Jerk Pork is one of my favorite Jamaican street foods. It’s just so good. The scotch bonnet peppers and allspice smoked on tender and fatty pork is one of the best indulgences you can get right on the streets of Jamaica or at any jerk stop or jerk center. Jerk pork is usually cooked on pimento wood and leaves over an open coal fire. For this recipe, I cooked the pork in the oven. It was delicious but it doesn’t compare to a slow cook on the grill. Because I made this in winter, I had to opt for the oven over the grill. I will remake this again on the grill during the summer months for the flavor from the pimento wood chips I got on Etsy.
The marinade for jerk pork is super important. Whatever it tastes like is what the meat will taste like. There is an infamous green seasoning trend taking off on social media with lots of herbs including cilantro and parsley. I am sure it is delicious but I would avoid putting that on jerk pork. If you want an authentic taste, you need green onions, onions, thyme, garlic, scotch bonnet, pimento and fresh ginger. Cilantro and parsley, while delicious, have very distinct flavors that will completely change the taste of this dish. Just leave out the traditional green seasoning when making this dish and stick to the basics down below on the ingredient list. Pork likes marinades. The longer you marinate this for, the better. 24 hours is a solid amount of time to get the flavor and tenderness that you want in the meat.
Cook Time and Broiler
Unfortunately with pork, the older the hog, the tougher the meat. Depending on the cut of meat you got from the grocers, you may need more or less time to cook it. A neat trick to help tenderize meat faster in the oven is to tent it with foil paper for three quarters of the cook time. The foil helps to trap the steam in the pan and helps to make the meat tender faster. Once the meat is cooked and tender, move it under the broiler of your oven for 5-8 mins on the low setting. The meat will caramelize and catch a slight sear that will liken it to being cooked on the grill.
Jerk pork is traditionally served with bread, bammy, bread or festival. I am serving it here with “festival” which is fried sweet bread. I will share a recipe for homemade festival bread soon.
For this recipe you will need:
- Baking tray
- Sharp knife
- Large bowl
- 6 lbs of Pork
- 6 scallions
- 5 cloves of garlic
- Handful of fresh thyme
- 3 scotch bonnet peppers
- 15 pimento berries
- 1/2 of a medium onion
- 1 small shallot
- 1 tbsp meat seasoning (Easi Spice)
- 1 piece of fresh ginger (about 2 tbsp)
- 3 tbsp oil
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1.5 tbsp Gravy Master
- (dark food coloring)
- 1 tsp of brown sugar
- Blend scallion, garlic, thyme, scotch bonnet. onion, shallot, ginger in 3 tbsp of oil. Keep the blend a bit chunky so only pulse for a few seconds. You should NOT have a completely smooth paste. Aim to keep your blended mix chunky.
- Crush pimento berries using a mortar and pestle. You may also put your berries in a clean kitchen towel and smash them with a heavy glass bottle or can. Do not mash it into a powder. Leave in large pieces.
- Spoon blended mix onto pork that is already cleaned and pat dried. Add pimento berries.
- Add meat seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, black pepper, gravy master and brown sugar.
- Gently rub seasonings on pork. Cover and marinate for at least 24 hours.
- When ready to cook, scrape seasoning bits away from the surface of the pork and place into deep baking pans. You do not need to add any liquid. The meat will render fat and lots of liquid.
- Tent baking sheet with aluminum foil and bake on 375 degrees for 1.5-2hours until meat is tender.
- Once pork is tender, slice into large chunks and return to a shallow baking pan/cookie sheet.
- Discard fat from pan drippings with a large spoon. Spoon remaining pan drippings on top of pork.
- Place pork under your oven broiler on "Lo" for about 8 mins until there is a bit of char/caramelization and smokiness on the pork.
- Slice pork pieces and serve with your choice of sides.
Jerk BBQ Sauce:
- Boil seasonings in about 1 cup of water after removing from pork.
- Strain out the large pieces of seasoning with a strainer once boiled.
- Add 2 tbsp ketchup, 1 tbsp fish and meat sauce, 1 tbsp scotch bonnet sauce, 1 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp of honey.
- Let sauce reduce and thicken