Written by NZINGHA
When you say Jerk in reference to food people automatically think of the Caribbean and in particular Jamaica where this “flavor” of BBQing was given birth.
The Indigenous Native Americans were truly the inventors of the open pit barbecuing that we have come to know well (more on this shortly). The combining of Indian and Moor people, the circumstances, the spices and wildlife were all founded in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.
Jerk is a derivative of a Spanish word that comes via the Peruvian word “Charqui”, aka “Jerky” (Peru also settled by the European, Spanish) . This Chaqui is a seasoned and cured dried meat.
Some currently say “Jerking” means to poke holes in the meat so the spices could permeate the meat. Some say its the movement you do over the grilling flame whilst cooking. Others say its the reaction you have upon tasting the food. Jerk style cooking can now be found all over the Caribbean.
Pictured here is my Jerk Pork Tenderloin w Coconut Jerk Sauce * Coconut Plantain Funchi * Dancing Callaloo | Photo & Food by NZINGHA for ZLounge: Nouvelle Caribbean Cuisine
The history of the Caribbean has shown that before Africans were captured and forced into slavery there were Indigenous Native American Nations called Carib, Ciboney, Arawak and Taino that were equally cruelly enslaved in their own land that we now know as the Caribbean.
Some of those Indians escaped into the mountains along with the Moors (Africans that were bought there later), some escaped by boat and others died under the cruel methods of the European settlers.
The escaping Indians and Africans went into the the mountains of Jamaica to take refuge and live. There the people having to survive in the uncultivated part of the land began to live on the land and all the foods available there.
The wild game they would find in these mountains became their sustenance. And now with the Indians and Africans together surviving they combined their methods of preserving these meats and preserving them.
Here is my “Zing Ting Coconut Jerk Sauce”
The main ingredient in preserving and seasoning these meats that is indigenous to the plant life in Jamaica, was and currently is Pimento. Also known as Allspice (a name given by the British) because of its all encompassing Flavor of Clove, Cinnamon and Nutmeg. It’s also known as Jamaica Pepper, Pepper, Myrtle Pepper,and Pimenta.
Jerk can be in a liquid form or dry form(dry rub). Both methods give amazing results. The way in which we currently preserve meat is by freezers but in the years 1492- maybe even the 1900 did not see methods of freezing especially in the Caribbean. Think about it! All that food had to be preserved somehow. I’m sure there were ways and methods to keep the food in cooler places all by trial and error. So these methods of Charqui and Barbeque was sustainable.
The history of the Caribbean is as rich as its flavors and people. All the world now converges in these Islands to find respite from its “civilized world”. Dining on the flavors of the eclectic mix of Native American, African, European, Indian and Chinese (more on this mix in a later post). Once a place of unrest now becomes “Paradise”.
Oh, our BBQing ancestors would be proud of us now!!! It’s not just about survival through the food but its now almost a luxury!!! Who could know in this small pice of the world would hold captive a Unique cuisine that would captivate the world over
Here’s my “Bake and Jerk Pork w Zing Ting Coconut Jerk Sauce and Caribbean Slaw”
Here’s my house special “NZINGHA’S Caribbean Jerk Pork Fried Rice w Zing Ting Coconut Jerk Sauce
Here below are a few of my fave Jerkin’ clips
Jerk from my favorite Jerk House Scotchies. When I was in Kingston last year this was my spot!!!!
This is John Bull’s version of oven roasted Jerk Chicken…
Keith Lorren’s version of Jerk Chicken
Chris from Caribbean Pot.com demonstrating on the Grill Jerk Pork Lion
The Jerk Festival…everyTING Jerk
Let the Jerk Challenge Begin!!!
Feelin Hot Dancing Bottles…