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Grace's "Jerk Spice"

Hi all!

I've just gotten into Jamaican food lately (Jerk chicken!) and today while I was in Fortinos shopping, I noticed there was GRACE'S JERK SPICE priced at a whopping like $6.99 a small jar

Just wondering if anyone has ever used this before? As I said, this is a new thing for me (jerk) but I'm ALWAYS grilling chicken-on-the-bone with new marinades, and look forward to trying to duplicate what I get at good Jamaican take-out (and fresher!)


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  1. It's the real deal. Grace does an amazing selection of Caribbean products, and their soft drinks, especially the Ginger Beer, are great accompaniments. The spice is essentially a blend of green onions, thyme, allspice and scotch bonnet. The cooking method should be slow, indirect heat with some smoke after at least 24 hours.

    I think Island Foods also sells the spice, probably somewhat less in price.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Snarf

      Take yourself to an area that has lots of West Indian stores, most of what you see in the big supermarkets are cheaper but the BIG plus is the variety of what's available. I suggest Eglinton & Oakwood, Kensington, Vaughn & St. Clair West...If you see some 'sorrel chutney' (made by ' Walkerwoods'..it's fantastic...use it on sandwiches as well as Chicken and do tell me where you find it!!) I bring it home from Jamaica every year and give it as a little gift with some other Jamaican products. Try other brands as well as Grace...Lasco & Eve's come to mind but I think Walkerswood makes the best of the lot...Island Spices in packages should be the cheapest of all.

      1. re: pearlD

        The Walkerswood jerk seasoning (more of a paste) is really good and recommended by one of the Jamaican teachers at my school. She made jerk chicken with rice and peas for us and it was very good. Search around for the best pricing because I''ve seen it for under $5 at some locations and almost $9 at others.

      2. re: Snarf

        hey there

        thanks for the response.. you mention indirect heat -- usually what I do is crisp up the skin (on direct heat) and then move it to indirect heat to finish cooking. you don't advise this when using the jerk rub? also, how long should I let it marinate for? thanks for the advice!


        1. re: duckdown

          Presidents choice jerk marinade is awesome.

          1. re: Crispy skin

            I went looking for this, and found PC Memories of Montego Bay. I bought it , not expecting much, as I remembered all those sickly sweet Memories (Singapore, Thailand etc) from years past
            Was I surprised! No sugar base, more vinegar and salt, with lots of jerk spice and herbs, and just enough Scotch Bonnet. A true savory sauce and marinade, one of their best.

            To compare with Grace's Jerk Spice seasoning (the paste): Grace is pasty and intense, and has definite hot spots from Scotch Bonnet.

            P.C. Memories of Montego is more dilute, easier to work with, and has a more intense herbal fragrance, and less Scotch Bonnet, while still there
            Excellent choice, Crispy skin. Maybe it will bring Duckdown back into the fold.

            1. re: jayt90

              How did you find the vinegar/salt combination with the spice? Generally, I would have thought that would increase the effect, or do you think they reduced the spice?

              I agree with you, in that any way to introduce the flavour combination is a good thing.

              1. re: Snarf

                Snarf, the label says they use citric acid and concentrated lemon juice, so with the small amount of oil, it is a type of vinaigrette. The peppers are pimento, not Scotch Bonnet, and it is not labelled 'Hot' like Grace's paste.
                I used about half a bottle on 2 lb chicken wings, whereas the Grace would only need 3T before it got out of hand.
                As gg says, this is a good jerk flavor and scent, with moderate heat.

              2. re: jayt90

                Interesting post -- because I have seen this in the same shelf as the Grace version

                Maybe I will give this a shot tomorrow!

                thanks for the post! will report back

                1. re: jayt90

                  I've got about ten bottles of Memories of Montego Bay in my pantry. I love the stuff. I don't know how authentic it is, but I prefer its livelier character versus some of the "earthier" jamaican versions. A lot tangier, and good heat if you baste throughout, especially at the end. If you don't want the heat, baste less, as simple as that. A marinade for a few hours, a little basting and you're left with excellent flavour.

                  Jerk chicken wings with this stuff is the best. Cook indirect, finish direct, yum.

                  1. re: grandgourmand

                    That's exactly how I did wings last night, and they were great!

                  2. re: jayt90

                    I don't think it's the best but it's a good sauce. We used to get it before going for something from a Jamaican store.


            2. DD has me interested in jerk chicken too.
              I went looking for Walkerswood in Pickering today, didn't find it. The long established Nicey's has closed.

