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.


BBQ Sauce

It’s summer and from a cooking standpoint that means one thing to me: grilling.  This is my recipe for BBQ sauce which is called “BBQ 3” (based on the number of attempts I made to get it right.)

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  “BBQ sauce?  A recipe?  Like, I’ve got to make it myself?  I can BUY a bottle for 88 cents.”  And my response is that an 88 cent bottle of bbq sauce that everyone else is buying will make your food taste like…everynoe else.  Don’t fire up the grill to pretend to be macho.  Grill because it is truly a culinary art form.

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 small can tomato sauce

1 small can tomato paste

2 capfuls of liquid smoke

¼ cup cider vinegar

¼ tsp Tabasco

1 Tbs. brown sugar

2 Tbs. Worcestershire

Sauté the garlic in a non-stick saucepan without oil for approximately 10 to 15 seconds.  Add the tomato sauce and the tomato paste until well blended.  Add each ingredient one at a time and stir until well blended.  Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

There is a variety of flavor here to accommodate meats, chicken, and pork dishes.  It is closer to a more traditional Kansas City style with the vinegar and brown sugar.  You can substitute garlic flavored tomato sauce and garlic flavored tomato paste.  But the real thing is much more fragrant.

The preservative factor comes from the canned tomato products.  Beyond that this will store well in a glass jar in the refrigerator for about two weeks.