Finger licking food: The Jamaican jerk pork you could try out at home

Sunday May 02 2021
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Jamaican fried pork. PHOTO/FILE

By A. Kadumukasa Kironde II

Do it yourself: The Jamaican jerk pork you could try out at home.

Serves 4 to 6
Jerk is a style of cooking that is native to Jamaica whereby the meat is dry rubbed or doused in a wet marinade combined with a hot spice mixture known as Jamaican jerk spice. 

In the last couple of decades, jerk has taken on a new character hitherto unheard of and spread far beyond the shores of Jamaica and can be found in several places in London, Miami, New York, Boston, Massachusetts and other places. 

Traditional Jamaican jerk would be made with a whole hog that would be boned and spread open like a book while at the same time it would be marinated with a wickedly fiery jerk seasoning and then smoke grilled over smoldering all spice wood. 

In order to achieve the right flavour, it is essential that one uses Scotch Bonnet chilies that are locally available in Uganda and are known as masavu or mbuzi. 

Ingredients
1 kg boneless pork with the thin layer of fat left on the meat. 
6 to 12 Scotch Bonnet chilies (or more depending on your appetite for chili. For milder effect, feel free to remove the seeds from the chilies) 
2 bunches spring onions using both the white and the green parts, timed and cut into small pieces.
2 pieces thinly sliced fresh ginger
6 cloves peeled garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
3 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 tablespoon Royco either beef or chicken 
¼ cup distilled white vinegar 
4 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for basting 
Usually jerk pork would be accompanied with Jamaican fried bread and fire roasted bread fruit.

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Method
1. Cut the meat up into  good   size strips and place it in a large non-reactive bowl and set aside while you prepare the seasoning.
2.    Combine the chilies, spring onions, ginger and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the thyme, Royco, allspice, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, vinegar, soy sauce, oil and salt to taste and process to a smooth puree. 
3.    Remove the marinade from the food processor and using a rubber spatula (you can also use your hands  while wearing gloves) spread the seasoning mixture over the meat making sure that it is well marinated. Cover and let the meat marinade for a good 4 hours while overnight in the fridge would be your best bet. 
4.    If you are using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium. If you are using a gas grill, place the wood chips in the smoker box and preheat the grill to high until the smoke appears and then lower it to medium. 
5.    When you are ready to cook and you are using charcoal, toss the wood chips on the coals. Get the grill ready and oil it and arrange the strips of pork on the hot grate and grill. Using tongs, turn the pork and baste now and again with oil until it is nicely browned on both sides and cooked through.  This should take no more than  20 minutes and when not turning the meat, keep the grill covered to hold in the smoke. 
6.    Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes and then cut the meat into thin diagonal slices and serve at once. 

The deal
Method Traditional Jamaican jerk would be made with a whole hog that would be boned and spread open like a book while at the same time it would be marinated with a wickedly fiery jerk seasoning and then smoke grilled over smoldering all spice wood. 

#Recipe: Jamaican fried bread, aka, festivals 

In Jamaica, deep fried breads are the traditional accompaniment to Jamaican jerk chicken or pork. The dough is usually rolled out and fried in the shape of a cigar, however, for a more fanciful presentation you can braid the dough into twists. 
The main difference between corn meal and corn flour is the texture. The former is coarse and gritty with a yellowish colour, while the latter is a finer powder that is normally white. 

Ingredients
2 cups wheat flour
¼ cup corn meal
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
¾ cup evaporated milk, or more if needed
2 cups of good quality oil for deep frying, or as needed.

Method
1. Combine the flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter, using two knives. Alternatively, mix the ingredients in a food processor fitted with a chopping blade. The mixture should feed crumbly, like sand. Add enough evaporated milk to obtain a stiff but pliable dough. Stir just to mix.
2.    Pinch off walnut size pieces of dough and roll them between your palms to make long thin ropes. 
You ought to have about 24, each one being about 10 inches long and ¼ inch think. 
Fold the ropes in half and twist them together. 
3.    Place the oil in a deep fat fryer or large, deep frying pan and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°FH.
4.    Gently and carefully lower the festivals into the oil and fry, turning with a slotted spoon until they are golden brown. No more than 2 to 4 minutes in all. Transfer the festivals to paper towels to drain and serve them with the jerk pork while they are hot. 

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com 


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