The jerk store called. They want their steak back. This is not that kind of steak…
OK, I’m going to have to come clean with something here. I’m a little obsessed with jerk steak lately, or jerked steak if you prefer. I think I’ve made it three out of the last five weekends. I love jerk flavor in general. I’m a fiery food junky, but not so much so that it masks all the other flavors. Jerk ingredients stand up to each other so well, that even when it’s hot enough to make the back of your neck sweat, you will still taste all that glorious flavor. I’ve jerked chicken and pork before, but never beef. I did it once and now I can’t get enough. There isn’t much to this recipe as it is simply grilling a steak and brushing on some jerk marinade paste, but it’s worth documenting to get everyone else to try what has me salivating just writing about it.
Before I even got this post up, I had a craving and made this again, hence the bonus material below, so be sure to scroll all the way down and read the whole thing…
I know what you’re thinking. Jerk chicken and jerk pork are mainstays, but you’ve never heard of jerk beef or jerked steak. Trust me, if you love jerked food, you will love jerk steak.
The first time I did this, I did it with a massive steak. When I say the steak was big, I mean big (forgive these next three pics, they were taken with my phone):
That’s right, it was a 2.6 pound bone in rib eye, my old razor phone my son plays with is for perspective:
My plan was to eat some of it for dinner and some for breakfast or lunch (or both), but it was so good I wound up eating the whole thing. Bone in rib eye is my favorite steak. I had no sides, just a big plate of meat:
I’m a big believer in marinating, particularly in jerk, but for this I bought the steak right before the store closed and cooked it a couple hours later so I didn’t bother. I decided instead to merely brush it on after the sear. It was so good I had it the next weekend, and then a couple weeks after that. The last time I had it, I decided to go ahead and document the process and use a much more modest steak, a New York strip or strip loin, and balance out the meal with a side dish, in this case some grilled romaine:
That’s about a 12 ouncer that I had left over when a guy didn’t show up for guy night. Freezing and thawing it took away the rich red I’m used to, but it was still great.
All I used for the jerk was Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning which is a thick paste. They also have a jerk marinade and a jerk BBQ sauce now, and the marinade, which is much thinner than the paste is even more flavorful and I use it exclusively now, but both are outstanding.
Some of you are thinking, “I don’t want some store bought jerk. I want a recipe so I can make my own and put my own twist on it.”
Before I had kids, I was the same way. Now I don’t have the time to make my own. That being said, I do have a great jerk marinade you can make yourself.
If you want to make your own jerk seasoning you can use these ingredients for an excellent jerk marinade or brush on sauce.
Ingredients to make your own:
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 scotch bonnet pepper (if you can’t find this at your grocery use a fresh jalapeño)**
1 tbsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dark rum
juice from one fresh lime
juice from one fresh orange
Combine all of the above ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.
For this steak, I applied salt, black and white pepper to both sides of the steak and let it come to room temp for about 30 minutes while I got the grill ready for two zone grilling. What is two zone grilling? Coals on one side and none on the other so I can sear over the coals to put on that flavor crust, and then pull to the side with no coals to bake to the desired doneness without burning the steak. Generally, when I cook a steak for myself, I don’t need to pull it to the side after I put on the flavor crust to let it bake to the desired doneness. Seared on each side is all I need for a steak, and in this case a jerked steak, to be done enough in my book. For me, all I need is to knock the hooves and horns off and walk the cow through the kitchen on the way to my plate.
Here is the grill with the coals stoked up on one side, I have a couple bricks that had broken into chunks over time, dividing up the grill to keep the coals on one side:
And here we have a pic with no flash as it washes out the flames just to show how hot the fire is:
I always grill steaks over ripping hot coals:
After between 90 and 120 seconds I rotate the steak to get the cross hatch grill marks:
After 1.5-2 minutes after I rotate, I flip and do the same thing on the other side and brush some of the jerk seasoning on:
Notice the cross hatch grill marks?
