Photo Courtesy Ripe

Summer is all about recipes that cool you off, except when it comes to jerk. The spicy dish that is the gem of Jamaican cuisine is a favorite for the season of outdoor grilling. But as much as we like to eat it, we usually leave jerk to the professionals. That’s exactly why we went to a professional for a few tips on tackling Jamaican jerk.

Nigel Spence is the owner of RIPE Kitchen & Bar, situated right on the border of The Bronx and Mount Vernon since 2003 and boasting loyal customers from both sides. Spence has been featured in countless media outlets like Throwdown with Bobby FlayThe New York Times and the Today Show for his original Caribbean recipes. So we asked him to share his famous Jerk Rub recipe, along with these basic starting points for beginners.


ripe outside


The Protein

In general, various cuts of different meats can be used for jerk but try to avoid
chicken breasts because they end up becoming too dry on the grill

The Tool

Avoid compressed charcoal because it leaves a chemical trace/taste on whatever you are grilling. Hardwood charcoal is clean burning and is a better all around choice

The Prep

When marinating meat for jerk, overnight ( 24 hrs) is preferable but if pressed for
time marinate meat for a minimum of two hours


If you want the flavor of Scotch Bonnet or Habanero without the heat, use Ajicito
peppers as a substitute. They’re found in abundance at most Latin markets

The Paring

Beer is good alongside jerk (best on chicken) and wines such as Rieslings
and Gewurtztraminers elevate the true flavor of Jamaican jerk

In terms of accompaniments, cold salsas complement the flavor of jerk well


Check out chef Spence’s jerk rub recipe below!



ripe rub_jerk recipe


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