Jerk Turkey Balls

If you love the flavor of Jamaican Jerk Chicken but find it’s not terribly convenient to make or consume offshore, you need to try these great turkey balls made with traditional jerk ingredients. Meatballs, along with meat pies, are the perfect hardy cruising food…packed with protein, carbs and tummy-soothing spices. You can make ahead and refrigerate or freeze. Eaten hot or cold they’re easy to pop into the mouth during rough sea night watches. Some of the meatball and meat pie recipes we’ve featured in the past are Norwegian Meatballs; Italian Meatball Sliders. Jerk Chicken Pies, Jamaican Meat Patties, and Empanadas the Easy Way. So jerk your turkey balls and add these to your offshore provisioning list!

Jerk Turkey Balls

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2 lbs ground turkey (or ground chicken)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2-3 fresh Scotch Bonnet peppers, minced
6 scallions, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons allspice
2+ teaspoons salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp nutmeg

They’re known as Scotch Bonnets in Jamaica, but they are basically the same as habanero peppers. Far spicier than jalapeños and serranos, habanero peppers have a distinct flavor that make jerk seasoning unique.

Preheat your oven to above 350º. The hotter the better. I’m lucky that my Force 10 can reach well over 450º. Although a 450º oven in a sailboat galley in 95º Mid-Atlantic weather is not exactly pleasant. Keep  your crew up on deck.

Mince the garlic, ginger, Scotch Bonnets and scallions. Throw all ingredients into a large bowl and mix, wrists deep, with your hands. It’s best to wear gloves as the Scotch Bonnets might burn your hands, and then burn anything you touch. You can use a big wooden spoon as well.

Roll into larger-than-golfball size meatballs and place on a baking sheet. I like to use Reynolds non-stick foil on the pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until browned.

Serve hot or cold. Or freeze for your next offshore cruise!

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