              I did get all of my spicy needs at Price Chopper. The two Grace bottles, jerk seasoning (dry) and jerk marinade were on special at $2.29 and $3.

              They had three other brands, "Cool Running", "British Best", and "Irie", as well as Mr Gouda's, and a good selection of canned peas and beans

              I'll be grilling a duck and a chicken after the marinade today. I even bought a rice and peas spice to help that along, but my gravy will be standard, not oxtail.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jayt90

                Highland Farms stocks Walkerswood.

                1. re: jayt90

                  Jay, try the large ethnic grocery store, T Phat, at the old Knob Hill Farms location on the north side of Kingston Rd., west of Brock Rd. I saw Walkerswood there yesterday.

                2. the one i was looking at wasn't dry, nor what i'd consider a regular marinade... it was like a paste.. maybe there are different kinds?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: duckdown

                    There are different kinds. From your description you have the paste. Grace also makes a marinade, a rub and even a jerk bbq sauce. It being concentrated, you won't want to use as much as you would as a marinade. I can think of no reason why you should cook your chicken any differently than you normally would. The paste should, though, give the skin a very nice finish with or without crisping.

                    Here's the weblink to their jerk products. You'll also find a recipe on their "shop" page. http://www.gracefoods.com/site/produc...

                    1. re: duckdown

                      DD, it is a paste, my mistake. I used the marinade on the two birds this afternoon, and I will crisp them over the coals in a few minutes, then slow cook with jerk seasoning paste until maybe 10 PM.

                      Dflip, I didn't think T Phat would have an upscale brand, so I'll definitely check it out next week for Walkerswood. Highland Farms didn't have it in their little store at Bennet and Lawrence.

                      1. re: jayt90

                        Jay, look towards the back of the store in either the first or second isle left of the vegetables. They actually have Chinese, Sri Lankan, Mexican, and other ethnic foods that are in jars, cans or frozen. I was quite surprised with what they do carry. The meat is typical of this type of store, not well aged and probably a second grade. In other words, don't buy their steaks, but frozen goat would be fine. The other good deal is three chicken carcasses for $1, which is great when you want to make stock.

                        The good thing about the place, they're open on statutory holidays.

                    2. Here is my duckling and hen , marinaded in Grace's jerk, and slow cooked over charcoal, with Grace's jerk seasoning, about 4 hours, with rice and peas. The duck is Brome Lake, frozen, from T&T.

                      The Grace marinade and jerk seasoning were superb, although there may be scotch bonnet hot spots.

                      The rice and peas were spiced with Cool Running, and that was too strong for me. Not nearly as subtle as the Grace.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: jayt90

                        damn, that looks good

                        i don't have a charcoal grill though... which probably adds alot of flavor

                        1. re: duckdown

                          I watched jerk chicken and pork being cooked at Markham and Lawrence today (Soon Lee parking lot), under a canopy. Who says you have to have the special City cart! Here they had three barrel charcoal grills, and a small bar fridge plus water from a 5 gallon container.
                          Chicken or pork was $5 or $10, with sides and gravy. They kept the lids down, and quite a bit of smoke came out of the chimneys, so I guess the cooking was fairly quick.
                          It looks like they will be there for the summer.

                          1. re: jayt90

                            Either this is part of a festival,
                            or the space nominally belongs to the store,
                            or they are illegal but not on the radar...

                            I haven't been to Jamaica in many years, but oil drums seemed to be a common Jerk cooking vessel when I was there. (PearlD?)

                            1. re: embee

                              I've regularly seen oil drums used for cooking In Ocho Rios in the Market on Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights, you see the guys cooking over regular looking BBQ grill setups on top of the drums...At one of our favourite places just outside of Ochi ( a place called White River Ranch.).the cook uses a huge
                              raised brick fire pit (like a fireplace set up but raised to waist level it's covered with a layer of galvanized metal (tin?) thing with slats cut into it., the fire is made with pimento wood which imparts its flavour through the grilling/smoking process. I also have seen a whole baby pig roasted in a buried pit, sometimes done for special celebrations...it tasted amazing (but I didn't love the idea, since my husband got to choose the pig for the party! I'd say "LOL"...but I wasn't laughing!....Also at that party, Roasted Fish, Goat and huge pieces of Jamaican Yam, the ever popular "Mannish Water" in abundance and the usual Red Stripe, Heineken and Overproof (White) Rum!

