Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Jamaican Jerk Hut

The smell of jerk chicken is intoxicating. Like Toucan Sam, you can literally follow your nose up South Street to the source of the entrancing aroma. The Jamaican Jerk Hut has quietly been serving some of the very best Caribbean food in the city for years now. Several of us in the Sunday Supper Club have been to Jamaica, and we all agreed that one bite of that chicken brought us right back. I could feel the sand in my toes and the sun on my face at that beachside chicken hut in Negril, even as the fierce thunderstorms raged outside and turned the outdoor garden at the Jerk Hut into a small lake. 


A selection of patties - chicken, beef, veggie - essentially a baked empanada, but more similar to an English meat pie. Soft and flaky crust with a rich and complexly tasty filling. Definitely a mix of curry flavors, but hard to nail down the exact spice mix they used. The beef were spicier than the others, but nothing tongue numbing. They saved that for the entrees. 

tropical fruit salsa

The tropical fruit salsa, a sweet and only slightly spicy blend of mango, pineapple, cliantro and scotch bonnet peppers. I only wish I had thought to have this on the table with the spicier entrees. The sweetness would have helped to tame the fire. The chips that they served alongside were kind of a letdown. Nothing more than a bag of tostitos from Superfresh. 


The main event. We ordered a few whole jerk chickens for the table. There was nothing left by the end, maybe some extra sauce, but only because we ran out of cornbread to soak it up with. Incredibly moist, and about 20 layers of flavor in each bite. You can taste the smoke, the peppers, the allspice, the day long marinade, the hours slow roasting on the grill. You can taste Jamaica. The meat simply falls off the bone. Incredible. 


Unbelievably dense and delicious homemade corn bread. It manages to be both crumbly and rich at the same time. Quite a good trick and probably the best I've ever had. For reals. It arrived at just the right time to help cool down the slowing creeping heat from the jerk shrimp skewers. Those things were near on nuclear. 

jerk snapper

The whole roasted snapper, smothered in more jerk sauce.  It comes head on and stuffed with callaloo, so be prepared for that. They are not going to fillet or debone it for you. You need to get up in there and do some work yourself. Surprisingly tender hunks of fish flaked right off the bones. That spicy but addictive jerk taste seeping it's way into every morsel.  

To be sure, the Jerk Hut is not fine dining. You may have to ask for silverware a few times. Water will come in a pitcher, with plastic cups. The interior looks like it's been under construction for years (which it has) and exposed wires pop out of the wall here and there. God only knows how they get L&I to sign off the place - I'm sure a plate of chicken doesn't hurt the cause. 

The staff is pleasant and nice though and willing to accommodate most requests. If it's a nice night out you can sit in the expansive side yard, being entranced by the flashing palm tree and listening to the sounds of your stomach rumble while the kitchen fan wafts the jerk scent in your face. It's BYO, but wine is not going to do it. You'll want beer, and plenty of it. Something Caribbean if you can find it, a Red Stripe preferably. Go with a group, for a bigger sampling of the menu. Or just keep coming back for your fix. 

Food Baby Rating: Triplets!!

Jamaican Jerk Hut
1436 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146

1 comment:

  1. Classic British Pies are one of the things which once you visit UK for the first-time you definitely must try. The shop's History is evident the moment you walk-in the door. Straightforward design and the extended compartments enable you to experience what it was like ages before. You should definitely examine Arments Pie and Mash if you should be looking for the top pie and mash shop in London. ! Here you will find more information - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OahxXDeRGXA