgirl says the "best and most authentic" version she's made at home contained Walkerswood. Be sure to rub the paste under the chicken's skin as well as on the exterior, gordeaux says. Walkerswood also makes a liquid jerk marinade, which is what mcf prefers.
A couple of hounds also recommend making dry rubs based on traditional jerk flavors. Cheez62 makes this one in large batches to keep on hand "for when the mood strikes." And alkapal finds this Steven Raichlen recipe "very tasty."
Discuss: Am I a Jerk Chicken Jerk?
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