How To Cook Jerk Vegetable Skewers On A Charcoal Grill

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By Christopher Spiker

You’re about to embark on a delicious adventure that combines the bold flavors of Jamaican jerk seasoning with the smoky essence of charcoal grilling. In “How To Cook Jerk Vegetable Skewers On A Charcoal Grill,” you’ll discover a step-by-step guide to preparing vibrant, mouthwatering vegetable skewers. With a friendly touch, this article will walk you through marinating your veggies in tantalizing spices, assembling the perfect skewers, and grilling them to perfection on your trusty charcoal grill. Get ready to impress your friends and family with this flavorful, healthy dish that’s sure to be a hit at your next barbecue! Have you ever wondered how to bring the fiery and aromatic flavors of Jamaican jerk seasoning to your next barbecue? Whether you’re a vegetarian or just looking to introduce more veggies into your grilling repertoire, jerk vegetable skewers are a fantastic and flavorful option. Imagine the satisfaction of biting into perfectly grilled, seasoned veggies that have been kissed by the smoky goodness of a charcoal grill—sounds amazing, right?

Well, get ready because we’re diving into the art of making mouthwatering jerk vegetable skewers on a charcoal grill. We’ll be covering everything from selecting the right vegetables to mastering the jerk seasoning and keeping your charcoal grill hot and ready for action. By the end of this guide, you’ll have all the know-how to impress your family and friends with a dish that brings a taste of the Caribbean to your backyard.

How To Cook Jerk Vegetable Skewers On A Charcoal Grill

Why Choose Jerk Seasoning?

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s take a moment to appreciate what makes jerk seasoning so special. Traditional Jamaican jerk seasoning is a symphony of bold spices including allspice, thyme, and Scotch bonnet peppers. Marinating your veggies in this flavorful concoction brings a wonderful heat and complexity to your skewers that’ll leave you craving more.

Why is Jerk Seasoning Perfect for Vegetables?

Veggies have a natural sweetness that pairs beautifully with the spicy, aromatic notes of jerk seasoning. The result is a harmonious balance that tantalizes your taste buds. Plus, the marinade helps to tenderize the vegetables, making them even more delectable when grilled.

Selecting the Right Vegetables

Every great dish starts with high-quality ingredients. The types of vegetables you choose can make or break your jerk vegetable skewers.

Ideal Vegetables for Grilling

Here are some veggies that are a match made in grilling heaven:

Vegetable Why It’s Great for Grilling
Bell Peppers Sweet and colorful, adding both flavor and aesthetic appeal
Zucchini Softens well and absorbs marinade beautifully
Cherry Tomatoes Bursts of juicy sweetness as they grill
Red Onions Adds a nice bite and caramelizes well
Mushrooms Absorbs flavors like a sponge and grills to perfection

Tips for Prep Work

Make sure to cut your vegetables into similar-sized pieces for even cooking. Aim for about 1 to 1.5-inch chunks. This size ensures that they cook evenly and hold their shape during grilling.

Making the Jerk Marinade

Now let’s talk about the star of the show—jerk marinade. You can find pre-made jerk seasoning blends in many grocery stores, but making your own will give you a more authentic and customizable experience.

Ingredients You’ll Need

For a fantastic homemade jerk marinade, you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4-6 Scotch bonnet peppers (adjust based on your heat tolerance)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • Salt to taste

How to Make the Marinade

  1. Toast the Spices: In a dry skillet, lightly toast the allspice berries and black peppercorns over medium heat until fragrant. Then, grind them into a fine powder.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: Combine the ground spices with dried thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  3. Blend Ingredients: In a blender or food processor, combine the dry mixture with Scotch bonnet peppers, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, olive oil, lime juice, brown sugar, green onions, and salt. Blend until smooth.

Marinate the Vegetables

Place your chopped vegetables in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the veggies, making sure each piece is well-coated. Let them marinate for at least an hour, but for best results, let them sit overnight in the refrigerator.

