It's the first day of summer and that means the official start of grilling season -- even in Miami where, technically, we can grill year round. Since we're in a city that has many Caribbean influences, it seems a shame to go out and buy some generic supermarket barbeque sauce, laden with chemicals and sodium, when there's a new line of locally made jerk sauces that will bring a bit of island flavor to your barbeque.
Made by Trevor "Jerk Daddy" Wilson, Jerk Daddy sauces are all-natural, preservative-free, and low-sodium. Wilson developed the sauces over a 20 year period, tweaking the recipes for flavor. A few months ago, he finally came upon the right amount of spice, deeming it ready for sale.
Johanne Wilson, co-owner of Jerk Daddy (and daughter-in-law of Trevor "Jerk Daddy" Wilson), told Short Order that these are not anything like Jamaican jerk rubs and sauces. "These sauces are completely different. These recipes and flavors are originally from St. Vincent and Trinidad. Traditional Jamaican jerk is mostly a heat kind of a thing without much flavor. These sauces are made with garlic, scotch bonnet peppers, cilantro, which have a natural apricot note. There's a nice smooth sweet finish from the fruit and a bit of agave. Then, just a touch of salt as a natural preservative. When you layer flavors the right way, you don't have to throw salt in everything."
Johanne, who has a background in art and design, encouraged her father-in-law to start the sauce line after he retired. "He's always been in food. He started in the cruise industry, cooking for large amounts of people, so catering is his expertise. He recently retired from a position in the aeronautical industry, and was bored. I offered to help him with the sauce line if he finally wanted to actually do this."
The name, Jerk Daddy was the easy part. Johanne explains that, "everyone calls him daddy anyway because he acts like everyone's father, always cooking for everyone. The jerk came in because he makes the best jerk ever."
How does the elder Wilson feel about being called a "jerk"? "He doesn't mind. He laughs. He thinks it's funny."
The Jerk Daddy collection of sauces include pineapple, tamarind, signature jerk, and hot pepper. Johanne suggests the tamarind or signature jerk for marinating meats for grilling, with one 10 ounce bottle marinating about eight chicken breasts. The pineapple works well as a finisher or as a tropical salad dressing. The sauces run $8-9 for a 10 ounce bottle; $6-7 for a five ounce bottle and are available online at jerkdaddy.com or at The Village Stand in North Miami.