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Scotchies: The Authentic Jamaican Jerk Experience

Scotchies Jerk Chicken at Main Street Rose Hall

Who knew the word “jerk” could represent something so delicious? “Jerk” is authentic Jamaican cuisine, originating in the rural parish of Portland. It is one of the most iconic culinary traditions of Jamaica and a must-try for visitors to our island. “Jerk” is a special style of cooking that emerged from a fusion of African and Taíno cultures in Jamaica. The Taíno, formerly known as the Arawak people, were indigenous to the Caribbean. Their culinary traditions were passed down to the Maroons, who were African slaves that fled and established themselves in the mountains of Jamaica.

In Jamaica, “jerk” refers to the method of seasoning, smoking, and grilling meat. The popular jerk seasoning recipe includes scotch bonnet peppers, pimento, scallions, garlic, ginger, thyme, and cinnamon. Chicken, pork, lobster, and shrimp are commonly seasoned with these spices and then slowly cooked over a fire or grill, traditionally made of green pimento wood over burning coals and covered with zinc and charcoal sticks. The resulting enveloping smoke is what gives jerk food its distinctive flavor. Interestingly, it is said that the Maroons cooked this way to preserve and tenderize their meats while minimizing the rising smoke that could reveal their location in the mountains where they were hiding.

Today, jerk food is an essential part of Jamaican cuisine and a delicacy enjoyed by people around the world. Jamaica is renowned for having the best jerk, with many jerk centers scattered throughout the island and jerk dishes featured in most Jamaican restaurants.

Scotchies Jerk Food is considered the best jerk in Jamaica and has been praised by international chefs for its delicious, flavorful dishes and rustic dining experience. Plates of jerk chicken, pork, sausage, fish, and ribs at their open-air restaurants are accompanied by festival, bammy, sweet potato, and fries, along with optional house-blend hot sauce.

The first Scotchies location opened in Montego Bay in 2000 by Tony Rerrie, who was fascinated by jerk cuisine. He was taught by a man from Ewarton, who trained at the original Boston Jerk Centre in Port Antonio. Initially, Tony wanted to name his restaurant “Capsicum,” after the pepper species that scotch bonnet peppers come from. However, a friend advised him that the name was not memorable enough and suggested “Scotchies” instead. Scotch bonnet peppers have a heat rating of 100,000–350,000 SHUs (Scoville Heat Units), making them significantly hotter than most jalapeno peppers, which typically have a heat rating of 2,500 to 8,000 SHUs.

Scotchies Drax Hall opened in 2006, followed by Scotchies Belize in 2014. In May 2021, Scotchies opened a brand-new branch on MAIN STREET JAMAICA, Rose Hall, Montego Bay, maintaining the same level of quality and service that made it legendary. We encourage all visitors to taste this unique flavor that attracts people from every corner of Jamaica and the world.

Trust us – you will love it, and you will certainly want to come back again and again!



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