According to Hector Rodriguez, a Latin Caribbean Food Expert from About.com, the main ingredients for an authentic jerk seasoning are scotch bonnet pepper, allspice berries, thyme, salt and scallions. Additional ingredients can be added, such as brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, onion, garlic, nutmeg and black pepper.
Jerk seasoning is a very hot spice mixture specific to Jamaican cuisine. Traditionally, it is applied to pork or chicken, which is dry-rubbed or marinated with the jerk spice. However, some modern recipes also apply the seasoning to beef, fish and other meats and even vegetables or tofu.
The characteristic taste of the authentic jerk seasoning is spicy-hot, mostly due to the scotch bonnet peppers, a variety of chili peppers. According to the Scoville Heat Chart from About.com, these peppers are rated as some of the hottest ones in the world. However, a milder pepper can be used instead.
The allspice berry is a necessity in Jamaican jerk seasoning, claims Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, a Home Cooking Expert from About.com.
The third essential ingredient is thyme, a common herb used extensively in Jamaican cuisine. It adds a strong flavor to the mix.
The ingredients are mixed in a small bowl. The seasoning can be used immediately or can be put in an airtight container and stored in a cool, dry place for later use.