Nearshore Americas

The Secret to True Jamaican Jerk

Jamaica. The name instantly evokes an image of pristine waters embraced by immaculate sandy shores, with a year-round welcoming sun and hospitable people. But there’s much more to this humble island of 2.8 million inhabitants. An innate creativity and abundance of natural resources allow for an extensive selection of exquisite and remarkably unique products such as Jamaican jerk.

A delectable and hugely popular dish, jerk is one of the best representations of Jamaican cuisine, which is renowned for its flavors and spice. Jerk refers to both the spice rub (or marinade) – which is comprised of a distinct blend of herb and spices, usually applied to a meat of choice such as chicken, pork, fish, or lamb – and the particular style of cooking.

Although recipes may vary, six key ingredients remain intrinsic to an authentically Jamaican jerk spice: pimento seeds (all-spice), thyme, scallion, onion, garlic and most importantly scotch bonnet pepper. Other popular choices include cumin, cloves and nutmeg. There is really nothing subtle about a good jerk meal: you will experience an explosion of flavours, spice, and succulence.

Scotchies Jerk Centre

With four locations across the island in Kingston, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Discovery Bay, Scotchies Jerk Centre has been pleasing the palates of locals and visitors alike with mouthwatering jerk and various other Jamaican dishes since the year 2000.

The unique al-fresco environment sets the bar above the rest; patrons can sit back under thatched-roofs and enjoy their meal seated on barrel stools around rustic wooden tables. Locations include a full-service bar ready to serve up your favorite spirits and drinks.

While jerk is commonly cooked over a charcoal fire in a reused metal drum called a jerk pan, the meat at Scotchie’s is cooked atop logs from the pimento tree and covered with zinc sheets – part of their secret to a succulent, bone-deep flavor.

With offerings such as jerk chicken, sausage, lamb, and their biggest hit, jerk pork, it’s truly a meat-lovers paradise. Not to worry, pesco-vegetarians can also enjoy a delectable roast fish, soup du jour, or any of the delicious side offerings: roasted yam, sweet potato, breadfruit, and the most popular, festival – a slightly sweet dough made from flour, hand-rolled, and deep-fried to golden-brown perfection.

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So remember, on your next visit to Jamaica, be sure to stop by one of their four locations and give your taste buds a treat with one of the island’s most treasured and coveted culinary offerings.

Stephen Charoo

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