Jamaica’s most famous culinary export, Jerk cuisine, has drawn visitors from all over the world looking to sample this delicious style and flavor of cooking. That’s why during the recently concluded JAPEX, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett announced plans for the island’s Jerk Trail, Jamaica’s newest – and spiciest – attraction. Visitors can follow the Trail and eat their way through Jamaica sampling this cuisine and the secret recipes the cooks hold near and dear.
“Jerk cuisine has made its way onto menus worldwide, but we invite travelers to come Jamaica and sample this dish the way it was meant to be experienced – in our laid back, tropical environment,” said Minister Bartlett. “The Jerk Trail creates a culinary adventure featuring the distinct flavors of Jamaica, along with its breathtaking natural beauty and truly unique culture, as visitors travel across the island from Negril, through Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, to Kingston, ending in the home of Jerk – Port Antonio.”
The Trail currently features 10 of the hottest places to try Jerk cuisine in Jamaica:
- Supreme Jerk Centre, Green Island
- Border Jerk Centre, Ramble
- Ultimate Jerk Center, Discovery Bay
- Scotchie’s, Greenwich Park
- Ocho Rios Jerk Center
- Lyming at Walkerswood
- G&B Jerk Centre, Victoria Road
- Pon Di Corner Jerk Center, Black Hill District
- Blueberry Hill Jerk Center
- Unique Jerk Center, Hope Bay
- Boston Jerk, Boston Bay
Contest to Create Jerk Trail Logo
Minister Bartlett also announced plans for a contest inviting Jamaican children who are members of the Tourism Action Club to design the Jerk Trail logo. The logo would be used in all publicity and marketing materials, as well as featured at the various stops along the Trail. More details will be announced soon.
The Origins of Jerk
The technique of “jerking” is thought to have originated with the Maroons, descendents of slaves who were freed from their Spanish masters and lived in the island’s most remote mountain areas. Meat is first marinated for hours in an incendiary mixture of peppers, pimento seeds, scallion, thyme and then cooked over an outdoor pit lined with pimento wood. (The Maroons did the cooking underground to camouflage the smoke.) The low heat allows the meat to cook slowly, retaining the natural juices while becoming infused with the flavor of the wood.