                              1. re: pearlD

                                ah good ol wray & neph, I avoid that stuff at all cost now.

                                Here's an article that I think a few of you would appreciate...oil drums are essential.


                                1. re: aser

                                  Thank you 'aser'...........
                                  That's a REALLY good article..the real 'ting' man!! It captures the essence of the whole process....
                                  p.s. ah 'overproof' rum...the 'spring breakers' downfall!!!

                          2. re: duckdown

                            Home Depot, at least the one near me, was marking down its Weber charcoal grills...they had a Weber Performer (24" surface, with a work area and a propane igniter) for $299, or $100 off. I think you can probably get the basic Weber grill for about a hundo.

                            1. re: grandgourmand

                              I used the basic Weber kettle for this jerk.
                              I'm used to it, and haven't put together my WSM yet.

                              1. re: jayt90

                                Haven't put together your WSM? What are you waiting for? I've been using it since February and am seriously hooked. I have to pace myself, actually, because too much smoked food isn't good for you.

                                However, I do want a Weber kettle. Grilling over coals is so much fun and so much better. Alas, my wife has drawn a line on how many grills or smokers are allowed in our yard.

                                As an aside...if ever you want to make your own jerk, something I'm dying to do, this blog had a good post (and nice pics):


                        2. I don't want to draw too much attention to these two jerk cooks, but the operation looked good to me. They had electric power. and all the basics. More than I would expect at Caribana.
                          The parking lot, on the northeast corner of Markham at Lawrence, is shared by at least a dozen stores (Shoppers, Soon Lee Asian, Home, Indian, Halal, and a free standing Pho and Bakers Dozen. The lot is rarely filled in the area of the two 'jerks'.
                          I didn't buy only because I was not hungry,
                          but I'll be back next time I get the urge for jerk.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: jayt90

                            No worries Jay, restaurant inspectors are part of the strike ;P

                            1. re: elrik

                              I'll be back to Markham and Lawrence on Thursday, camera in hand, and my patois interviewing skills practiced! It looks like this is a bonus from the ill-conceived strike.

                              1. re: jayt90

                                Nice! Let us know how it goes. I live in the general area and will definitely make the drive if its good stuff.

                                1. re: jayt90

                                  Here is the jerk pork ($5, no tax) at Markham and Lawrence.

                                  This a hamburger clamshell, but it was filling despite no sides of rice, beans, or slaw.

                                  It was served without sides, but with a dark jerk gravy. Consisted of 1/3 meat, 1/3 bones, and 1/3 crackling skin and fat.

                                  The only side available was corn, at $2.
                                  The pork was overcooked, dry, fatty, and mildly spiced.

                                  My impression was amateur cooks, getting ready for Caribana, with this strike presenting an opportunity..

                                  1. re: jayt90

                                    Back on the spice trail, I notice that the Real Jerk folks are marketing their own bbq sauce, and jerk marinade, as well as a cookbook, from some of their stand locations, such as Shops at Don Mills, and in the alley by the Tranzac Club on Brunswick, where they have a patio for the Fringe (beer tent supplied by McAuslands). And their food, too.

                            2. I was in an Asian supermarket the other day and using your recommendation and my unreliable memory I purchased Grace Caribbean Traditions Jerk Seasoning. (5oz) I knew there was something wrong as it was only $1-29.

                              1. just a follow up, this stuff is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too hot for me man

                                i dunno if i applied too much or what.. i cooked bone-in chicken breasts and rubbed the jerk paste UNDER the skin as well as on top, and all over, and let it marinate for a few hours... it was PAINFUL to eat that it was so hot, i threw 2 whole breasts out cause it was too much for me

                                never again, lol

                                other jerk chickens ive had werent nearly this spicy... or i just want overkill on it but i dont think so

                                29 Replies
                                1. re: duckdown

                                  I'm laughing at your post and remembering what my mom always told me..
                                  "Less is More"...you can always add but not take away.....have to say when cooking/baking something for the first time I generally follow the recipe to the 'T'...then make any changes on the next go 'round....

                                  1. re: pearlD

                                    while I was reading/writing the above post I read the advert posted on the side of the chowhound page..have a look..

                                    certainly offers many items for you 'hot' fiends.............

