How Do I Choose the Best Caribbean Marinade?

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  • Written By: Lee Johnson
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 04 July 2018
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Choose the best Caribbean marinade by looking at the ingredients included in the specific marinade mixture and checking for the inclusion of fresh ingredients. The most common Caribbean marinade is called a jerk marinade, and it generally is used on chicken. Ingredients such as allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg are often included in jerk marinades, and the specific additional ingredients that are used are a good way of determining the best marinade for a group of diners.

Arguably the most popular Caribbean dish is jerk chicken, which is made with a combination of several spices, along with chili, onions and a variety of herbs. Jerk chicken is characteristically quite spicy and usually is marinated before it is cooked. When most people think of a Caribbean marinade, they are likely to think of jerk-style marinade. The level of spice within the jerk marinade, whether determined by the ingredients listed on the bottle or in the recipe, can be used by chefs as an indication of the best marinade for his or her diners. Recipes have an advantage in this sense because they can be easily altered.


Checking the list of spices that are used in Caribbean marinades is a good way of determining which one is the best. A good way to choose the best marinade from pre-made blends is to compare the ingredients list with a recipe for an authentic Caribbean dish. The flavor of jerk chicken, for example, is characterized by the heavy use of allspice and thyme, as well as additional flavors such as nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Chefs should look at which ingredients are included in the marinade and think about the guests who are going to be eating the finished dish. If somebody doesn’t like cinnamon, for example, this can be altered in a recipe but not in a pre-bought bottle.

Fresh ingredients can increase the flavor of a Caribbean marinade, and chefs should use recipes that make use of fresh items such as onions and garlic. Scotch bonnet peppers are used in most authentic jerk marinades, but other chili peppers can be used if these are not available. All of the fresh ingredients are often combined with orange juice and white wine vinegar and blended to form the marinade. The best Caribbean marinade will include fresh ingredients, and making the mixture from a recipe gives the chef the option to alter the recipe to suit the guests. Some jerk chicken recipes use both a marinade and a dry rub of spices.



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