How To Cook Jerk Vegetable Skewers On A Charcoal Grill

Preparing Your Charcoal Grill

Grilling over charcoal introduces a smoky depth that is hard to replicate with other grilling methods. Let’s set up your grill for these fantastic skewers.

Lighting the Charcoal

You want a medium-hot fire for these skewers. Here’s a simple method to light your grill:

  1. Chimney Starter: Fill your chimney starter with charcoal and place it over a few crumpled pieces of newspaper. Light the paper to start the coals.
  2. Wait for Ashing: Once the coals are lightly ashed over (about 15-20 minutes), pour them into the grill.

Setting Up for Direct and Indirect Heat

You’ll want to create a two-zone fire. Here’s how:

  1. Pile the Coals: Push the coals to one side for high, direct heat.
  2. Grill Grate: Place the grill grate over the coals and preheat it for about 5 minutes.
  3. Clean and Oil: Clean and oil the grill grate to prevent sticking.

Assembling and Grilling the Skewers

With your veggies marinated and grill ready, it’s time to start grilling.

Skewer the Vegetables

Use sturdy skewers, either metal or soaked wooden ones, to thread the vegetables. Aim to alternate different types of veggies to ensure an even cook and a colorful presentation.

Grilling Technique

Here’s a step-by-step:

  1. Place Skewers: Start by placing the skewers over the direct heat zone. Grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side to get a nice char.
  2. Move to Indirect Heat: Once they have a good sear, move them to the indirect heat zone to finish cooking. This should take an additional 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your veggies.
  3. Check Doneness: The vegetables should be tender but still have some bite. Use a fork to check their texture.

Basting with Extra Marinade

During grilling, you can baste the skewers with any leftover marinade to enhance the flavors. Make sure to do this during the last few minutes of grilling to avoid any food safety risks.

Serving Your Jerk Vegetable Skewers

Once your skewers are beautifully grilled, it’s time to serve them up!

Perfect Pairings

Jerk vegetable skewers can be served as a main dish or a side. Pair them with:

Dish Why It’s a Great Pairing
Rice and Peas Traditional Jamaican side that balances the heat
Mango Salsa Adds a sweet and fruity contrast
Grilled Pineapple Further deepens the tropical flavor profile
Fresh Salad Brings a refreshing crunch to the meal

Garnishing Ideas

A final squeeze of lime juice, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, or some toasted coconut flakes can elevate your skewers even further.

Tips and Troubleshooting

Grilling isn’t always foolproof, so here are some tips and common issues to watch out for.

Common Pitfalls

  • Vegetables Sticking: Ensure the grill grate is clean and well-oiled.
  • Uneven Cooking: Arrange veggies evenly on the skewers and manage the heat zones properly.
  • Over-Charring: Keep a close eye on the skewers and move them to indirect heat as needed.

Pro Tips

  1. Prep Ahead: Marinate veggies the night before to save time on grilling day.
  2. Keep a Spray Bottle: A water-filled spray bottle can help manage flare-ups.
  3. Monitor the Heat: Use a grill thermometer to keep an eye on your grill’s temperature.

The Joy of Grilling

There’s something magical about gathering around a grill with loved ones, the air filled with the enticing aromas of smoky, spicy goodness. Jerk vegetable skewers are not only a delicious addition to your grilling menu but are also a celebration of vibrant flavors and healthy eating.

Experiment and Enjoy

Feel free to experiment with different vegetables and levels of spiciness to suit your taste. Grilling is as much about creativity and enjoyment as it is about technique.


Now you’re all set to make jerk vegetable skewers that are sure to wow anyone lucky enough to taste them. From the vibrant, spicy jerk marinade to the smoky perfection of a charcoal grill, every step in this process contributes to a mouthwatering final product.

Gather your ingredients, fire up that grill, and get ready to enjoy the amazing flavors that Jamaican cuisine has to offer—right in your own backyard. Happy grilling!