People around the world have been eating pork since the beginning of civilization. The pig dates back 40 million years to fossils, which indicates that wild pig-like animals roamed forests and swamps in Europe and Asia. By 4900 B.C., pigs were domesticated in China, and by 1500 B.C., they were being raised in Europe. Pigs were one of the first wild animals to be domesticated. And because of pigs have been around for so long pork is the most consumed meat in the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, over 36 percent of the world’s meat intake is from pork, while poultry accounts for 35 percent and beef 22 percent.
Pork is very popular in the Spanish world, both in Old World Spain, and the New World, in all the countries Spain colonized. It is to Spain that the Americas owe the introduction of this valuable animal, as the first pigs on the continent were brought with Columbus on his second voyage. Pork is very popular all throughput the Caribbean as well for this very same reason.
Jerk seasoning is something that is uniquely Caribbean and specifically Jamaican. Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica, in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Historians believe that jerking originated with the Amerindians in Jamaica from the Arawak and Taíno tribes who intermingled with the Maroons. Again, the Spanish influence is seen in the new world with the word “jerk”. The word jerk reportedly stems from the Spanish charqui, meaning dried strips of meat similar to the modern-day jerky. A “jerk” sauce is traditionally made with a combination of allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers, which are similar to habanero chili peppers, though jalapenos work just fine too.
Dinner was pork chops marinated in a spicy Jamaican jerk sauce. YUM! I served it with rice, since rice is a Caribbean staple and some sauteed summer vegetables and the last of my Brazilian pastels, and of course, a nice cool, crisp chardonnay on the side to complete off the meal. Brazilian Pastels. We had the perfect Caribbean meal right at home on our beloved deck.
Jamaican Jerk Pork Chops
1-2 lbs pork chops, patted dry
1 TBSP garlic
1 TBSP ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 jalapeno, diced fine
1/4 cup olive oil
salt to taste
2 TBSP lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
Mix everything together well and marinate the pork for at least 2 hours before cooking. When the pork was ready, I threw it on the grill and cooked it to perfection. Reserve some of the sauce to top the pork with after it is cooked. You can use this same sauce over chicken or seafood too. If you prefer it to be more of a liquidy sauce rather than a chunky salsa, you can mix everything together in a food processor, but I like mine more chunky and more traditional.
While my chops were grilling, I was cooking everything else up too.
Then I just plated it all up and sat back to enjoy the “fruits of my labor”. 🙂 My kind of meal. It was simple, easy-peasy and delicious! It doesn’t get much better than that. I love living the good life!
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.