                                  2. re: duckdown

                                    You must have used the paste. I find it seriously hot. I have only used it a couple of times. I am like PearlD - I generally follow the instructions the first time and then adjust to my own taste.
                                    So the first time I used the paste, I followed the instructions, and then I looked at the meat and I thought `no WAY this small amount of paste will get things as flavourful and spicy as I like.. this recipe is for wimps...` and added another teaspoon or so of the stuff. It was too hot for me, and I really enjoy heat. The meat was similarly inedible for my partner, who has the weirdest palate in the world. He can detect and name very subtle flavours in food, but truly enjoys getting his taste buds burned off by a fiery hot dish.
                                    Second time I used the paste, I followed the directions carefully. My partner was barbecuing (yes, charcoal) that evening and looked at the meat. Noting there seemed to be very little spice on it, he assumed that I had gone far too light with the paste in reaction to our last attempt - and then he surreptitiously added much more. The results were even more inedible than the last time.
                                    We haven`t given up, as the smell is wonderful and we have used other Grace products, especially the dried jerk spice mix, with great success. But next time, we will follow the instructions exactly - or maybe even add less paste than suggested - and then adjust any subsequent attempts.

                                    1. re: duckdown

                                      Duckdown dude, I did try to warn you that it being a paste it was concentrated and therefore use much less. I even pointed to the Grace website's Jerk Chicken recipe as they themselves dilute that radioactive stuff. I'm feeling very underappreciated at the moment.

                                      1. re: Googs

                                        You also probably told Icarus not to get too close to the big bright fiery ball thing. Warning dudes away from extreme heat is generally an exercise in futility, in my experience. :)

                                        1. re: Wahooty

                                          Point taken. Stand back and smile smugly. Is that the correct approach?

                                        2. re: Googs

                                          I didn't see any responses at the time, I had just gone out and bought some on a whim since I was shopping for other stuff and was going on the fact that others were saying how good it was and so on :( those are the only responses I had read at the time.

                                          i will check the website now and maybe I won't have to throw this stuff in the trash...radioactive is right! holy crap it was spicy

                                          sorry googs ,you know i like your posts!


                                          1. re: duckdown

                                            I haven't had a problem with the Grace Jerk Spice, and I have used it twice now, on chicken and duck. It was spread on the skin while cooking.I think your problem was putting some under the skin. It would be lethal there, and would not go away. I did find a few Scotch Bonnet hot spots, but not objectionable.

                                            Overall, I found the Grace Jerk Spice, and Grace Marinade, to be great products, offering us home cooks an opportunity to go beyond some store and restaurant offerings.

                                            1. re: jayt90

                                              Maybe the best way to put it in context would be as similar in strength and concentration to some of the the Thai or Indian spice pastes. They are heavily diluted before use.

                                              Now that it's summer, the Real Jerk has some of their bbq stands out and about in the city, including the alley by the Tranzac Club (for the Fringe), and at the Shops at Don Mills. They have their own paste that they retail, as well as a bbq sauce that is much toned-down from a heat perspective.

                                              1. re: Snarf

                                                I don't think Grace Jerk Spice was diluted at all before bottling. Just the real jerk, no water added. Parts of it were heavy with Scotch Bonnet.

                                                1. re: jayt90

                                                  I've tried it. You're correct. Bottled delicious fire that will do good things used correctly. Definitely at the concentrated end of the spectrum.

                                              2. re: jayt90

                                                did you dilute it? mine was scorching hot. i have the paste, mind you...yours sounds like the dry rub version

                                                i basically rubbed the entire pieces with the paste and just let it sit for a couple hours... i still am not sure how to dilute it; i don't see the instructions on the grace website, only a recipe for jerked chicken if I click on recipies but its involving other ingredients and stuff

                                                1. re: duckdown

                                                  My second attempt at jerk chicken was simpler than the first, but still effective. I flattened the bird by cutting through the backbone, and applied Grace's Jerk Spice to all sides, leaving it for two hours.
                                                  Then it was crisped on both sides over hot coals, less than 5 minutes; and finally placed on the cool side of the kettle and covered for 1.5 hours. The crisping over red hot coals is tricky, but seems to mellow the flavor.

                                                  I actually have more trouble making rice and peas; the coconut milk makes the rice difficult to finish in my cheap rice cooker. I'm thinking about a better model with a control to use also as a small immersion bath. Someone in Kensington has these for sale.

                                                  1. re: jayt90

                                                    Hi jayt90, so you used the paste as well? and you just liberally rubbed the entire chicken with it? thats pretty much what I did as well.


