Jerk Plantains: A Perfect Summer BBQ Side Dish

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By Christopher Spiker

You’re always on the lookout for exciting and delicious additions to your summer BBQs, and jerk plantains might just be your next favorite side dish. Imagine the sweet and spicy flavors melding together as perfectly caramelized plantains grace your picnic table. With a hint of heat and a touch of sweetness, these jerk plantains complement your grilled meats beautifully, adding a tropical twist that everyone will love. Get ready to impress your guests and elevate your BBQ game with this simple yet flavorful dish. Have you ever wondered how to elevate your summer BBQ game with a unique and flavorful side dish? Look no further than Jerk Plantains! These delightful tropical treats are not just tasty but also bring a burst of Caribbean flavor to any meal. Intrigued? Stick around to learn everything you need to know about making Jerk Plantains your go-to dish for summer BBQs.

Jerk Plantains: A Perfect Summer BBQ Side Dish

What Are Jerk Plantains?

Jerk Plantains are plantains that have been marinated and spiced with traditional jerk seasoning, known for its robust and aromatic flavors. This dish combines the subtle sweetness of ripe plantains with the fiery kick of jerk spices, creating a perfect balance that’s sure to please any palate.

The Origins of Jerk Seasoning

Jerk seasoning is a staple of Jamaican cuisine, characterized by its spicy, tangy, and aromatic flavors. The blend typically includes allspice, scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, garlic, and other spices. The seasoning can be used for various meats, vegetables, and in this case, plantains! Over time, it has gained global popularity, thanks to its bold and vibrant taste.

Why Choose Plantains?

Many of you might think, “Why use plantains instead of regular bananas?” Well, here’s the scoop: Plantains are a versatile ingredient that can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. They are more starchy than bananas, making them ideal for grilling, frying, and baking.

Nutritional Benefits of Plantains

Plantains aren’t just tasty; they’re also packed with nutrients. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, and B-6, and are rich in potassium and magnesium. Here’s a quick overview:

Nutrient Amount Per 100g % Daily Value (DV)
Calories 122 kcal 6%
Carbohydrates 31.9 g 10%
Fiber 2.3 g 9%
Protein 1.3 g 3%
Vitamin A 1127 IU 23%
Vitamin C 18.4 mg 20%
Potassium 499 mg 14%

Versatility in Cooking

From crispy tostones to sweet maduros, plantains can transform into countless delicious dishes. Whether you’re roasting, frying, boiling, or grilling, plantains adapt well to various cooking methods. For our Jerk Plantains, we’ll be grilling them to perfection, locking in all those mouth-watering flavors.

Jerk Plantains: A Perfect Summer BBQ Side Dish

Ingredients You’ll Need

To make this dish, you’ll need a few key ingredients, most of which you may already have in your pantry. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Marinade:

  • 4 ripe plantains
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For Grilling:

  • Olive oil for brushing the grill
  • Freshly chopped cilantro (optional, for garnish)
  • Lime wedges (optional, for serving)

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Jerk Plantains

Ready to get cooking? Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make the perfect Jerk Plantains.

Step 1: Preparing the Marinade

First, you want to make the jerk marinade. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and all the spices. Mix well until a thick paste forms.

Step 2: Preparing the Plantains

Peel the plantains and cut them into 1/2 inch thick slices. You can also cut them lengthwise if you prefer larger pieces. Place the cut plantains into a large bowl and pour the marinade over them. Make sure the plantains are well-coated. Let them marinate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to soak in.

Step 3: Preheating the Grill

While the plantains are marinating, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grill grates with olive oil to prevent sticking.

Step 4: Grilling the Plantains

Place the marinated plantains on the preheated grill. Grill each side for about 3-4 minutes or until you see nice grill marks and the plantains become tender but not mushy.

Step 5: Serving

Once the plantains are done grilling, transfer them to a serving platter. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges for an extra burst of flavor.

Jerk Plantains: A Perfect Summer BBQ Side Dish

Pairing Suggestions

Wondering what to serve with your Jerk Plantains? Here are some pairing ideas to create a well-rounded and delectable BBQ experience.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Jerk Chicken: The classic choice that goes hand-in-hand with Jerk Plantains for a full jerk-flavored meal.
  • BBQ Ribs: Sticky, smoky ribs pair beautifully with the sweet and spicy kick of the plantains.
  • Grilled Fish: Especially something like mahi-mahi or snapper can balance the spicy plantains with their mild flavors.

Side Dishes

  • Rice and Peas: This traditional Caribbean dish complements the plantains perfectly.
  • Coleslaw: A creamy and tangy slaw offers a refreshing counterpoint to the spices.
  • Cornbread: Its sweetness and texture make it an excellent addition to your BBQ spread.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some handy tips and tricks to ensure your Jerk Plantains turn out perfectly every time.

Choosing Your Plantains

The ripeness of the plantains plays a crucial role. For this recipe, you’ll want to use ripe plantains, identifiable by their yellow skin with black spots. They should be slightly soft to the touch.

Adjusting the Spice Level

Jerk seasoning can be quite spicy. If you’re not a fan of too much heat, feel free to reduce the amount of cayenne pepper or skip it altogether. You can also add a touch more brown sugar to balance the flavors.

Alternative Cooking Methods

No grill? No problem! You can also bake the plantains in a preheated oven at 400°F for about 20-25 minutes or until they are tender and caramelized.

Jerk Plantains: A Perfect Summer BBQ Side Dish


Have some questions? We’ve got you covered!

How should I store leftover Jerk Plantains?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them in an oven or on a skillet to maintain their texture.

Can I make the marinade in advance?

Absolutely! You can prepare the marinade up to a week in advance and store it in the refrigerator. This makes it even easier to whip up Jerk Plantains on short notice.

Are there any vegetarian main courses that go well with Jerk Plantains?

Yes, grilled portobello mushrooms, veggie skewers, or a hearty bean salad would complement Jerk Plantains wonderfully.


So there you have it! A full guide to making Jerk Plantains, a delicious and unique side dish that is perfect for your next summer BBQ. With their irresistible combination of sweet and spicy flavors, Jerk Plantains are sure to become a staple in your grilling repertoire. Happy grilling!

Jerk Plantains: A Perfect Summer BBQ Side Dish