By Chef Chris De La Rosa
While I much prefer it made over a coal fire, so you get a lovely smoked-sort of finish, which really compliments the herbs and other ingredients in the classic Jamaican jerk marinade.
The sad reality in Canada is, it can get VERY cold during the winter months, so, realistically, I had to come up with a recipe that would duplicate those same jerk flavors, but cooked in an everyday kitchen oven.
Here is the special recipe:
5-8 lbs Pork ( a cheap cut – fatty)
For the marinade:
3 tables spoon olive oil
1 lemon (juice)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large onion
10 sprigs thyme
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
15 pimento berries (all spice)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2-3 scotch bonnet peppers
2 tablespoon honey (or brown sugar)
2 tablespoon Honey Vinegar (optional)
thumb size piece ginger
5 cloves garlic
For dressing the roasting pan (optional):
thyme 5-8 sprigs
Orange juice 1 cup
Important: If doing this recipe gluten-free, please go through the entire list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Especially the soy sauce, which will have to be substituted for a gluten-free type, like Tamari.
Basically all you’re doing to start, is to create the marinade. Give all the ingredients a rough chop (where needed), then put into a food processor or blender. You have two options — smooth marinade or a somewhat chunky one. I prefer chunky, so I pulsed the ingredients until it was at the texture and consistency I like.
The piece of pork I used was from the leg or shoulder area (round piece of meat), so I butterflyed it and made some deep cuts at the same time, to allow the marinade to really penetrate the meat and infuse the wonderful jerk flavor. (watch the video below).
Please try your best to use a fatty or marbled piece of pork. It be a cheaper cut, that fat will render and keep the meat really moist. Place the pork in a strong (big) zipper bag and pour the marinade over it, massage and place in the fridge, overnight, for maximum flavor. Place the bag on a plate in case the bag leaks and, if you remember, try to flip it a couple times during the marinating process.
The next day, pre-heat your oven to 375F and allow the pork to come up to room temperature (outside the fridge). Then place it in a heavy roasting pan and add the other ingredients mentioned in the list above.
I then poured the orange juice in the same bag, I marinated the pork in, and moved it around to pick up any remaining marinade. Then I placed the piece of pork in the roasting pan (I used a shallow side Dutch oven) and into the 375 F oven on the middle rack. No I didn’t cover the roasting pan.
After 30 minutes orso, I took it out of the oven and used the juices on the side to baste it a bit, then back into the oven. I believe I did this about 5-7 times during the roasting process.
It took about 3 hours, in total, to be fully cooked to my liking. At that point I took it out of the oven, tented it with some foil and allowed it to rest for about 15 minutes, before slicing it up. Keep in mind that if you use a piece of pork, with a bone running though the middle like I did, be mindful when slicing. Also note that the scotch bonnet peppers will make this very spicy (don’t use the seeds if you want to tame it down a bit) and to wash your hands with soap and water, immediately after handling such hot peppers.
Save the pan drippings to pour over the sliced jerk pork, especially if you’ll be making sandwiches with the meat. That low and slow heat will certainly develop similar flavors to having made this over a coal fire. So no big deal when it’s –30 degrees Celsius outside during the winter months in Canada, I will still get my jerk pork fix.