Jerk is a hot, spicy uniquely Jamaican seasoning which has been developed over centuries. There are also two schools of thought about the origins of jerk. The first credits the Arawaks, the original natives of Jamaica, with the authentic method of jerking. The other credits the Maroons, the runaway slaves who lived in the rugged mountains of the Jamaica, with originally applying the technique to wild boar in the seventeenth century.
There is an infinite number of jerk seasoning recipes, some with ingredient list a mile long. But all jerk seasoning mixes must have the three ingredients in order to taste authentic: Jamaica pepper (allspice), Scotch bonnet peppers and thyme.
Jerking is actually a method of cooking highly spiced meat outdoors in Jamaica slowly over a pimento wood fire. It was a local option to salt curing which helped to prevent spoilage in the tropical heat. The liberal amounts of indigenous spices and peppers preserved meats and made them taste delicious when cooked over the open fire.
You may use jerk seasoning to baste everything from tofu chunks to poultry, seafood, or red meat while roasting or barbecuing. It is especially good when you marinate chicken, roast pork, or thick slices of tofu overnight. Grill, roast, or broil the following day. Serve with additional sauce for dipping.