While in some cultures Jerk refers to a meat, which lead to what we know commonly as Jerky (dried meat), the term Jerk as it is mostly used in Britain today refers to the Jamaican Jerk spice rub. The history of Jerk Food declares that this Jerk spice rub that is used to create Jerk Food was traditionally used to flavour chicken or pork, however today in modern cooking it is used with all sorts of other foods such as beef, lamb, shellfish, and even tofu.
This form of Jerk Food originated in Jamaica, where the meat was traditionally treated with the hot and spicy Jerk rub, either in a dry spice form, or a wet marinade. This Jamaican Jerk spice is a combination of an allspice, and the renowned Scotch Bonnet peppers, although other ingredients such as cloves, nutmeg, garlic, ginger and brown sugar are sometimes added too. Many chefs, brands, and households are known to have developed their own secret Jerk recipe over time.
Some say that what is known as a traditional Jamaican Jerk sauce, actually has it’s origins in Africa. Jerk pork has been traced back to West Africa’s pre-slavery days, and it has been said that when the British invaded Jamaica in 1655, a large number of African slaves escaped into Jamaica’s mountainous regions, where they integrated with the locals. However, despite having it’s roots in Africa, Jamaican Jerk Food is something that has been developed over hundreds of years and made their own.
Over these numerous years, it is obvious that particular spices have come and gone, depending on what was available, however the Scotch Bonnet hot pepper is something that has remained a constant, providing the heat and the kick we know today that is guaranteed from eating Jerk Food. At Jerk N Jollof Bar and Grill, Surrey’s Jerk Food restaurant, you will find a mixture of traditional Jerk Food, alongside other Caribbean and West African dishes.