Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Jerk

The Jerk
When I hear a mention of "The Jerk" I get visions of Steve Martin and his character Navin R. Johnson.
Waiter: Would monsieur care for another bottle of the Chateau Latour?

Steve: Ah yes - but no more 1966. Let's splurge! Bring us some fresh wine! The freshest you've got - this year! No more of this old stuff.

Waiter: Oui monsieur.

The other night I was watching the Food Network and Bobby Flay's "Throwdown" program. Truth be told I watch that program like most people watch "South Park" or the "Simpson's".
If you haven't seen it, the premise of "Throwndown" is that Bobby is given a Mission Impossible-like assignment at the beginning of the show. Every episode gives an outline of a specific food , cuisine or regional favorite. These items showcase a single person who is recognized as the "expert" in that category. From that, Bobby's challenge is to come up with a recipe to challenge the showcased favorite and at the end of the program the recipes are blind tasted by impartial judges to determine a favorite.
Bobby has taken on a couple of little old ladies who bake awesome pies, he has BBQ'd against a woman, had an ice cream challenge and this last week I saw him go up against a Jamaican born, CIA trained chef who was supposed to have the best Jerk seasoned Ribeye anywhere.
The bitch of these shows is that though they produce Bobby's recipes they don't include the recipes of the people he challenges. I could tell that the rub/marinade that Nigel Spence was noted for was a recipe I had to have.
Thank god for the "Internets". It took me about a minute to track down the recipe for both the Jerk and the sauce Nigel topped the steak with.

A big fat full credit goes to Nigel and his restaurant called "Ripe" for the recipe below.
Jerk Marinated Ribeye w/Chadon Beni Sauce, Grilled Ratatoullie & Garlic Toast


At the restaurant, we use the "Choice" Grade Cut.
Feel free to use "Select" or "Prime" for this recipe,
or any other cut from beef, pork or chicken. This Jerk Rub is very versatile.

1 16oz cut of boneless or bone-in Rib-Eye Steak.

Ingredients for Jerk Rub:

1tsp Nutmeg
2tsp White Pepper
¼ C Black Pepper
½ C Kosher salt
¾ C freshly ground Allspice
¾ C Brown Sugar
¾ C Orange Juice
1 whole Scotch Bonnet pepper
1 bunch Jamaican Thyme(about 10 stalks, picked from hard stems)
8 whole Garlic cloves
¾ C chopped Scallions (green onions)
2 cups whole Ajicito pepper (flavorful but not hot)


Put ajicito peppers, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic cloves, thyme and scallions in food processor and pulse until it forms a paste. Then add the remaining ingredients except for the orange juice and blend. Slowly stream OJ into the processor until all is incorporated. You may adjust the amount of Orange Juice used depending on how dry or wet you prefer the rub to be. We like it be the consisency of a chutney.

Smear paste over one side of steak and season the other side with salt and pepper. Marinate for 1 hour or up to 48 hours. Place steak on a hot grill and cook to just before desired doneness.

Allow steak to rest (off the heat) for 10 minutes after cooking to redistribute juices and the carry-over cooking will bring it to your desired doneness. Then bite into that baby and lose your marbles!

This Jerk Rub Recipe should make enough for at least 10 large Rib-Eye Steaks.

The Rub can be stored in a tightly covered container in the refridgerator for up to 2 weeks.


Ajicito peppers can be found in most Latin markets. It is also called "seasoning peppers" in Caribbean circles. It looks and smells just like a Scotch Bonnet pepper, but without the heat. It is used in the recipe to increase that scotch bonnet flavor, but can be substituted by adding a bit more green onions and scotch bonnet (if you can handle the additional heat). After letting this rub sit for a couple of days, the heat mellows out significantly anyway, so make a large batch by doubling or tripling the recipe. You won't be disappointed, and it lasts for weeks in the fridge.

Jamaican thyme is a little more "earthy" than the regular stuff found in grocery stores, but can readily be substituted with any thyme available.

Kitchen Secret: Add a 1/2 teaspoon of the Rub at the last minute, to any curry dish you are preparing, to send your "foodie" friends into a "Question & Answer" session at your table!

Chadon Beni Sauce

(As Seen on "Throwdown" with Bobby Flay)

Chadon Beni (also called Shadow Benny in Trinidad & Culantro in Latin markets)

has a broad, flat green leaf. Its a cousin of Cilantro

which can be used as a substitute in the recipe.

