A Beachside Introduction to the World of Jerk
Jamaica is the world’s largest exporter of spice, and there’s no shortage of “jerk pits” on the island, each one using its own blend of spices to season meat, sausage, fish – whatever – which is then cooked slowly over pimento wood. Upmarket restaurants have adopted the dish, modifying the heat for uninitiated tasters, but rolling up your sleeves and tucking your greasy hands into the spicy fare with all the trimmings – sweet baked yams, “festival” (deep-fried cornbread) fritters, and the requisite Red Stripe beer – is half the fun.
The shady, open-air Pork Pit, a longtime local institution in Montego Bay, serves the best barbecued pork, chicken, and ribs on the island. The place is always jumping, and the beach crowd knows to arrive around noon, when the fiery jerk is ready to be lifted from its bed of coals and fragrant wood and slapped down on the communal picnic tables. Tip: If there’s a choice of mild or hot, go with the mild.