Escape to the Caribbean with this grilled jerk shrimp and coconut rice recipe!
This post is sponsored by Grace Foods.
As much as I love jerk chicken, it’s not always practical for a weeknight meal. The meat needs to marinate for a while to really take on those bold flavours, and to be honest I’m not the greatest at planning my meals in advance. Luckily, these grilled jerk shrimp only need to marinate for about 30 minutes, and they’re super easy to cook too. These turned out so tasty that I was eating them piping hot off the grill!
What is Jerk?
The word 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.
“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.
Whatever the reason, all I know for sure is that this grilled jerk shrimp recipe is a winner.
When I was creating this recipe, 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 grilled jerk shrimp tasted. 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 with Coconut Rice
For the Jerk Shrimp:
To Make the Grilled Shrimp:
- Add shrimp to a bowl with 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.
- 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.
To Make the Coconut Rice:
- In a pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the rice to the pot, and stir to coat grains with oil. Toast for about 3 minutes.
- Add thyme, salt, sugar, coconut cream and water. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil
- Place lid on the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 8-10 minutes.
- Fluff cooked rice with a fork and serve warm
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This post is sponsored by Grace Foods.
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