Jerk seasoning … an essential weapon in your BBQ arsenal
The term jerk is said to come from the word charqui, a Spanish term for jerked or dried meat, which eventually became jerky in English.
Another origin is linked to the jerking or poking of the meat with a sharp object, producing holes which were then filled with the spice mixture.
Like most Caribbean islands, Jamaican foods are derived from many different settlement cultures, including British, Dutch, French, Spanish, East Indian, West African, Portugese, and Chinese.
The origins of jerk pork can be traced back to the pre-slavery days of the Cormantee hunters of West Africa through the Maroons, who were Jamaican slaves that escaped from the British during the invasion of 1655.
Jerk cuisine is a combination of culture, authentic flavors and slow cooking. Though the slow-smoke method is an age-old Caribbean practice used to cure meat, by marinating or rubbing meats, seafood, and even vegetables with the right seasonings and then slow grilling them over wood, jerked foods take on a spicy-sweet flavor and tender texture that’s unmatched. Famous for its fiery hot mixture centered around the Scotch bonnet chili pepper, considered one of the world’s hottest, jerk is like a carnival of flavors that come together in your mouth.
Though traditionally cooked in open-ground pits, today jerk cooking tends to be done in half-cut steel drums, turned into makeshift grills, now commonly called Jerk Pits. On any given street corner throughout Jamaica, you will find vendors hovering over smoky fires in jerk huts, slow cooking their uniquely flavored delicacies.