When one thinks of Jamaica a few things come to mind: white sandy beaches, Reggae music, and Jamaican Jerk. Jerk cooking is 100% Jamaican right down to its very core. Fragrant, savory, sweet and tenaciously hot, jerk is truly a part of Jamaica’s history and can be traced back hundreds of years (or at least since the middle of the seventeenth century) to the Maroons.
During the time of slavery, the British brought slaves to Jamaica in order to guarantee a steady supply of sugar, coffee, cocoa, pimento, and other goods to merchants. A group of these slaves escaped into the mountains and were later named the Maroons. The Maroons would blend an array of spices and herbs that they would later use to marinate and cook the wild game they hunted. This led to the invention of the now famous “Jamaican Jerk”.
Jamaican Jerk is considered a national treasure. Many have attempted to imitate its unique flavor, but none can come even close to replicating it. Much like Reggae music, it is not only something that is distinctly Jamaican, but also an expression of harmony, pride and rich cultural history.