When one thinks of Jamaica a few things come to mind: white sandy beaches, Reggae music, and Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. Jerk cooking is 100% Jamaican right down to its very core. Fragrant, savory, sweet and tenaciously hot, jerk is truly a part of Jamaica’s history and can be traced back hundreds of years (at least since the middle of the seventeenth century) to the Maroons.
Traditional Jamaican Jerk is a method of cooking pork. Nowadays chicken, seafood or beef can be seasoned in this manner as well. Jerk is a complex blend of seasonings including scallions, onions, scotch bonnet peppers, salt, thyme, allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, garlic, coconut sugar and many other spices. All of its ingredients grow on the island’s fertile green landscape.
Ask a Jamaican what the word “jerk” means they they’ll tell you it refers to the motion in either turning the meat over burning coal or in chopping off the hunks of meat for customers. The explanation refers to the English form of a Spanish word of Indian origin that described a method of preparing pork. That method was then modified and then preserved by the Maroons.
The legendary mecca for Jerk is Boston Beach on the northeastern end of Jamaica. The smell of alluring fragrances of grilled pork, chicken, fish and beef that Hurston wrote about infuse the air. Here most of the vendors have built huts over fires directly on the beach like the Maroons that came before them. The meat is cooked on pimento wood or sheets of metal used as griddles and sometimes covered with plantain leaves. This is where Freddy did his research; he tried every ‘Jerk Hut’ along the coast until he found what he considered the best. This was the recipe that he would attempt to duplicate. It took him many months and several tries to get it right.
If you would like to experience the taste of Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, Freddy has created his own secret recipe for both a wet and dry rub. His dry rub was awarded first place in 2013 at the National BBQ Association for Dry Rub & Seasoning – Caribbean/Jerk & Mediterranean/Herb. We use his recipe for many of the Caribbean dishes that we have on our Dinner Menu.
Contact one of our Catering Coordinators at (623) 580-4653