I’m a bit of a pepperhead. I blame my lifelong sinus conditions and resulting poor senses of taste and smell for my need for extreme taste stimulation, but there is no question that I prefer spicy food to subtle tastes (though I’m capable of liking those, too).
If you’re like me, and you like a taste that smacks you upside the head and is capable of penetrating the foggiest senses of taste, I have just the product for you–Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. I’m not the kind of food snob that insists on making every spice and marinade and sauce myself. When you can find a really good store bought sauce that gives you all the taste and a fraction of the work, I’m all over it! Walkerswood’ Jamaican Jerk Seasoning used to be plentifully available at some big market grocery stores, as well as places like World Market and BevMo (my second favorite toy store), but this past summer I was suddenly unable to find it on the shelves at any of my normal haunts, and was forced to order it online through Amazon.com.
If you’ve not had jerk seasoning on chicken or pork before, I’ll pretend not to judge, but really, what the hell is wrong with you? Native (or at least most associated with) to Jamaica, the Walkerswood version consists of scallions, scotch bonnet peppers, salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, citric acid, sugar and thyme, and will rock your spice-deprived world!
It really isn’t for everyone, as I have actually injured a friend or two over the years on camping trips when I foolishly assumed everyone’s tastebuds were as mutated and impervious to pain as mine. But if you like a little kick in your food, I cannot recommend it more highly. It is quite different in taste than your standard bbq sauces or marinades, and don’t even get me started on the weak-ass “jerk” marinades from Lawry’s or World Harbor.
This stuff is legit, as described here.
I’ve only used it on chicken and mixed in to ground beef for really awesome hamburgers, but I can imagine it works like magic on pork loin or grilled pork chops as well. I have most successfully used it on chicken drumsticks, by putting a tablespoon or two into a zip-lock bag with 3-6 drumsticks and then rubbing it so that it is evenly distributed on the chicken. The bottle recommends applying the rub the night before you cook the chicken, but I’ve successfully done it the morning before as well. Because it doesn’t have the sugar found in standard bbq sauces or teriyaki marinades, it can be grilled over hotter coals (or gas) for longer than the other standard chicken flavorings without caramelizing or “burning” the chicken.
Cook for 20 minutes or so on the grill, rotating it so that no side is overdone or underdone, and you will end up with a chicken that spice afficionados like me (and you, if you’re man enough) will love! I’ve paired it with grilled pineapple and coconut rice (recipe to come some day) and/or black beans with great success. A pina-colada (I like to use Kern’s Pineapple-Coconut Nectar with white rum) washes it down quite nicely!
One note of warning: I’ve almost always done it with chicken drumsticks. I think I’ve done it with chicken thighs, and I’m certain it would work with standard chicken breasts as well. But the one time I did it with thin, easy-to-cook boneless and skinless chicken thighs (picture below from a camping trip to Anza-Borrego), I nearly killed my spice-tolerant wife with it. After some CSI-level investigation, I realized it was because while a drumstick, or even most standard breasts, are set up so you only get one surface of the chicken covered with the paste/sauce/marinade per bite, when you use a boneless thigh or breast, each bite contains twice as much jerk seasoning and spice, which can be a bit overwhelming for all but the most heat-tolerant pepperheads.
I suppose if you want the taste without the heat, you can moderate the fire by decreasing the amount of jerk paste you use, but I love a decent coating of the Walkerswood, and if you like spicy salsa or bbq or curry, but are looking for something different, I’m quite certain that you will, too. I’m hoping if enough of us start asking for it at our local grocery stores, we can all start finding it easily again, but in the meantime, thank God for Amazon and the interwebs!
- 8 skinless chicken drumsticks
- Walkerswood Traditional Jerk Seasoning
- Put drumsticks in a ziplock.
- Add 2 Tbsp (3Tbs for big drumsticks) — enough for a light coating on each drumstick
- Mush it all around, to get an even layer without big chunks.
- Marinade overnight.
- Grill on medium high, rotating when browned, until cooked through and juices run clear.