Jamaican Jerk Pork is tender, well marinated pork shoulder slow roasted then broiled for a crispy, flavourful meat entree. Learn how to make this popular and easy jerk pork recipe so everyone can enjoy a burst of Caribbean flavour at cookouts, holidays, barbecues, potlucks and everyday dinners.
If you can’t get enough of jerk spices and jerk marinade, try more delicious Jamaican jerk recipes like this Crispy Baked Jerk Tofu, cheesy Jerk Sliders, and traditional Jamaican Jerk Chicken. This classic Caribbean seasoning goes with just about everything!
Jamaican Style Jerk Pork
Jamaican jerk pork is marinated for hours before it is slowly roasted in the oven. By the time you chop it up into bite-sized chunks, the meat is succulent, savoury, spicy, and sweet. You get that caramelized crust from those last few minutes of broiling and the final result is a mouthwatering main dish that is SO worth the wait!
Here’s Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Perfect for Gatherings – serve this at your next potluck or barbecue because it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser!
- Super Flavourful – this is one of my favourite ways to use jerk marinade because pork is already salty and the fat from this particular cut, makes the pork so juicy when properly roasted. Add Jamaican spices to the mix and you have a mouthwatering main course!
- Worth the Wait – cooked low and slow in the oven, this slow roasted, flavourful pork tastes amazing. You’ll be so glad you stuck it out! (Your family and friends will thank you too!)
What is Jamaican Jerk?
Jamaican jerk is a hot and spicy dry-rubbed or wet marinated blend of herbs and spices used on a variety of meats and seafood. Traditionally, jerked foods would be cooked over a small open coal or wood fire. Jerk has a spicy, woodsy, smoky flavour.
This seasoning is used for proteins like chicken, pork, lamb, shrimp, and fish but it is also used to season vegetables like oyster mushrooms, jackfruit, seitan, chickpeas and cauliflower. One of my favourite ways to enjoy jerk is to make Jamaican jerk pork shoulder.
Jamaican Jerk History
It’s been said that the Maroons (descendants of Africans who formed settlements away from slavery in the Western world) “jerked” wild pigs in Portland, Jamaica while on the run from the British. It’s been a part of Jamaican culinary traditions for centuries and now evolved into various unique dishes.
What is Jamaican Jerk Made Of?
Jerk marinade often is made using onions, garlic, ginger, pimento, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, scotch bonnet pepper, and brown sugar. However, there are many variations, some of which include citrus, vinegar, and various sweeteners such as honey and molasses.
Ingredients and Ingredient Notes
* INGREDIENTS, MEASUREMENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS ARE LISTED IN THE RECIPE CARD AT BOTTOM OF PAGE *
- Pork Shoulder Picnic Roast – whole, cleaned and pat dried.
- Aromatics – I use quartered onions, peeled garlic cloves, roughly chopped escallion, and fresh thyme with the hard stems removed.
- Scotch Bonnet Peppers – if you like heat, add the entire scotch bonnet pepper. You can also remove the seeds and add the flesh or cut off your desired amount and add it to the processor or blender.
- Fresh Ginger Root – a little of this goes a long way. Add a small amount as you do not want it to overpower the other ingredients.
- Whole Pimento Berries – also known as allspice berries, brings an aromatic quality to the dish as well as a depth of flavour.
- Seasoning – I use a blend of paprika, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and salt.
- Vegetable Bouillon Cube – or beef/pork bouillon cube, whichever you have on hand you can use.
- Brown Sugar – the sweetness mellows the heat from the scotch bonnet peppers.
- Browning – this adds savoury flavour and deepens the hue of the marinade. Check out my Homemade Browning Sauce for more info!
- Soy Sauce – add for depth of flavour. It has a umami taste. alternatively you can use Hoisin Sauce.
- Olive Oil – Use this or another neutral-tasting oil to help blend the ingredients together.
- Ketchup – adds colour and sweetness.
- Honey – more or less to taste, adds the perfect touch of sweetness. You can also use brown sugar.
- Vegetable Broth – or chicken/beef broth, use this to thin the sauce, enough for the sauce to simmer then thicken.
How to Make Jamaican Jerk Pork in the Oven
Jamaican Jerk Pork Marinade
Add all jerk marinade ingredients to a food processor or blender. Pulse until pureed (keep some texture, not too smooth) and set aside.
Marinate the Pork
Rub the jerk marinade all over the pork, until fully coated on all sides. Then, cover and marinate overnight or for 12 to 24 hours for best results.
Remove from fridge and allow to rest on counter for at least 20 minutes to take the chill off. If using a casserole or dutch oven with a lid, cover and bake in preheated oven at 350°F (177°C) for 1 1/2 to 2hrs or until meat is tender. Alternatively you can use a baking sheet and tent with aluminum foil. Be sure to keep an eye on it periodically to ensure the rendered fat and juices don’t dry out. If starting to dry out, add water or stock (few tbsp’s – 1/4 cup).
Slice and Broil Jerk Pork
When meat tender, remove from oven, rest on a cutting board and slice into smaller chunks, then transfer to a shallow baking sheet. Or, if using a baking sheet, transfer the marinade to a small pot and reuse original baking sheet.
