202406 Turtle Bay Bristol Jerk 0068 SML
The 3 key ingredients to our jerk

Here at Turtle Bay, we pour our hearts into our jerk process. From the fresh ingredients we pick, to the marination, to the cooking – it’s a labour of love.

Jerk is all about flavour and there are 3 key ingredients that make up the iconic taste (along with that smoky finish on the grill!) Find out what they are below and then swing by to see how they come together to bring to life our famous, juicy jerk chicken and mouth-watering jerk dishes that are unlike anything else!

Scotch bonnet

Don’t be put off by these little chillis - they are spicy but they also bring a load of sweet, vibrant flavour. And we use just a pinch in our marinade and our gravy for a rich and warming jerk. 

The Scotch Bonnet chilli is closely related to the Habanero and is used a LOT in Caribbean cooking, for its heat and and its super distinctive flavour. Lots of fresh fruit and veg markets will have these in the UK (particularly in bigger cities) and they are distinctly recognisable from their 'bonnet' shape and vibrant red, orange and green colours. Take care when prepping these - Chef Collin actually recommends dipping fingers in oil before chopping to avoid that classic chilli burn - but wearing a pair of gloves is equally as effective! 

Did you know.... Chillis have some great health benefits, mostly down to capsaicin, the chemical found in chillis that gives them their heat. It's known for its anti-inflammatory properties, is a metabolism booster, has an antiseptic effect and triggers endorphins!

Scotch Bonnet Peppers

Fresh Thyme

Is there anything better than the bright, earthy smell of this herb? Honestly - grab a bunch from your local supermarket and take a moment to breathe in it's bright and earthy smell - it'll transport you to rugged,. Also a key ingredient in a lot of Caribbean cooking, thyme not only goes into our jerk marinades and jerk gravy but makes a brilliant garnish too.

If you're cooking our jerk marinade at home, you can use dried thyme but we definitely recommend getting fresh if you can. A little goes a long way, so you can either make a big batch of jerk marinade and then freeze it - or you can keep the thyme in the fridge for quite a while. Top tip: it'll keep better if you wrap it loosely in a damp kitchen towel and then seal in a plastic bag.

Fresh Thyme


Also known as pimento in the Caribbean, this dried berry is incredibly versatile. It's got a very aromatic flavour that’s almost like a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. In fact, people often think when they buy ground allspice that they are buying a mix of these spices - but it's really it's own thing! And it certainly pulls its weight in a jerk marinade and is really key to that fresh, fruity flavour. It's not "spicy" at all - just has a very slight pepperyness to it. You can buy the dried berries whole and crush them a little with a pestle and mortar - we think this gives the freshest flavour, but you can also buy it pre-ground if you want to save a little time.


All these fresh ingredients are combined with many others, like spring onions, garlic and ginger, to form our own marinade, which is left on the meat for 24 hours to really get those flavours in.

If you're tempted to get in the kitchen and give it a go - we've shared our jerk marinade recipe on on our blog - follow along and definitely share your photos with us!

check out Chef Collin's recipe here.

jerk on the grill

Hungry yet?!

If all this talk of jerk has got your mouth-watering, we don’t blame you! Leave the BBQing to us this summer and escape to the Bay for unbelievable flavours paired with your favourite tropical cocktails.

Check out our menu

Want to try it all?

Not sure which dish you want to try? Our Jerk Platter is the perfect sharer to get your jerk fix without having to make any difficult decisions! Featuring our iconic jerk chicken, our sweet jerk BBQ ribs, jerk sausage, charred and buttery jerk corn plus classic sides of rice & peas, slaw and fries, it's a real winner and goes very well with a cold Red Stripe or refreshing Sunset Cooler on a warm summer's day. (or a rainy summer's day for that matter!)

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Jerk platter