Jamaica and the Jerk

In Jamaica, there’s relaxing reggae music, cool steel drum beats and beautiful beaches, but I must say one of the best things about the island is their food.

Steel Drum Performance on the Beach

Festival, plantain, doubles….they’re all so good, but one of my top favourite Jamaican dishes is jerk chicken with rice n’ peas smothered in a ton of oxtail sauce. It’s spicy and super flavourful, like having a party in your mouth.

Jerk chicken, coleslaw, corn, rice n’ peas, meat skewer and coco bread

For the most part, jerk seasoning is quite spicy and isn’t really for the faint of heart. It originated in Jamaica and is used to season meat like pork or chicken. It can come in the form of a dry rub or a wet marinade. Like most recipes, the ingredients vary depending on the chef but it is normally a combination of spices (all spice, clove, cinnamon, ginger, etc.) and scotch bonnet peppers or habanero peppers which is the thing that gives it a kick. While these peppers may be small in stature, don’t underestimate them because they can definitely pack a punch!

Even though nothing compares to homemade food, I am by no means an expert in Jamaican cuisine so I have to rely on pre-made jerk sauces and rubs. Thankfully, I have discovered some good sauces. And now that it’s BBQ season (it’s also National Barbecue Month!), we can now get the grill going.

BBQ’ing some jerk chicken

Doesn’t it look good? Jerk chicken smells and tastes great being on the BBQ because it acquires some of the smokey flavour, but it’s also good to have some sides to complement the picante meat.

Jerk chicken, grilled veggie kebobs and macaroni salad

Side note: hot peppers can be dangerous to handle if you’re not careful. Even after washing your hands meticulously a thousand times, some of the spicy oils can remain on your hands. As a precaution, avoid rubbing your eyes or wear gloves otherwise you will have to face the wrath of the burning pepper sensation. Yikes!





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