After that side is seared and I have a flavor crust on both sides, I pull it over to the side with no coals, flip it over and apply more jerk, but I don’t close the lid and bake it. I let it rest while I cook the lettuce:
Remember, I like my steaks very rare, so after I put the flavor crust on with those cross hatch grill marks, I am ready to eat. If you want it more done than that, close the lid for 4-6 minutes to get it to medium rare and another 4-6 minutes to rare, depending on the heat of the grill and the size of the steak. To know how done the steak is, do the thumb test.
If you’ve never had grilled lettuce, I can’t recommend it highly enough. You can get the full write up here with picture by picture instructions. Here’s my lettuce fully cooked on one side and charring on the other:
I pulled both off when the lettuce was nicely charred on both sides and sprinkled some asiago over the romaine and plated the jerked steak with those wonderful cross hatch grill marks:
Since the steak sat on the side of the grill with no heat while the lettuce cooked I didn’t really need to let it rest. The juices have already calmed down inside. Why do I need to let it rest in the first place? Because “searing in the juices” is not key to a juicy steak. In fact, it’s not even accurate. Searing a steak releases more of its juices than simply baking it to the desired doneness. Searing creates a flavor crust by browning and thus caramelizing the proteins which is why those cross hatch grill marks are so important. Keeping the juices in the steak is performed by letting it rest after coming off the heat. When it leaves the cook surface, the juices are in an excited state. They’re moving at a million miles an hour. If you slice open the steak right then, the cut will act as an escape valve and the juices will run all over the plate. If you let the steak rest, they juices will slow down, redistribute throughout the entire piece of meat, and most importantly stay in that meat for every moist bite.
Check out the pic after I slice it:
And here’s a close up. No pool of juice, just the residuals from the wet paste that was slathered on during the cooking process:
If you don’t like spicy food, I would recommend diluting Walkerswood with some oil before brushing it on. In its pure form, it’s really potent and it seems to get hotter once you open the jar. I don’t know if it has to do with the oxygen getting in there or it fermenting once it opens or what (I’m not a chemist or food scientist), but it definitely increases in heat after the jar’s been open.
If you love spicy food, this is a great way to add some heat but not to overpower the taste of the beef. I really enjoyed jerk steak and will likely have it many more times.
If you have any questions about this jerk steak recipe, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.
If you would like other beef recipes, click here.
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The night I worked on these pictures and wrote up this post I got a craving for, what else, but jerk steak. I picked up a prime sirloin and after a little salt, black, and white pepper on each side I slapped it on the grill for some bonus pictures of this recipe:
After a couple minutes over a roaring fire I rotated it:
After a couple more minutes I flipped with a flavor crust on one side:
I didn’t let the cast iron grates warm up before I put the meat on. It was 9:15 pm and I was hungry, so I didn’t get my usual, distinct cross hatch grill marks.
Then I brushed on the jerk marinade, or fiery deliciousness as I call it:
After two minutes I rotated:
After two more minutes I flipped and brushed the other side:
I pulled the grilled jerked steak off to the side with no coals, shut the lid and went to grab a plate. Total baking time before resting was about 60 seconds as I like my steaks as rare as possible:
And after I took a few pics while it rested I sliced:
And a closeup of that pink awesomeness:
Yeah, I could do this again tonight. Although I don’t recommend eating one as late as I did. A jerk steak at 9:30 doesn’t lend itself to a good night’s sleep.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 scotch bonnet pepper (if you can’t find this at your grocery use a fresh jalapeño)**
- 1 tbsp allspice
- 1½ tsp ginger
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup dark rum
- juice from one fresh lime
- juice from one fresh orange
- 4 steaks
- Combine all of the ingredients except the steaks in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth
- Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and give each side a liberal coating of coarse salt and black pepper
- Leave the steaks on the counter and prepare the grill
- Set up the grill for two zone/indirect grilling with coals on one side and nothing on the other
- When the coals are blazing hot, place the steaks over the coals and sear for 2-4 minutes on each side, depending on the heat of the fire
- Flip over and sear on the other side, brushing the top with the jerk sauce
- After another 2-4 minutes, move the grilled steaks over to the side with no coals, flip over and brush with another coating of jerk sauce
- Close the lid and bake for 4-6 minutes
- Remove from the heat serve the medium rare steaks
- Bake on the side with no coals for 8-12 minutes for medium, 12-16 for medium well and 16-20 for medium well