We were looking for a kick-ass Jamaican jerk sauce recipe when a friend of the Cold, Hard Football Facts sent us a recipe from something called "The Sugar Reef Caribbean Cookbook."
We were impressed – but not at first.
The problem with most sauces that you use for cooking is that you really don't know how good (or bad) they are until after you cook with them. Typically, the cooking process changes the flavors of a sauce so that what you get at the end is different than what you had when you started out. It makes developing your own sauces rather difficult, because you then have to go out and cook with it. The trial-and-error process can become time-consuming.
This is one of those sauces that changes as you cook. It was just O.K. after we blended everything together. But it tasted truly great when we used it on some grilled chicken wings and breasts. The flavor really came out after the chicken was grilled up nice and crispy. The original recipe did not have salt, except that found in the soy sauce, one of this jerk recipe's liquids. We thought it needed a little more salt to help bring out the flavor, so we added a bit.
You'll probably want to make a double batch for your tailgate. Use half of it to marinate your chicken wings or breasts.
Take the other half, heat it to a boil and then simmer it for a while to reduce it down. You'll get a thick, chunky jerk sauce you can use for dipping or for coating your chicken while it cooks.
  • 1 habanero, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground sage
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • juice of 1 lime
Finely chop the habanero, green onions and yellow onion and set aside. (After handling the habanero, wash your hands well before touching sensitive parts of your body – or you will be sorry.) Mix the allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic powder and sugar in a large bowl. Mix the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice and lime juice in a separate bowl, and then whisk into the bowl of dry ingredients to blend well. Add the chopped habanero and onions and mix well. Use half the sauce to marinate chicken wings or breasts for at least an hour (you can also marinate shrimp, but for no longer than an hour). Boil the other half to reduce and use as a dipping sauce. Cook the chicken or shrimp over a hot grill. If you want some extra falvor, dabble sauce on the meat as it cooks.