The Ocho Rios branch of Jamaica’s best roadside jerk stand is similar to the Montego Bay original—though with perhaps a slightly more verdant garden setting, all flowering vines and grass ringed by little thatched or tin-roofed dining patios and a smoke-wreathed cooking station where the meat slow-cooks between a “grill” of sweetwood and pimento sticks and large sheets of corrugated tin.
Like the original, it is the exact opposite of fancy with an utterly simple menu: ¼, ½, or a whole chicken—or the same in poundage of pork, chicken sausage, or pork sausage (or a roasted fish filet).
Get a side of roasted yam or sweet potato (yes, those are two entirely different tubers), or rice and peas (which actually means “kidney beans” in Jamaica), sweet corn, breadfruit, festival (like a sweet hush puppy), or plantains; maybe some conch or shrimp soup. Wash it all down with a Red Stripe, juice, soda, or iced tea. Perfect.
- Reid Bramblett