Jerk Pork Jamaican Recipe
Jerk Pork Cook Time
- Prep time: 15 min
- Cook time: 1 hour
- Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
- Yields: 2 - 6 depending on your appetite!
Jerk Pork Recipe Ingredients
- 2 - 3 lbs pork, (roast, tenderloin, shoulder or any part of the pig you prefer)
- 2 tablespoons whole pimento seeds
- 4 - 6 pimento leaves
- 2 stalks scallion
- 1/2 large brown onion
- 4 - 6 garlic cloves
- 1 large branch fresh thyme
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder, (optional)
- 1 small scotch bonnet pepper
- salt to taste
- Rinse and pat dry your pork. Pork should not be cut up but can be slit to get seasoning in between. Have your butcher cut the slab into no more than 3- 4 inch thickness.
- Now for the spice..................
- In a mortar or metal bowl use a pestle to grind pimento seeds. I find that wetting them makes it easier.
- To the bowl add the leaves and pound as well. See photo.
- Add garlic and crush to a paste.
- Grate ginger and add to bowl.
- Add scallion stalks and pound to a pulp.
- Add pepper and pound to a pulp
- Shred onion into bowl.
- Pound everything together to combine.
- Add nutmeg, cinnamon (optional) and salt. Your eyes should be watering by this...lol...
- Hold thyme with both hand rub together to release some of the juices. Rub of extra thyme juice from your hands unto pork (waste nothing).
- Give one last pound to all your seasoning. Using hands make sure everything is combined and add salt. You can taste your seasoning and salt to your preference.
- Using fingers rub you pork thoroughly making sure to get some into the slits you have made.
- Marinate your pork until you are ready to grill or roast in the oven. You may do this 24 hours in advance.
Cooking your jerk pork
Authentically, the pork was roasted over a fire pit but as modern ways of cooking came along it was roasted on a grill and more recently in the oven.
If you use the traditional spice to flavor your meat, cooking it in the oven will give you the same taste.
Here is how to get the authentic taste from the oven.:
- Preheat oven at 350 - 400 degrees
- You can use a grill pan or flat baking tray. Line with aluminium foil and preheat the tray in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove pan and place meat on it, you should hear it sizzle similar to placing it on a grill.
- Place a couple pieces of pimento wood on the bottom of the oven. You should open the windows. The wood may start to smoke. To prepare the wood you need to strip their bark and pre-soak them in water.
- Cook your pork for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven.
- Turn the meat and cook for another ten minutes.
- Then cover with aluminum foil and continue to cook another 20 minutes.
- The meat should be tender by now so turn the oven to broil and cook until nice and brown.
Jerk spice origin
Originally the pork was seasoned with pimento leaves, seeds, pepper and salt, then stored in a wooden or plastic barrel. This method of preserving meat was due to the lack or refrigerators in those days. Our grandfathers would take from the barrel whatever they needed to cook for each day but within a week the meat would start going bad so a new method was developed by placing the seasoned meat in mesh wire over the fireplace. This mesh wire was known as "kreng-kreng". This would smoke and slow cook the meat and so it would last longer.
Subsequently the spices were used to season pork and placed on pimento sticks over a pit fire. Other seasonings had been added to spice up the pork. These spices included nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic, thyme, onion and scallion. Some persons would also add cloves to this combination as well.
The modern jerk spice does not have the pimento leaves and have added a few other spices that are not quite original.