Jamaican’s Favourite Jerk Seasoning

Ever wonder how jerk cooking got such a crazy name?

I mean, really, why is such a delicious combination of flavours and heat called “jerk”?

The answer really depends on who you ask.

Some will tell you the name comes from the practice of poking—or jerking—holes in the meat so it can be filled with spices.

Others say it has Spanish origins and comes from their word for dried meat: charqui. Say it five times fast and it starts to sound like “jerky,” right? But you must never confuse Jamaican jerk with beef jerky. That’s just wrong.

Either way, jerk cooking is as authentically Jamaican as reggae music, rum, and everybody saying “yah, mon.”

At the Walkerswood Jerk Hut on the Good Hope Estate, we got a first-hand lesson in how to make jerk seasoning. The secret to this sweet yet oh-so hot blend is all in the special combination of ingredients, which all grow right here on the island. Scotch bonnet peppers, pimento (AKA allspice), scallions, thyme, and many other spices are all ground together, then used as either a rub or a marinade for the meat.

How’s it taste? Well, we found out right away by enjoying some jerk chicken cooked right there at the hut. The side order of festival—it’s like a fried corn bread—kept our breath from setting off fire alarms.

A bottle of Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning is one of the straight-from-Jamaica treats you have to take home with you to cook up memories of hot happy times—because, let’s face it, we can’t all live in Jamaica.

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