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When you hear the word Jerk, most people immediately think of Jamaica and the many products that are associated with this specialist spice. The name is recognized all over the world and is synonymous with the heat, passion and distinctive flavor that is Jamaican.
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Amoung the 'must do's' for visitors to our island is to experience our hospitality, drink our famous rum, dance to our distictive music and yes, to taste the authentic Jamaican jerk.
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The term jerk can be used to describe both the process of cooking meat, poultry and vegetables, or for the seasonings used (dry or marinate). Jerk can be used on almost everything- even tofu, for the health conscious, and you haven't lived until you have tasted jerked fish :-)
The main ingredient in jerk is scotch bonnet pepper. This pepper is indigenous to Jamaica as is acclaimed by international chefs as one of the hottest and most flavourful of all the peppers in the world.
History revealed that the jerk process was started by the original inhabitants of Jamaica, the tribe known as the tainos but was perfected by former slaves of African heritage, the maroons, in 1655.
In those days, wild boars were persevered with pepper, wrapped in banana leaves and buried in the ground on top of which pimento branches were places. The slow process of cooking the meat resulted in a tasty and tender dish.
Don't be confused with 'pan chicken' vendors that you see along the roadside of major towns and cities here in Jamaica. Make no mistake; the taste is as different as the process. Real, traditional jerk cannot be 'fast-tracked'. It is a slow and sumptuous process.
A trip to Boston, in the parish of Portland is well worth taking, as here on can see how the entire earthy process evolved, just as the tainos and maroons in Jamaica did it.
Points Of Notes
Be sure to read our article on Jamaican Jerk Spice as well.
By the way, do you want to learn how to cook like my grandma did?
I mean the authentic Jamaican? Check out my list of free Jamaican recipes here.
The Jamaica Menu Guide
Return to Jamaican Food from Jamaican Jerk Marinade
Return To My Island Jamaica Home from Jamaican Jerk Marinade
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