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Dry Jerk Rub Guide 

Dry Jerk Rub has a fiery, spicy flavour that originates from Jamaica and the Caribbean. It is thought to have been first used by the former slaves of that area, brought over from West Africa. They would preserve the meat with peppers, giving it a spicy seasoning. Then it would be cooked slowly over smoke.

Common herbs and spices used to make a dry jerk rub are cayenne pepper, paprika, allspice, dried thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. There are of course different recipes using different herbs and spices and the amounts vary, all giving their own style and flavours.

You can buy pre mixed dry jerk rubs online.  There are numerous different brands and each has its own flavour and spice levels. It is worth trying a few of these until you find one that hits the spot for you. Another choice is to make this rub at home using a recipe that suits you, as all the herbs and spices can be bought online.

Dry Jerk Rub Cooking Tips

In Jamaica the jerk rubbed meat is normally cooked using oil drums cut in half  but of course most of us will not have this, so our barbecue at home is good enough. Just make sure it is not too hot as it is best cooked on a low to medium heat. Alternatively, you can pan cook or oven cook at home and this will also give a tasty result. 

This blend of herbs and spices is delicious grilled with pork, chicken and fish. These need to be scored with a sharp knife. Then using your fingers, rub the dry jerk seasoning into the meat or fish where it has been scored, making sure it has a good covering.

Once this is completed, cover the meat or put it into a sealed bag and place it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours. If you can, it is best to leave it over night in the fridge to get the best flavour.

Take a look at this jerk seasoning recipe and give it a try. Be aware that it is spicy and does have a kick to it! 

In the picture I have used pork tenderloin for this recipe. 

Pork with Dry Jerk Rub


Serves 4-6 people


2 tablespoons fine sea salt

2 teaspoons ground allspice

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons dried hot chilli, crushed

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons soft brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

2 pork tenderloins


Mix all the herbs and spices together in a bowl, making sure they are thoroughly blended. Then apply to the scored meat or fish generously. Cover or bag over night in the fridge for best flavour. Otherwise leave for a minimum of 2 hours in the fridge. 

Now it is ready to cook which ever way suits you best, I prefer to cook over a low heat BBQ for about 40 minutes or until it is cooked.