This post is sponsored by Grace Foods.
It’s getting hot in here! Or least it was this past weekend, when I barbecued a bowlful of spicy jerk shrimp on my cute mini grill.
As a Caribbean woman, I’ve made (and eaten) jerk chicken several times, but I’ve never thought to add jerk seasoning to shrimp. These turned out so tasty that I was eating them piping hot off the grill!
What is jerk?
If you’re reading this and thinking “what the heck is she talking about?”, let me clear things up for you.
Jerk refers to a traditional Jamaican method of seasoning and cooking meat, seafood and veggies. Jerk foods are usually grilled or cooked in an oven.
A jerk seasoning paste, or sauce, usually contains an exotic blend of ingredients like scallions, onions, thyme, allspice, and super-hot Scotch bonnet peppers.
Ha! Scotch Bonnet.
“I was very disappointed when I found out that Scotch bonnet was a sort of pepper, and not a Celtic hat.”
Any Midsomer Murder fans out there? No? Moving on…
Why is it called jerk?
According to Grace Foods, there are two possible theories:
1st theory: It originates from the Peruvian word Charqui, used to describe jerked or dried meat. Over time this term evolved from Charqui to Jerky to Jerk.
2nd theory: The name derives from the practice of jerking (poking) holes in the meat to fill with spices prior to cooking.
When I was creating the recipe for my jerk shrimp, I wanted to add layers of flavours. In order to do this, I used two different kinds of Grace Foods jerk products: the Grace Jerk Marinade and the Grace Jerk BBQ Sauce.
The marinade is great for seafood because it contains both orange and lime juices. Usually, you would marinate meat in this product for about an hour. However, I didn’t want the acids from the fruit juices to start cooking my shrimp, so I only marinated them for about 30 minutes.
The marinade also contains brown sugar, hot peppers, onions, Dijon mustard and cocoa powder (and more!), all of which create a rich spicy flavour that is really delicious.
After I grilled the shrimp for a couple of minutes per side, I brushed on a thin layer of the Jerk BBQ sauce. It’s sweet and spicy, and has a strong clove flavour. I didn’t want to overwhelm the sweetness of the shrimp, but I thought the BBQ sauce would add another layer of jerk flavour – and it did! Just don’t be heavy-handed with it.
I was surprised at how mild the shrimp tasted once they were cooked. The sauces are really strong if you taste them straight out of the bottles (which most people wouldn’t do), but they mellow out in the cooking process. This is important to note, because I think a lot of people assume that jerk is always super hot and that’s not true. The Grace Foods line of jerk products have a variety of seasonings that range from mild to hot, so if you don’t like spicy food you can still enjoy the flavours of jerk.
I still wanted a side dish that would balance out all of the spices of the jerk, so I asked my mom to help me make coconut rice. I’ve never made it before myself, but I knew the sweetness of the coconut cream would be really tasty with the jerk shrimp.
Grilled Jerk Shrimp
- 680 g raw shrimp , tails on (21-25 per pound, which are large)
- 1/2 cup Grace Jerk Marinade
- 1/3 cup Grace Jerk BBQ Sauce
- salt and pepper , to taste
Add the shrimp to a bowl, and stir in the jerk marinade. Leave in fridge for about 30 minutes to marinate.
Meanwhile, clean and oil your grill. If you're using a full-size barbecue pit, you may want to use tin foil or a grill basket to cook your shrimp, so they don't fall into the pit.
After 30 minutes, remove shrimp from fridge.
Heat your grill to medium heat, and add the BBQ sauce to a small bowl. You'll need this to glaze the shrimp as they barbecue.
Shake off excess marinade from the shrimp as you remove them from the bowl.
Use tongs to place the shrimp on the grill, and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Then use a heat-proof silicone brush to apply the BBQ sauce to the shrimp.
Once the shrimp has become pink, and a bit curled, remove them from the heat.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve immediately with coconut rice, or side dish of your choice.
- 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice, washed and drained
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 14oz can coconut cream
- 2 1/2 cups hot water
- In a pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the rice to the pot, and stir to coat the grains with oil. Toast for about 3 minutes.
- Add the thyme, salt, sugar, coconut cream and water. Stir to combine.
- The mixture should come up to a boil within a few minutes. Then, add a lid to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 8-10 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.
How do you feel about jerk dishes? Do you love them, or avoid them because they might be too hot?
This post is sponsored by Grace Foods.
I have been compensated both monetarily and with product for this post.
Please note that I only work with brands that I use at home and trust.