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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!)

cheers!

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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!

        cheers

        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.

                    DT

            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.

                                http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/02/din...

                                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):

                                http://thepauperedchef.com/2009/06/ja...

                        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.
                                  http://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&amp...

                                  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.