I’ve been looking for a great jerk seasoning for years now. When I first entered the food world as a teenager in the mid-90s, jerk seasoning was just hitting the scene. Exotic, spicy and complex, it’s one of those flavor boosters that catapults every dish it touches—from tofu to turkey—into the stratosphere.
Then Jerk seasoning’s popularity seemed to wane. Eventually it disappeared from our shelves and many of the specialty stores I’d visit on my travels. I can’t remember what food fad replaced it—probably something like tequila & lime or ginger & wasabi; they were real popular back then—but jerk’s day in the sun seemed to be over.
Luckily Pluto Richards was out there. Born in Jamaica and now living in "the triangle" of North Carolina, Pluto missed the flavors he grew up with. “The problem was, I never learned the recipes," he explained when we met. “Men weren’t allowed in the kitchen, so I couldn’t watch my grandmother prepare it. I had to figure out how to make it all by myself.”
Pluto must have a great memory and an amazing ability to deduce recipes because he’s managed to capture all the flavors, complexity and excitement I remember from those early days of Jerk’s meteoric rise.