What Is Jerk?
At Mama's, we use
Mama Charlotte’s secret recipe.
Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meats are dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican Jerk spice.
Jerk seasoning is traditionally applied to pork and chicken & can also be applied as a cooking method for many different foods; it can be applied to fish, shellfish, beef and sausage.
The Jerk spice phenomenon is believed to have been conceived when the Maroons introduced African meat cooking techniques to Jamaica which were combined with seasonings used by the native Arawak Indians.
Modern Jerk recipes . Jerk seasoning principally relies upon two items: allspice (called “pimento” in Jamaica) and Scotch bonnet peppers other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, and salt.
The term Jerk spice refers to a spice rub. The word Jerk refers to both the spice rub and to the particular cooking technique one theory is that the name derives from the practice of jerking (poking) holes in the meat to fill with spices prior to cooking.
The cooking technique of jerking, as well as the results it produces, has evolved over time from using pit fires to old oil barrel halves as the container of choice. Around the 1960s, Caribbean entrepreneurs seeking to recreate the smoked pit flavour in an easier more portable method came up with a solution to cut oil barrels lengthwise and attach hinges, drilling several ventilation holes for the smoke. These barrels are fired with charcoal, which enhances the spicy smoky taste. Oil barrels are arguably one of the most popular cooking methods for Jerk in Jamaica.
Street-side Jerk Stands or Jerk Stations are frequently found in Jamaica as well as throughout the Caribbean. Jerked meat, usually chicken or pork can be purchased along with hard dough bread, deep fried Cassava Bammy (flatbread) Jamaican fried dumplings (known as Johnny cakes) and festival, a variation of sweet flavoured fried dumplings made with sugar and served as a side.
Jerk cooking has now developed a worldwide following.
Recipes have been passed down through generations and techniques kept secret. Competition and pride runs high among Jerk cooks in Jamaica, but we challenge anyone to beat the wonderful intense flavour of Mama’s Homemade Jerk Marinade