Who knew the word 'jerk' could represent a savory and delectable appetite opener?
Jerk is an iconic Jamaican cooking method originating from the rural parish of Portland.
This special style of cooking stems from a fusion of African and Taíno cultures in Jamaica.
The Taínos, formerly known as the Arawak people, were indigenous to the Caribbean. Their traditions were passed along to the Maroons, who are known to be the African slaves who fled and established themselves in the mountains of Jamaica.
What the Jerk?
Jerk in Jamaica refers to the way the meat is seasoned, smoked, and grilled.
The popular jerk seasoning recipe includes scotch bonnet peppers, pimento, escallion, garlic, ginger, thyme, and cinnamon.
Chicken, pork, lobster, and shrimp are the most common proteins that are seasoned and coated with these spices. Then, the meat is slowly cooked over a fire or grill, traditionally composed of green pimento wood, burning coals, and covered with zinc and charcoal sticks.
The resulting enveloped smoke is what makes jerk food so flavorful.
Ironically, it has been said that the Maroons cooked this way to preserve and tenderize their meats and, at the same time, minimize the rising smoke that could reveal their location in the mountains where they were hiding.
Today, jerk food is an essential part of Jamaican cuisine and a must-try delicacy enjoyed by people from all over the world.
Jamaica is home to the best jerk and the best jerk centers globally. If you're on the North Coast of the island, Scotchies Jerk Centre is a must-visit.
Scotchies Jerk Centre
Scotchies has been lauded by international chefs for its delicious flavorful food and overall rustic experience.
At their open-air locations, you can enjoy plates of jerk chicken, pork, sausage, fish, and ribs all decorated by festival, bammy, sweet potato, and fries along with their optional house-blend hot sauce.
Scotchies’ first location was in Montego Bay and was opened in 2000 by Tony Rerrie, a jerk food aficionado.
He was taught by a man who lived in Ewarton, who trained at the original Boston Jerk Centre in Port Antonio.
Tony first wanted to call his restaurant “Capsicum”, which is the pepper species that scotch bonnet peppers derive.
Thankfully, a good friend told him that was not an impacting and memorable enough name and, in turn, recommended “Scotchies”.
Scotch bonnets have a heat rating of 100,000–350,000 SHUs (Scoville Heat Units – the measurement of pepper pungency).
In comparison, most jalapeno peppers have a heat rating of 2,500 to 8,000 SHUs.
Scotchies Drax Hall opened in 2006 and then Scotchies Belize in 2014. In 2022, Scotchies operates five locations in Jamaica (Drax Hall in Saint Ann, Falmouth Pier, Fairview, Main Street RoseHall & Coral Gardens in Saint James).
We encourage all of our visitors to taste this unique flavor that attracts people from every corner of Jamaica and the world.
Main Street, Rosehall
Trust us – you will love it and you will certainly want to come back again and again!
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