The technique of soaking a food in a liquid to flavor–or in the case of meats, to tenderize the cut–was probably brought to the Caribbean by the Spanish. A marinade is easier to use than a paste, and when grilling your jerk meats, the marinade can also be used as a basting sauce. “In Jamaica,” notes food writer Robb Walsh, “like Texas barbecue, jerk is served on butcher paper and eaten with your hands.” Serve this version of jerk with a salad and grilled plantains.
All the hottest chile peppers in the world originated in Trinidad and Tobago. But how and why? Here are some of my theories. I invite comments on this work in progress.