One of the questions that most people ask till this day is, “Where did jerk come from?” The simple answer is Jamaica, but you might have ventured to other Caribbean Islands and heard different. Some historians believe that the Maroons originated this cuisine so that would explain why other islands in the Caribbean would feel like they own it since the Maroons or escaped African Slaves who branched out into other island nations across the Atlantic. The other question I always here is, “What is Jerk?” The simple answer to this is that it’s a way ingredients are cooked, whether is meats or fruits & vegetables even. The way we season these ingredients and cook them is a jerk method, now in addition you will find jerk sauces, and seasoning because the overall method usually consists of a dry rub and wet rub mixture. These can be interchanged or even just either dry rub, it all goes back to preference.
With that being said if you have never tried jerk anything then it’s time you give your tastebuds a new outlook on life. Jerk chicken is one of the most popular jerk dishes, but now you can pretty much jerk anything (yeah I said it). Making your own version of the seasoning and sauce is very common as well. You should know that 2 of the major ingredients found in the original recipe are allspice & scotch bonnet peppers. Just like all great things in life, variations have arisen and pretty much all people with Caribbean roots have great grandmothers who passed down recipes for the best jerk everything.
Some people find this discouraging or see it as a problem, but in reality it just means you get to try out more and more of this amazing cuisine. Now if you are fortunate enough to visit Jamaica or other Caribbean islands then you will be in for a spectacular treat if you find jerk “huts”. These “huts” are usually in clusters and have some of the best food you’ll ever get to taste! Lucky for you not only has Jamaican music and cultural influence spread across the world, but also the cuisine so you don’t have to fly out to get these amazing meals. Just find your neighborhood Caribbean spot and try something different today, or go to your favorite spot and take a friend to have your regular. For those of you feeling really ambitions just try out some new recipes at home even. I’ll post my jerk seasoning recipe below for those of you who are going to try out some home cooking as well.