Welcome to Jerk Row

  • Written on:

Is the secret in the sauce?

On Jamaica’s north coast, in the pristine parish of Portland, sits an unassuming row of huts. There are huts absolutely everywhere in Jamaica, and being here is all about knowing which ones have something truly worth stopping for. This place is called the Boston Bay Jerk Centre, and while the name sounds a bit formal for the ramshackle establishment, it’s worthy. In this spot, people have been cooking up some of the island’s finest, for decades, and it’s been had by foodies the globe over. We asked to meet the oldest cook on the block, and were taken to Raymond Marshall, and he smiled wide to reveal an assortment of teeth. He explained that he’s 55 years old and has been working here for 46 years. “On the weekdays we’re doing 200lbs of meat and 100lbs of chicken” he says and quickly adds, “weekends it’s more.” His father had this place before him, and it’s likely his pickney (patois for kids) are running around nearby. A fire burns beneath a seemingly precarious sweetwood platform, and it’s covered with more pork and fowl than most people have ever seen. When we’re done gawking, a corrugated steel sheet is dropped back down to keep the reams of meat smoking. This is definitely a good method, because this jerk is simply beyond. Upon ordering, it’s chopped on a block with a hatchet, slid onto tinfoil and drizzled with pepper sauce. Raymond points to jars brimming with his scotch bonnet concoction, and when asked to reveal the ingredients he shakes his head and says, “Nah mon mi neva tell.”

Photo Credit: Photo by William Richards


Digging Jamaica? Visit the 100m Shop and get your jerk-reggae-patois-sunshine fix. (Sunscreen recommended.)