This peppery, flavorful island classic will win raves from family and friends.
(picture of authentic roadside jerk shack and chef)
The term "jerk" describes a spicy seasoning mix that originated in Jamaica, and is popular throughout the Caribbean in the preparation of grilled meats such as pork and chicken. This fiery barbecue was invented by the Maroons, or runaway slaves, as a means of preserving meats without refrigeration. The more Scotch bonnet peppers you use, the more authentic the flavor. Use one pepper for a mildly spicy dish and four for a very spicy dish. (To approximate the heat of all authentic jerk marinade, you would have to use 12 Scotch bonnet peppers!)
Jerk is ideal for grilled pork tenderloin. In this recipe we butterfly the pork to increase the surface area for the marinade to penetrate. The longer you marinate the pork (up to 24 hours), the more flavorful it will be. Keep as much jerk on the pork as possible, and grill until done. To serve, cut horizontally across the grain into thin slices.
2 cups coarsely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons white vinegar
½ cup coarsely chopped onion
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 4 Scotch bonnet or habañero peppers, seeded and chopped
1 (1½-pound) pork tenderloin trimmed
Place first 15 ingredients in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth.
Slice pork lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Open halves, laying each side flat. Slice each half lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side; open flat. Combine pork and green onion mixture in a dish or large zip-top plastic bag. Cover or seal; marinate in refrigerator 3 to 24 hours. Remove pork from dish or bag; discard remaining marinade.
Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 8 minutes on each side or until meat thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink).
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork).
See Caribbean Pot's Video Recipe for Larger Portions
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"Flavours Beach, Runaway Bay, St Ann, Jamaica" - video by InJamaica