1 cup densely packed Chandon Beni leaves.

1 cup loosely packed fresh flat italian parsley leaves

1 cup lime juice (fresh squeezed if available)

1/2 fresh scotch bonnet pepper (or habanero)

1/4 cup chopped scallions

6 whole peeled garlic cloves

1 tablespoon salt

Put all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth-add a little extra lime juice if puree is too thick

Culantro is VERY similar to cilantro in flavor, just a bit more powerful. Cilantro is a great substitute.

The Jerk rub/marinade was EXTREMELY flavorful and even with only an hour of marinade time the flavors were jumping in my mouth. I used this rub a couple of days later and the heat had cooled enough that I thought you could almost double the Scotch Bonnet peppers (I like heat though and these peppers are like putting a lit match into your mouth). So, use your judgement, but do give this a whirl.
The Chadon Beni Sauce is well worth the effort too. It is a Chimichurri, but with a serious Island attitude.
Bridgeport Brewery Hop Czar-If you don't like hoppy beer, then leave this to us who do.
Typically I have wine with dinner but I knew that it was going to take something massive to battle the spice and heat of this meal. Since I live in Portland, Oregon (also know as "Munich on the Willamette") I decided to go with a local ale for my adult beverage match. Portland has more breweries per capita and possibly just by sheer number than any city in the USA. Tonights selection of a Bridgeport Brewer's Hop Czar Imperial India Pale Ale was just about right. The ale has big alcohol of around 8% and also about 100 IBU's (international bitterness units.....this mean HOPPY!!!) Hop Czar is a strong blend of Nugget, Chinook, Cascade and Centennial hops." If you are an avowed "Hophead" this is for you. Unfortunately this is pretty much a local phenomenen, so if you don't live in the Northwest ( it sucks to be you), then your chances of getting and drinking this ale is pretty slim.


Foodycat said...

Thanks for the sleuthing and tracking down that recipe! That looks amazing. And I think you are right - the beer is just the right thing.

Heather said...

I watch Throwdown, too. Bobby Flay is kind of douchebag for challenging people like that, but he never wins, so who cares.

That looks dee-lish. Good choice of beer, too.

I can't wait to come over next week! I think Linda (Scott's mom) has checked out your blog. She knew who you were from mine, anyway.

Foodycat said...

... I've got my rib eye, but I am using a bought jerk rub (couldn't get the bits to make my own). Now the weather needs to cooperate to make it bbqing weather!

Norm Schoen said...

Foodycat-Weather be damned, go for it.

Heather-Looking forward to having you guys over!
I like the Throwdown format, but I think Bobby's assistant's are worthless.
Props to Linda for boosting my readership...; )

Tom said...

Norm, you have such impeccable taste. And thanks for putting this on the internet. Simply put, it looks like one of the most delicious meat rubs I've ever seen in print!

Foodycat said...

I did it - in the oven, not the bbq and it was absolutely delicious! Next time I will make my own rub...

Norm Schoen said...

Foodycat-Glad to hear that your recipe turned out so well!
Tom-Thanks for the compliment, but the credit goes to Nigel Spence. I think you will enjoy this rub very much.

JAMCHEF said...

just researching all things pertaining to my restaurant for archiving, and came across this blog--thanks guys for using my Jerk Rub recipe, and hope it stays a keeper for you all, for years to come. It took me quite a few years to perfect thatr recipe!

Best Regards,
Nigel Spence
Chef/Owner, Ripe

Randall M. Hasson said...

Found this after seeing a re-run of Throwdown... Cooked this and really liked it (altho my wife got tears in her eyes from the spice!)thanks for posting you have some great stuff on your site!

Jamacook said...

Hey Folks...
this recipe is not complete. Nigel uses fresh ginger root and cinnamon sticks. Two extremely important ingredients. It’s not Jamaican without 'em.

Norm Schoen said...

Hi all,
I got this recipe off of the RIPE restaurant site after the Bobby Flay Throwdown. Nigel even sent a note saying enjoy-

JOANJEN79 said...

hey norm! i just moved to portland and can't find ajicitos! i neeeeed to make sofrito but everything i find is mexican caribbean...where did you find ajicitos?


thanks norm!

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