Best Jamaican Jerk Stands
Jamaica's unique gift to the culinary world is "jerk," a spicy seasoning-and-cooking technique that's used for chicken, pork, and fish.
The cooking process is simple (over a pimento-wood fire in a pit or oil drum) and very slow (up to four hours), and the secret is the marinade. Every pit master has his or her own secret blend of spices, but the basis of all jerk cooking is the Scotch bonnet—among the hottest of peppers.
Jerk dishes are usually served with roasted breadfruit and cornmeal fritters known as "festival".
Jerk stands first cropped up on the eastern coast, at Boston Bay Beach
, a spot frequented mostly by Jamaicans until jerk was discovered by tourists.
Now you'll find jerk stands all over the island. Whatever the location, the sign of an authentic jerk stand is pimento smoke filtering into the air, a thatched roof, and locals loafing around playing dominoes and drinking Red Stripe beer.
Some of the most popular jerk stands are the Pork Pit
on Gloucester Avenue in MoBay; Scotchie's
(which many consider the best on the island) just east of MoBay
, near the Holiday Inn and Half Moon resorts; the Reggae Jerk Center
right on the beach at the Ritz-Carlton in Rose Hall (); and the Village Jerk Centre
on DaCosta Drive in Ocho Rios
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