Meatless Monday – Don’t Be a Jerk

I have a dream…

First of all,
Happy Martin Luther King. Jr. Day!

And now back to regularly scheduled programming…Meatless Monday is still in Jamaica (well the post is not the person writing it unfortunately).

Vegetarian Horror-Menu Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
Vegetarian Horror-Menu
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

Jamaica is famous for its ‘jerk chicken’ but it was the pig who was part of this seasoning and cooking style’s auspicious beginnings.

It all began in Boston Bay (insert photo)

Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
Ah-there it is.
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

Boston Bay is located near Port Antonio, a town about a 2-hour drive from the capital of Kingston. See map.
This place is like Jerk central. There is a hub of cooking here as several vendors prepare all sorts of meat the ‘jerk way.’

Jerk is both a seasoning and a style of cooking. The history is said to have begun with the Arawak and Carib Indians who used salt and spices to preserve meat. The Maroons, a proud and renegade group of West African slaves added their own touches (peppers and ‘mystery’ herbs from the mountains to where they had escaped). This became a marinade which was used on boar and then the meat was slow-cooked for a long period of time. But enough about meat…vegetarian and vegan food can be jerked too.

All you need is some jerk seasoning (can be store-bought but making your own customized blend is more ‘authentic’) and a method to grill your food. This can be a BBQ, cast-iron grill pan or if you have an empty oil drum kicking around, you can jerk the Jamaica way:

Popular 'grill' for jerk food street vendors Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
Popular ‘grill’ for jerk food street vendors
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

For more about jerk,  click here.

My Jerk
My very own home-made condiment for multi purpose use and accompanied by some ackee bought at the airport in Montego Bay.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014
Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Jerk seasoning is open to interpretation and family secrets. Due to the variations, I have only included ingredients here and not amounts. Play with this as you wish. All ingredients blend nicely with electric power.
Ingredients

  • I cheated and used a ready-made seasoning blend that I bought in Jamaica. You can devise your own concoction of spices. As long as it contains thyme, allspice/pimento and scotch bonnet pepper (or some other hot pepper) than you will have maintained the integrity of a jerk mix.
  • ginger
  • lime juice
  • muscovado brown sugar
  • garlic
  • onions
  • oil (neutral flavour is best e.g. grapeseed oil)
  • soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • tomato sauce
  • orange juice
  • liquid smoke
  • apple cider OR coconut vinegar
  • molasses
  • (salt is optional-omit if using soy sauce)

Uses
Marinate tempeh for some hot fake bacon; a sauce for pasta and pizza; a marinade for grilled vegetables.

Behold my Breakfast of Champions
Jamaican bacon – vegan jerk tempeh and scrambled ackee (with some black-eyed peas thrown in for extra protein)

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014
Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Italian Reggae
Some rasta pasta for lunch. I used a twisted pair of kamut/quinoa pasta for its ‘dreadlock’ appearance.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014
Photo by Kimberley (c)2014
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4 thoughts on “Meatless Monday – Don’t Be a Jerk

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