In short, no. In fact, this is one of the main reasons we were so keen to bring Rudie’s to London. We are all passionate fans of everything Jamaican, especially its fantastic food, and we found it frustrating that many “Caribbean” outlets in London failed to capture the real essence of Jamaica.
“The key is not just to capture the sweet-spicy flavours. You want the meat/fish to be succulent, tender and moist and that is the real trick.”
Well, to produce real jerk firstly you need to start with quality ingredients. Next, you simply cannot compromise on the star ingredient – Jamaican yellow scotch bonnet pepper – we source ours from Smart Choice (aptly named!) farm in the fertile Jamaican countryside of Clarendon. We are conscious of keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum and so we only import food, such as our bonnets, where there is no local equivalent.
Next, you have to lovingly prepare the dry rub and wet marinade. The meat must be marinated for at least 24 hours (48 hours is even better) to allow all the flavours to infuse the meat. Ideally you need a traditional jerk drum to smoke and grill. We have had ours especially made by the boys at Original Jerk company, but as a handy substitute you can use your own trusty barbecue. Just make sure its coal based, not gas. You must keep the heat low, and cook slowly.
And lastly, to create that lovely sweet smoky flavour you need to use wood chips: pimento wood or apple wood will do just fine. All you need now are some delicious side dishes, quality rum and some fine tunes and you have yourself a great Rudie’s experience. If all this sounds too much don’t fret. You can order a take out and let our chefs serve up the perfect jerk!