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Jamaican Jerk Brisket


Excerpted from The Brisket Chronicles by Steven Raichlen (Workman, 2019).

Let’s start with the obvious. Jerk brisket isn’t really Jamaican. The local meat of choice there is whole hog, ingeniously boned and butterflied so no section is more than 3 to 4 inches thick.

That’s because the traditional way to cook jerk in Jamaica is not in a stick burner or closed smoker, but by direct grilling on a pimento (allspice) wood grate over smoky pimento wood embers. (The heat is low and slow and the process takes the better part of a day, so you’re still cooking low and slow.)

But jerk seasoning—that ferociously fire-y blend of Scotch bonnet chiles, allspice, nutmeg, soy sauce, salt, garlic, rum, and other seasonings—works wonders with the beefy richness of brisket. And Jamaicans prize the flavor of wood smoke as much as any Texan.

I give you an electrifying jerk brisket that will definitely make you sit up and take notice. In Jamaica, jerk is served with cornmeal fritters called festivals (you’ll find a great recipe for these in my book The Barbecue! Bible). The closest equivalent in the United States would be hush puppies. Alternatively, you can pile the brisket slices on buttered, grilled brioche rolls or hamburger buns. Ya, mon! 

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About the Book:

The Brisket ChroniclesThe Brisket Chronicles

It all starts with the big kahuna: an authentic Texas barbecued brisket, aka 18 pounds of smoky, fatty, proteinaceous awesomeness. And from this revelation of pure beefy goodness comes burnt ends. Corned beef. Ropa Vieja. Bollito Misto. Pho . . . and slowly it dawns on you: Brisket must be the tastiest, most versatile, and most beloved cut of meat in the world.

In The Brisket Chronicles, Steven Raichlen shares his 50 best brisket recipes while showing us step-by-foolproof-step how to ’cue it, grill it, smoke it, braise it, cure it, and boil it.

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