I didn’t realize until high school that not everyone put Pickapeppa in their tuna salad. That actually, no one knew what Pickapeppa was. Not until I went to university and met some girls that also had Caribbean families. We shared my tin of guava jelly, and talked about the best place to get Jamaican food in Ottawa. In 1995, the answer was nowhere!
Vancouver has never been a hotbed of Caribbean food, and finding the ingredients to make a good jerk marinade is difficult. When Grace contacted me about trying their bottled jerk sauce and marinade, I jumped at the chance.
Grace is a Jamaican company, I remember drinking their sticky sweet pineapple soda when we’d go to the island to visit family. Everyone in the car would peer out the windows when we drove by the factory, looking at the squat building where so many of our sauces and drinks were made.
And I am pleased to say, their bottled jerk sauce is very, very good indeed. So if you need some barbecue ideas, grab bottles of Grace jerk marinade and sauce, you won’t be unhappy. Until I can track down my father’s recipe for jerk, I’ll be using this.
Some quick tips I’ve learned the hard way, and some slavish reading of Cooks Illustrated:
- Brine your meat before you marinate for the best texture and moisture, it only takes 20 minutes and can make the difference between moist meat and cardboard
- Wipe most of the marinade off before you put it on the grill, that way you don’t get burned bits everywhere, and minimize flare-ups
- Dump your cooked meat into some sauce right after it comes off the grill
Oftentimes jerk equates the hottest spices. That shouldn’t really be the case. In Jamaica, your jerk chicken or pork comes quite dry, and you add sauce to it yourself. Yes it’s a bit spicy, but it should be very flavourful, with definite hits of thyme and allspice. If you’re still worried, serve it with a fruity salsa, or to be fully authentic, the deep-fried dumpling called festival, and rice and peas.