Scotchies: the Best Jerk Chicken and Pork in Jamaica
We’d been told a lot of things about Scotchies. We were told it had the hottest, kicking-est jerk dishes around. That we had to be sure we asked for ribs and pork belly, because those are the most tender cuts. And that the cooks will not divulge the secret of their spicy sauce, no matter how nice you are to them.
So when we pulled into the Scotchies Too in Ocho Rios, our expectations were high.
First impression: lots of locals eat here—and that’s always a good sign. Let’s face it: Jamaicans live in the land of jerk dishes. They’ve got lots of choice. For the past 13 years, they’ve been choosing Scotchies.
Second impression: this is a no-nonsense place. Scotchies cooks it all out in the open; you can see the racks and racks of chicken and pork slow cooking away under the corrugated metal panels that keep all that succulent moisture in. The smell alone is divine.
We were lucky enough to be invited right into the “kitchen,” where we tried to pry a few secrets out of the fork master, but the best we could get from him was that Scotchies uses a combination of sweet wood and pimento wood to create that smoky flavour, and that they take about an hour and a half for the chicken, and up to four hours for the pork. As for that special Scotchies sauce–his lips were sealed.
And our mouths were drooling, so it was time to eat. With a few expert blows of the knife, the cook chopped up our orders and handed them to us on a fancy dish of tinfoil.
Out in one of the dining huts, we dug right in with our fingers. Did I mention that this is a no-nonsense place? Here’s another secret to eating like a local: always order the dark chicken meat—that has the most flavour. And don’t just automatically add hot sauce to your food. “You can always add, but you can’t take away,” is the Jamaican motto about hot sauce. And after one bite you’ll see Scotchies is plenty hot. After all, it’s named for the super-hot scotch bonnet pepper that’s so popular in Jamaican dishes.
You may need more than one Red Stripe to keep your mouth from breathing fire. Just sayin’.
Rumour has it, and our resident expert says it’s true, if pork is your pleasure, then the location in Ochi is the place to go. It is fresher and less dry because more people order the pork in Ochi than Montego Bay.
Where to find Scotchies: Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Kingston