                                                    this one in the middle i think is what i've got upstairs

                                                    the one in the picture (middle) looks like a bright red paste while mine is much much darker

                                                    *shrug* well I have no idea but for a regular white dude like me it was beyond spicy lol

                                                    maybe i'll try Piri Piri instead from now on.. I want a good piri piri baste and marinade... no Macarico unless theres more components to it because it's the very definition of overrated when its on its own IMO

                                                    1. re: duckdown

                                                      Macarico is like Frank's Red Hot meets a lot more salt.

                                                      The piri piri sold by the guy at St. Lawrence Market is very good.

                                                      I wouldn't give up on jerk. If you like the tang, just apply less and don't baste during cooking.

                                                      1. re: grandgourmand

                                                        I bought Macarico based on the glowing reccomendations on this board... I thought it was not good at all.. salty is right.. never seen so many chowhounders wrong at once before :D

                                                        wish I could get some of that SLM stuff but I rarely get to go there since I live in Brampton....and wouldn't know which piri piri sauce you mean anyway

                                                        Is there any other decent substitutes? The stuff the guy has at Bom Apetite is pretty good, I think it must be homemade

                                                        1. re: duckdown

                                                          If you're looking for a piri piri, maybe see if some of the big box places carry Nando's. It's a South African restaurant chain with a place on Eglinton at Laird. If jerk wasn't for you, you might want the mild version, or no more than the medium. It's not as good as the sauce at Peri Peri on Dupont, but it might be more readily accessible.

                                                          If you want to venture back into the world of jerk, The Real Jerk makes a bbq sauce that is significantly milder than the paste.

                                                          1. re: Snarf

                                                            Grace makes a jerk BBQ sauce as well. Not sure it's milder, but would assume so.

                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                            There's a churrasco takeout place at the north end of the main market, through the front entrance (west one).

                                                            He makes his own sauce. I find it has good heat, tang and depth of flavour. I like it much, much better than churrasco st. clair.

                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                I've used it at home. Spatchcocked a whole chicken, S&P'd, skin side up and weight with a brick (foil covered). Once the fat has rendered out of skin and ready for direct heat, and bird is almost fully cooked, start basting. I made the mistake once of basting too early, took my eye off the bird for too long and the sauce burned. There must be sugar or something in it and the margin for burn-error is pretty low.
                                                                I tried the Macarico once...brutal artificial colour, way too salty. The SLM stuff is miles better.

                                                                1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                  I tried making a batch at home. It was good but good doesn't cut it in my house.


                                                                  1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                    I like that piri piri sauce from Churrasco of St Lawrence myself.

                                                                    Duckdown, next time you're downtown I suggest you stock up. That stuff lasts quite a while in the fridge.

                                                        2. re: jayt90

                                                          I find crisping easier (i.e. less flareups) by cooking indirect first, then finishing over direct.

                                                          1. re: grandgourmand

                                                            I thought that was just me. Good to know, grandgourmand, that I'm not the only one who grills chicken backwards.

                                                            1. re: Googs

                                                              I read it in a Mark Bittman article a while back, and I haven't looked back since. No more skin sticking to the grills. Hallelujah.

                                                              1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                I did it without reading it anywhere because it just seemed to make sense to me. You're right. No sticking. Plus I get very moist chicken AND it hits the plate still hot from heating it up at the end. It's perfect.

                                              3. When I make Jerk Chicken, I always get the paste and the jerk powder and mix it up together. Just beware of the salt content though.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: TOchowgal

                                                  PC Montego bay jerk sauce is fantastic!

                                                  1. re: Crispy skin

                                                    Try the Jerk Marinade by Grace. It comes in a bottle and is fantastic. Marinade a whole boneless pork shoulder in it overnight and grill for 4 hours on low heat and you will be singing the praises. Be sure to deeply score the meat all around to help absorbtion of the marinade. This is the one marinade/sauce that I never feel the need to doctor up.

                                                    Also great to marinade chicken wings! love it!

                                                    1. re: deelicious

                                                      I was at Food Basics tonight and noticed a new jerk seasoning called "Governor's Choice". It's really, really good!!

                                                      Very authentic taste and not too salty. Perfect amount of heat and somehow fresher tasting than most.

                                                      1. re: middydd

                                                        lol, trying to be "presidents choice" a little too much eh... ha ha.

                                                        1. re: duckdown

                                                          The presidents choice version (memories of montego bay) isn't a bad choice either.

                                                          Grace's BBQ jerk sauce on deep fried wings is pretty awesome.