Driving along the country roads of St. Ann Jamaica, a pleasant smell of food brings a smile to ones face. This smell can be coming from a roadside vendor or one of many local food establishments. Whether you are a local or a tourist, Jerk chicken is a must have whenever you visit this island. If you have visited Jamaica and had have not ventured outside of your hotel, you have not experienced authentic jerk chicken. In early 2017 a visit to a popular hotel led to this conclusion. The area serving jerked chicken was flocked by tourist. I waited in line for 15 minutes to have this sought after meal. As I waited in line for my turn, I noticed that the chicken was not placed on the grill for a long time. “I cannot believe you had me standing in line to have rotisserie chicken placed on a grill with smoked flavor”. The chef replied, “You are Jamaican right?’ You know jerk chicken takes time to prepare and we do not have that time”. I just shock my head and walked away.
Originated from the first inhabitants of Jamaica, (Arawak Indians/Tianos) who always prepared their meat by roasting it over fire. Dried tree logs and trunks were used to create the fire.
The chicken is cut into quarters, washed with vinegar or lemon juice, then dried and season with dried crushed pimento berries, onion, salt garlic and scotch bonnet pepper.
The seasoning is left over night to marinate. If all the items are not available to you, walkerswood has a mixture ready for use.
The seasoning is then brushed off the chicken. The chicken is then place on the grid over fire coals for about 45 minutes. During the cooking process, the chicken is sprinkled with Red Stripe. It remains on the fire until tender.
Jerked chicken is served with either rice and peas, bread, roasted breadfruit.
This meal is served for birthdays, family reunions, holiday functions, wedding and Christmas dinner.