I have included 4 recipes for a complete Jamaican dinner. The spice rub seasons the pork ribs, the jerk BBQ sauce bastes the ribs as they cook and acts as a sauce upon serving, the rice and peas is the starch and the greens are the vegetable accompaniment. You can omit the rice and peas and greens and serve the ribs with your favorite side dishes. The recipes serve 4 portions.
Jerk Spice Rub for Pork Baby Back Ribs or Chicken
The spice rub is also good on chicken or fish. For a milder version use a mixture of Serrano chilies and Jalapeno chilies. I include the seeds although removing them will reduce the heat. Wear gloves if you are not used to working with spicy chilies.
Yields ½ cup of rub enough for 2 full slabs of ribs and the ingredient for the BBQ sauce.
2 ½ -3 habanero chilies, minced
½ tablespoon toasted coriander seeds, cooled and ground
½ tablespoon toasted allspice berries, cooled and ground
2 tablespoons toasted black pepper, cooled and ground
1 large scallion chopped
½ tablespoon sea salt
1 lime, zest and juice
1/8 c (1oz.) rum, Appleton Estate if available
2 slabs of baby back pork ribs (serves 4)
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until a thick, smooth paste is made.
To prepare the ribs remove the thin skin from the back, curved side of the ribs with your hand or an oyster knife. Spread the rub liberally all over the ribs and refrigerate 3-6 hours.
Bring the ribs to room temp for about 30 minutes before roasting. I used our pizza oven as it was raining cats and dogs when I made this. I placed them over a baking sheet on a rack and roasted in a moderately hot wood oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes turning several times so both sides would brown, basing with the Jerk BBQ sauce frequently (recipe follows). These would also be great cooked in a covered kettle style BBQ.
Alternatively, you can bake the ribs in a preheated oven at 375° turning and basting frequently. Traditionally Jerk is roasted resting on smoldering pimento wood, which gives it a distinctive flavor although hard to get here.
Jerk BBQ Sauce
This is great on anything that calls for BBQ sauce like burgers, duck, chicken, turkey or pork ribs. I don’t add sugar because the ketchup has enough sweetness. If you like a sweeter sauce add 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar or molasses.
½ cup ketchup, preferably Heinz Organic
½ cup or a bit less fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons soy sauce or Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce)
2 tablespoons Pickapeppa Sauce (Jamaican) or tamarind paste
2 tablespoons jerk spice rub-see recipe
6 cloves garlic peeled and minced
Mix well and use as a basting sauce for the ribs. Unused basting sauce can be heated and served with the pork ribs.
Rice and Peas
This is what they call it in Jamaica although rice and beans would be more accurate to me. In Jamaica, it’s traditionally made with kidney or gungo peas, also known as pigeon peas.
Yields 4 generous servings
1 cup cooked beans of your choice. I cooked mine in water, with a celery stalk, 2 cloves garlic and a bit of olive oil, covered.
2 cups of jasmine or basmati rice
1 5 ounce can coconut milk
3 scallions chopped
1 whole jalapeño chili scored
1 teaspoon salt
Combine the rice and coconut milk and salt in a rice cooker. Add water up to the 2 cup mark. Add remaining ingredients cover and cook. If you have a fuzzy logic rice cooker, set it on the quick setting.
To cook in a pot add the rice, the coconut milk and water to the depth of your first knuckle. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer 20 minutes.
Remove chili and fluff and mix the rice and beans together.
In Jamaica, you would use Callaloo a thick green similar to a cross of spinach and collard greens. I use collared greens for this recipe
2 bunches collard greens washed well and chopped. Stems are good.
½ onion chopped small dice
1 inch piece fresh ginger peeled and grated or minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup chicken, vegetable stock or water
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a sauté pan and cook the onion until tender over medium heat. Add the ginger and greens and cook stirring till wilted, add the stock or water and simmer until the greens are tender. Season with salt and pepper.