The best part of traveling is often enjoying the flavors of the destination. Jamaica is no exception as the island country is home to the world famous jerk flavor. Jerk is a style of cooking (native to Jamaica), in which meats are rubbed with a spice rub made from allspice (pimento), cinnamon, peppers, onion, thyme and garlic and marinated for hours before cooking. After marinating, the meat is placed on raised platforms of pimento wood over hot coals to slowly roast for hours.
There are dozens of restaurants and cook shops across the island that either specialize in jerk cuisine or include it on their daily menu. However, if you want to participate in the total jerk experience, there are many great options!
This is a journey that will excite the taste buds as you make your 180 mile journey around the large island. The jerk trail was created to assist visitors with navigating the island’s many jerk stops, from favorite roadside stands to more traditional restaurants. This island-wide culinary tour is self-guided and includes 22 spicy stops from Negril at the western tip of the island to Port Antonio in the east. Be sure to check out Scotchies in Montego Bay! They have been haled by many as Jamaica’s best Jerk! Scotchies also has locations in Ocho Rios and Kingston. For a full list of jerk stops, visit the Jerk Trail Map
Boston Bay: Jerk Capital of Jamaica
Located in the parish of Portland, Boston Bay is where jerk first became popular. Year-round, Boston Bay and the surrounding roads are lined with a variety of jerk stalls. A visit here is a great way to rub shoulders with locals and grab a picnic before heading down to the beach.
Boston Bay appeals to sun worshipers and vacationers seeking to venture into the realm of water sports. When not grabbing a bite to eat, the golden sands and rough waters will tempt you to grab a surfboard and ride the waves, take a lesson in wind surfing, or venture further out to some good snorkeling sites
Portland Jerk Festival / JULY
The parish of Portland is the birthplace of jerk, which makes the Portland Jerk Festival the best way to celebrate this spicy food in its many forms. Now in its 14th year, this year’s festival is scheduled for July 7 at the Folly Ruins in Port Antonio. In addition to the culinary side, Jamaican music and entertainment for kids are also featured. Bring the whole family to festival to enjoy delicious jerk meats and vegetables, street vendors with local crafts, and music. Leave this festival feeling the island spirit.