Compare Jerk Seasoning – A review of 4 jerk products

five jerk seasoning compared
We rubbed some chicken thighs with 4 different jerk seasonings to see how they compare, then grilled them to jerk-perfection!

Here are the players:

Neera’s Hot Jamaican Jerk Spice Grilling Paste

Pickapeppa Hot Spicy Jerk Seasoning

Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

McCormick Jamaican Jerk Seasoning – Not tasted

McCormick Caribbean Jerk Seasoning Sweet & Spicy

We began by rubbing each seasoning on a pair of skinless chicken thighs the night before.

The next day, it was time to grill these spicy jerk chicken pieces, and see which we liked best.

Here’s what we thought about each of the spices/rubs…

Pickapeppa: onions, sugar, cane vinegar, raisins, salt, pepper and spices

pickapeppa jerk seasoning

Brian sez: A very chunky rub because of the raisins, the Pickapeppa had a nice, fruity flavor, but was disappointing in the heat department. Especially so, as I love their Pickapeppa Classic Sauce and Pickapeppa Red Hot Sauce. I was really rooting for this one to be the best. But ultimately, out of the four, I rated it last. Sigh.

Wifey sez: I think this was the juciest meat of the 4, and I thought the heat level was very hot.

Final rating in order of preference:
Brian – 4th
Wifey – 3rd

Walkerswood: scallions, Scotch Bonnet peppers, salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, citric acid, sugar, thyme

walkerswood jerk seasoning

Brian sez: This rub was very fragrant and salty. Salt, apparently, is a very important and prominent ingredient in traditional jerk recipes. Out of the 4, this is probably the most authentic recipe, spice-wise.

Wifey sez: Salty, with lots of allspice flavor… not my taste. I’m not a fan of allspice. I rated this one last.

Final rating in order of preference:
Brian – 3rd
Wifey – 4th

Neera’s: lemon juice, malt vinegar, chile peppers, allspice, garlic, onion, salt, black pepper, spices, habanero chile

Neera's Jerk Spice

Brian sez: Neera’s was surprisingly the best all-around flavor profile, with the best taste. It was well rounded with nice heat (and you know I like HOT!)

Wifey sez: Nice heat and great balance of flavors. I was really torn between this one and the McCormick Caribbean, but this was my top pick.

Final rating:
Brian – 1st
Wifey – 1st

McCormick: sugar, spices (including red pepper, thyme, and allspice), salt, onion, and turmeric

McCormick Caribbean Jerk Seasoning

Brian sez: Nice overall flavor, not as hot as the others, but great taste. Moderate heat level. Wifey and I both rated this as our second favorite Surprise! I would like to experiment with this seasoning along with the other “wet” rubs.

Wifey sez: Ditto on flavor and heat. If you’re trying jerk for the first time, go with this one. It’s the most readily available and reasonably priced with great jerk flavor and moderate heat level depending on how much you sprinkle on. Use some oil to help spread the dry seasoning around.

Final rating:
Brian – 2nd
Wifey – 2nd

(We’ve tried McCormick’s Gourmet Jamaican Jerk Seasoning a few times in the past, but neither of us like it at all. So it was excluded from this tasting.)

Note: The bottle of McCormick’s Caribbean suggests something we’ve not tried yet…
for a Jerk Marinade – Combine 3 T. seasoning, 3 T. vegetable oil, 2 T. soy sauce, 1 T. cider vinegar, forย  1 1/2ย  lb. chicken parts
We’ve not tried that yet, as our taste-test was to be strictly out of the jar, rubbed on spices.

If you’ve tried any of these jerk seasonings, and have a favorite, please chime in and let us know.

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  1. My wife and I really both like the McCormick’s rub. The marinade recipe on the bottle is the one we regularly use. I’ve tried chicken with this as a dry rub and I enjoyed it, but it was a bit spicier than the wife likes it, so I tend to temper it with the marinade.

    The one piece of advice I would give if using the recipe is to let the meat marinate AT LEAST overnight if not longer. It gets spicier the longer you let it marinate. I’ve found the perfect time to be to make the mix and add the chicken around noon the day before we want to eat it. Just enough spice for me, but not too spicy that the wife can’t handle it.

  2. @ed – Thanks for the suggestion. We are definitely going to try the McCormick’s marinade recipe next time. I also recently picked up a jar of Busha Browne’s Traditional Jerk Seasoning Rub. Guess that’ll be 2 additions to the round-up.

  3. @Lauren – I’ll be including Busha Browne’s and the McCormick marinade recipes in a future feature. Thanks for visiting!

  4. Thanks for your reviews. I haven’t tried the McCormick’s yet but just purchased some. In the mean time… Walkerswood is the best I’ve tried and my research suggests it might be the favorite among island folks who are away from home.

  5. @Ivan – hey, that’s good to know. Thanks for stopping by. Guess I should get a review together for the McCormick’s and Busha Browne’s jerk seasonings!

  6. Being married to a women from the Caribbean and being introduced to many different flavors from that region, I would have to say that the best that I have tasted thus far is the Walkerswood. I have tried Busha Browne’s jerk “sauce” and it’s pretty good, but for a marinade, I have stuck with Walkerswood. I can’t bring myself to even try the McCormicks. Now don’t get me wrong, I have some other items by McCormick that I swear by, but for Jerk I just know it won’t be close to authentic.

    I’m actually going to grill some Jerk Tilapia this afternoon ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hey RW,
      I agree that Busha Browne’s Spicy Jerk Sauce is good for a marinade or for pouring onto foods. It comes in a “hot sauce” style bottle for pouring.
      The Busha Browne’s Traditional Jerk Seasoning Rub is a different creature altogether. While it’s not mentioned in this post, it is a favorite jerk rub of mine.

      Oh, and let me know how your jerk Tilapia came out!

  7. i have the hardest time finding the Walkerswood brand. my fave one that i have come across so far is Williams Sonoma Jamaican Jerk Paste.

    1. Walkerswood is easily found online.
      I’ll have to check out the Williams Sonoma Jerk next time I’m in a mega-mall. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I worked with a lot of Jamaicans for years in Miami and we always got them to cook and DJ at our parties. McCormicks Caribbean Jerk was what they used and they always added the vegetable oil, soy sauce ,and cider to the marinade… plus a bottle of store bought cheapest honey BBQ sauce you can find on the shelf. Marinade the meat(pork shoulder or chicken parts work best) for a couple of hours in the jerk marinade and then brush the honey BBQ sauce on while you cook. The honey BBQ sauce carmelizes on the meat as it’s grilled and makes a huge difference. Addicting!!

    1. Hey Mike, that’s great advice!
      Thanks for taking time to share that with us.

      How would you prep the pork butt and how would you cook it?

  9. On your sayso I hit Wegmans for Mccormick Carribbean and for $2 and change a bottle, I enjoyed the hell out of some wings off my infrared grill. I hand cut my wings fresh and they hadn’t been frozen so they were tender and juicy. With a smear of olive oil this rub sprinkled evenly and perfectly with no sugar to burn and the smell was amazing before it hit the grill. 20 mins per side and some roasted brussel sprouts to chase…awesome! Great advice, I’m a huge fan and will try the marinade soon myself

  10. Thank you for this. I had the chance to use real jerk sauce/paste for a few months in 1999. Ever since that source dried up I have been trying to find a commercial product that tastes “right”. Haven’t had much luck. Your article gives me confidence in two of the products and I will buy them this week. Keep up the good work.

    Hope all is well,


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