Take Me to the Islands Jamaican Jerk and Rum Burgers

Accolades 2015 Finalists
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Hard to pronounce yet easy to drink, this wine combines lychee fruit and white peach flavors with a hint of spice.

My inspiration came from many trips with friends to Jamaica’s Boston Bay – the birthplace of jerk cooking. The combination of spices and grilling over smoky pimento wood produces some of the most flavorful meat I have ever had. I’ve created a burger that has a blast of these flavors and spices. You’ll remember the taste long after eating, and think of being in Jamaica all-year round.


1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 cup dark rum
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups cola

4 scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 scotch bonnet pepper (or 2 serrano peppers)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

¼ cup jerk marinade
1 cup mayonnaise

1 mango, unripe, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 small jicama, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

2 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80% lean)
reserved jerk marinade

Vegetable oil, for brushing burger patties
6 brioche buns, split
6 slices Havarti cheese
3 scallions, sliced


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high.

To make the rum and cola glaze, combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the jerk marinade, combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

To make the jerk mayonnaise, combine 1/4 cup of the jerk marinade with the mayonnaise in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate. Reserve the remaining jerk marinade to make the patties.

To make the jicama cilantro slaw, combine all of the ingerdients in a medium bowl. Toss to combine, cover and refrigerate.

To make the patties, gently but thoroughly combine the ground chuck with the remaining jerk marinade. Divide into 6 equal portions and form into patties to fit the brioche buns. Brush one side of each patty with vegetable oil and place oiled side down on the grill rack. Cook for 4 minutes until a dark brown crust is formed. Turn and brush each patty with rum and cola glaze and continue to cook for about 4 more minutes for medium. During the last minute of cooking top each patty with a slice of cheese and place buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to lightly toast.

To assemble the burgers, spread jerk mayonnaise on the cut side of each top and bottom bun. Place a cheese-topped patty on each of the bottom buns, top with 1/4 cup of slaw and some sliced scallions. Add the bun tops and serve.