Jerk at Scotchies. Why can’t I have a jerk pit in my place???

Jerk chicken is believed to have been conceived when the Maroons introduced African meat-cooking techniques to Jamaica, which were combined with native Jamaican ingredients and seasonings used by the Amerindians.The method of smoking meat for a long period of time served two practical purposes: keeping insects away from the raw meat, and preserving it for longer once it has been cooked. At most places, the recipe for jerk sauce is a closely guarded secret, but it usually contains peppers, onions, pimento, ginger and chili.

Scotchies, located on the east side of Montego Bay on the North Coast Highway, has long been a favorite jerk stop for travelers and of course tons of friends recommended it, but it was too far out for us to bother, so instead we headed to Scotchies Too. You can always rely on a copycat or another branch when you’re dealing with something successful in the islands! 🙂

Located in Ocho Rios, the popular jerk restaurant opened in late 2006 and offers all the treasures of the pit: jerk pork, jerk chicken, jerk sausage, you name it. Now I have had some decent jerk chicken, and Toronto does offer some good Jerk Chicken – my fave place is the Jerk Spot on Richmond St and Peter St – but I actually like their rice and peas more than the chicken with tons of gravy. But for authentic jerk chicken, I really cannot contest what we had from the Scotchies Too jerk pit.

The food at Scotchies is sold as side orders so you can pick what is on your plate. They have plenty of open air dining in the shade where you can enjoy your meal and the garden around you has tons of beautiful flowers, with hummingbirds all around – you can’t really ask for better than that!

They serve you in tons of aluminium foil, so when you get back to your table, the table will look something like this:

Looking at the garden and the lineup from the shed provided some respite for thought.

However going back to the food, the jerk pit they have there is definitely not the most high tech thing they have going but when is the next time you will see a pit covered with pimento wood and constantly rotated so that the burning embers will cook your meat. It’s definitely not your typical Broil King or Webers BBQ

Note that the meat is barely spiced and raw when they throw it on the pit, unlike what you are bound to see in your typical “Jerk” house, where the meat is almost boiled in the Jerk seasoning. However, most of us will not have access to Pimento wood and a pit for smoking and cooking the meat. The menu wasn’t too varied, since it consisted of Jerk Chicken, Pork, Lamb with some roasted Breadfruit, Sweet Potatoes or Yam and you can get Festival and the soup of the day. That is pretty much it…. but it goes back to a theory of mine, the best places always have a limited menu: they do only a couple things, but the things that they do, are done right!

As for pricing: I ordered, 3/4 pound of chicken, 1/4 pound of pork, 1 festival and two bottled sodas (of course which came from Trinidad), which came out to $1300 Jamaican (around $15 US). When you get your receipt you walk down to the open cooking area and hand it to one of the guys who gets your meal ready. They literally take your meat and cut it up with the huge meat cleaver right in front of you on a tree stump! Quite typical, right? Only in the islands…:)

Anyway belly full and time to roll on to Dunn’s River Falls…..

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About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at [email protected]

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