We love jerk everything in our house. I tried a couple of home recipes (starting with everything authentic including grinding my own spices...I looked everywhere for pimento wood to cook it over, but failed in that quest...not easy to get in Canada as it turns out!).
No matter what I did I could not get anything better than a mix of Busha Browne and Walkers Wood. Even in Jamaica we could find none better (although nothing beats the taste from the road side stands). We bought quite a few different rubs and sauces while there and I ran a few experiments using about ten different spices, rubs and sauces and in different amounts. I have found the perfect mix (for our family comes from Busha and Walkers almost exactly 50/50 with a tablespoon or so of olive oil (depending on how much meat you are marinating). With a bit of Aunt May's hot sauce on the table (the BEST table sauce in the universe IMHO), it is a real taste of Jamaica.
We have a local jerk stand run by a Jamaican lady and I asked her what she used (expecting some family secret to be behind it all). She laughed and said she mixed these two prepared sauces and it worked like a charm. I stopped trying to better the experts and as much as I love from scratch cooking, the net result, my entire family of jerk lovers assures me is not markedly better than the stuff in the jars.
It seems that a really good Jerk in a Jar sauce is one of the few things that's practically impossible to make better at home.
Even the Jamaican lady in the cafe at work uses a jarred sauce. She does make her own from time to time but finds that the amount of work required isn't worth a slight improvement. Except for special occasions.
She uses Wonderchuck. She also adds some fresh time to it.
I love the homemade version I was taught. I toast my spices and grind them fresh, and I think it makes a huge difference.
I think we usually use about a bunch of green onions, some nutmeg, allspice, black pepper, maybe some clove, a handful of fresh thyme, a habanero or two, a handful of brown sugar, a cup of soy sauce. Blitz it all in the blender. I let chicken marinate overnight, pat dry, and then grill. You can smell it a block away.
definitely walkerswood!!! i can't find it in any stores anymore and usually order a bunch on amazon. i like the one in the pear shaped jar with yellow top. also - be sure to marinade overnight. it's outstanding. i add a little lemon juice, soy sauce, and tabasco to kick it up - but other than that, i think it's better than homemade.
I prefer my own concoction...
Jamaican Jerk Rub:
6 TBS: Onion Powder
6 TBS: Onion Flakes
2 TBS: Allspice
2 TBS: Ground Black Pepper
2 TBS: Cayenne
2 TBS: Sugar
4-1/2 TSP: Dried Thyme
4-1/2 TSP: Ground Cinnamon
1-1/2: Ground Nutmeg
1/4 TSP: Ground Habanero Chile
I use this often as a pork rub or as a general seasoning.