Jerk Rubs: Wet and Dry

After our kitchen remodel, I committed the unforgivable sin of ignoring my grill this past winter. I was so enamoured of my dual fuel Wolf range that the five burner gas grill seemed to be a red-headed step-child.
Ah, but the weather in Kansas has been unseasonably warm and thoughts of flame and smoke dance around my head. The balancing act has begun.

Great intro, but to the point…

When it comes to grilling, I enjoy the widest range of styles and ethnicities. My grill has an insert for soaked wood chips as well as a rotisserie. Two additional options for flavor. I make three different kinds of bbq sauce. The one thing that captivated me was Jerk and the blending of sweet and hot and the atmosphere of the Caribbean. After all, I AM the Tikiman.

Years ago, I developed my own wet rub/marinade. I won’t belabor the differences; suffice it to say I determine what worked well for chicken (usually cut up fryers) or pork tenderloins.

2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 bunches of scallions
4 habaneros, chopped
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bay leaf, crumbled

Blend all in a food processor.

So, after that, you’re putting your chicken in a Ziploc bag or placing your pork tenderloin in a container and pouring the marinade over all. Let it sit for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Grill on medium heat.

I was quite satisfied with my efforts. But since that time, I have turned more and more toward dry rubs, creating my own blends and having on hand the kind of flavoring required for a desired grilled dinner. This is where I turned it into a challenge: creating a dry jerk rub.


1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 Tbs. cayenne pepper

As you can tell, the first three ingredients are the same as in the wet rub. But we use garlic powder in place of the cloves, lemon pepper as a substitute for the citrusy taste of the lime juice, and a heaping amount of cayenne to replace the habanero.

I have used this twice, one time to make Pan-Fried Jerk Chicken Bites and Pan-Fried Salmon. The flavor was definitely there. It is not Jerk in the traditional sense but the essence of it is in this rub. And since a rub can last a bit longer than a wet rub, this is a worthwhile alternative.


2 thoughts on “Jerk Rubs: Wet and Dry

  1. Think I would prefer the second.


    1. Well, you have the recipe. Give ’em a try and tell me what you think.


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