Place meat under the oven broiler setting “high” for about 5 minutes or until skin caramelized and a golden hue has formed with some charred bits. Remove from oven and serve while hot!
Recipe Substitutions and Tips
- Slow Cooker or Crock Pot – this method is great for melt-in-your-mouth Jamaican jerk pork without the crust. Add the marinated meat to the pot with one cup of chicken stock and cook it on low for about 8 hours. This is also great if you prefer a hands-off method.
- Other Cuts of Pork – for this recipe, we use pork shoulder but you can use any cut of the pig. I suggest pork tenderloin for a leaner cut. Otherwise, try pork butt, pork belly, pork ribs, or even pork chops.
- Grilled Jerk Pork – grill the pork over medium-low heat. Do not place the pork directly on the grill but in a covered grill-safe pan. This will take about 7 hours.
Serving Suggestions and Tips
This authentic Jamaican jerk pork recipe can be served with so many things. Here are some of my favourites.
- Summer Mango Pineapple Salsa – this dish gives major island vibes so keep that tropical flair going by topping it with a fruit-based salsa. The sweetness of the mango will complement the spicy-sweet taste of the jerk sauce.
- Rice – it’s standard to have jerk pork with rice; whether it’s simple coconut rice, traditional Jamaican rice and peas, or a healthier alternative like Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat & Peas.
- Salad – Lighten up the meal and serve jerk pork with your favourite salad. You could even replace the jerk chicken in this Jerk Chicken Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing.
- Jamaican Festival Recipe – soft, fried, and sweet, this bread complements the spicy jerk pork.
Recipe Notes and Tips for Success
- Do not skip the marinade. It needs at minimum, 12 hours in the fridge. This yields the best flavour and allows the seasoning to truly penetrate the meat.
- When you remove the marinated pork from the fridge, allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes to take the chill off.
- Be sure to keep an eye on it periodically to ensure the rendered fat and juices don’t dry out. If starting to dry out, add water or stock (few tbsp’s – 1/4 cup at a time, if needed).
Can I Make this Ahead of Time?
Absolutely! This recipe requires almost a full day of prep before cooking.
Store leftover Jamaican jerk pork in an airtight container for up to 3 days. For longer storage, place it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Allow frozen pork to defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Once it is defrosted, reheat it in the microwave until warmed through or wrap in aluminum foil and heat in the oven on 350°F (177°C). My preferred way is in the oven, or air fryer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Because it is spicy, jerk pork should be served with something mildly flavoured or sweet. I suggest serving it with this Jamaican Festival Recipe, Jamaican Hard Dough (Hardo) Bread, rice, plantain, mango salsa, or salad.
Jerk references the Maroons (descendants of Africans who formed settlements away from slavery in the Western world) who jerked wild pigs in Portland, Jamaica while on the run from the British.
Once the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (about 63°C), the pork is safe to eat. However, I suggest cooking it until it reaches the range of 170°F – 190°F because shoulder has a lot of fat.
See My Story Below for Step-by-Step Instructions
Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!
- Jerk Seasoning
- Jerk Chicken Sandwich
- Jamaican Banana Fritters
- Jerk Chicken Poutine
- Jamaican Hard Dough (Hardo) Bread
- Jamaican Beef Patty
- Pork & Chinese Cabbage Dumplings
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe
- Honey Jerk Shrimp
- Jerk Marinade
Jamaican Jerk Pork
- Baking Sheet/Tray
- Deep Casserole or Dutch Oven
- 4-6 pounds Pork Shoulder Picnic Roast whole, cleaned and pat dried
- 1 sm Onion quartered
- 6 cloves Garlic peeled
- 4 stalks Escallion roughly chopped
- 6 sprigs Fresh Thyme hard stems removed
- 1-2 whole Scotch Bonnet Peppers stem removed
- 1 2-in pc. Fresh Ginger Root peeled
- 15 whole Pimento Berries allspice berries
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Vegetable Bouillon Cube or beef/pork bouillon cube
- 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp Browning
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil or neutral tasting oil
- 1 tbsp Ketchup
- 2 tbsp Honey more or less to taste
- 1/4 cup Vegetable Broth or chicken/beef broth
- Add all jerk marinade ingredients to a food processor or blender. Pulse until pureed (keep some texture, not too smooth) and set aside.
- Rub the jerk marinade all over the pork, until fully coated on all sides. Then, cover and marinate overnight or for 12 to 24 hrs for best results.
- Remove from fridge and allow to rest on counter for at least 20 minutes to take the chill off. If using a casserole or dutch oven with a lid, cover and bake in preheated oven at 350°F (177°C) for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs or until meat is tender. Alternatively you can use a baking sheet and tent with aluminum foil. Be sure to keep an eye on it periodically to ensure the rendered fat and juices don't dry out. If starting to dry out, add water or stock (few tbsp's – 1/4 cup).
- When meat tender, remove from oven, rest on a cutting board and slice into smaller chunks, then transfer to a shallow baking sheet. Or, if using a baking sheet, transfer the marinade to a small pot and reuse original baking sheet.
- Place meat under the oven broiler setting "high" for about 5 minutes or until skin caramelized and a golden hue has formed with some charred bits. Remove from oven and serve while hot!
Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.