Jamaican Food From An Editor's Travels
King Kong, one of the cooks at Scotchies, tends to jerk chicken on the grill. The process of jerking started out of necessity centuries ago by the Maroons, escaped African slaves who evaded capture by the British by fleeing deep into the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. The beauty of jerk lies in the spectacularly hot and flavorful marinade. Its reliance on salt and hot peppers helped preserve any wild game the Maroons caught while on the run. Tangy lime juice, fresh scallions and fragrant thyme, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg add heady flavor to the meat. It’s downright addictive. Jerk is traditionally cooked on logs of pimento wood (pimento is the Jamaican name for allspice) over a fire, as is shown here. Thick sheets of corrugated zinc are laid on top of the meat to trap the smoke, which adds a deeper flavor to the jerk.
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