Life & Culture

The Jamaican National Dish

Aug 07, 2022 ByAndrew Parker

Jerk chicken is a hot, grilled meat meal popular across the Caribbean but most commonly associated with Jamaica. The term “jerk” refers to a culinary technique in which the primary ingredient is coated in spices and simmered over a fire or grill typically made of green pimento wood placed over burning coals. The resulting smoke is essential to the dish’s flavor and is frequently chicken. However, it can also be beef, pork, goat, boar, seafood, or vegetables. The Taino created the jerk method and passed it down to enslaved Africans, who adapted it to make jerk chicken. The English term “jerk” comes from the Spanish word “charqui,” which describes dried beef strips akin to modern jerky.

You should clean the chicken with lime or lemon juice, and any extra fat should be cut off before drying with paper towels. Make an effort to drain the chicken with as much water as possible. You may make your jerk sauce (marinade) with the chicken. Garlic and Scotch bonnet pepper should be added to a pan with olive oil over medium heat and sauteed for 4 minutes. After that, add the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, and stir gently in the skillet until it thickens; remove the skillet’s innards and let it cool. Blend the mixture for 30 seconds in a food processor while adding the thyme, ginger, white pepper, scallions, onion, soy sauce, and beef bouillon.

Jerk chicken ready to eat

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For optimal taste, rub your chicken with the marinade. Put your chicken in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight in a ziplock bag or covered dish. Put your chicken in a foil-lined baking dish. Before putting the chicken in the baking pan, add a wire so that any extra fat will drip into the pan. Chicken should be baked for about 20 minutes until crisp and browned. In your baking pan, turn the chicken pieces over on all sides. And bake it for another 20 minutes. You may use the remaining marinade and cook it for around 10 minutes in the baking pan’s extra fat. This results in a tasty gravy or dipping sauce.