Scotchies Jerk Restaurant in Montego Bay

My flight crashed onto the tarmac in Montego Bay as waves from the Caribbean Sea whispered a warm welcome. It was 8pm when I marched out of the airport famished beyond belief. I hadn’t had an opportunity to eat lunch so when my local friend Richard Harris picked me up on the curb I was elated to immediately hustle to dinner.

I thought it appropriate that my first meal in Jamaica be at the country’s most famous BBQ jerk restaurant, Scotchies Jerk Centre. The chain currently operates three branches on the island in the capital of Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. We rolled off the highway, arriving at the restaurants cheap and cheerful entrance. The sign overhead features a Scotch Bonnet Pepper, a tip of the hat to the hot sauce jerk fans pour over their BBQ’d pork and chicken here.

Upon arrival guests read a petite menu tacked to the wall lists the restaurants offerings and a cashier quickly takes your order. An open concept kitchen allows guests to watch enthusiastic cooks chopping steaming BBQ meat which spends hours sizzling over sweetwood and pimento wood logs.

Diners grab steaming plates from the kitchen and enjoy their feast al fresco or under a thatch roof bar. I glugged down a bottle of Red Stripe (which would be the first of many on this trip) and with my bare hands devoured a plate of sweet yam, rice n peas and jerked pork, chicken and sausage. My favourite of the lot actually came as a surprise: the real winner, juicy smoked pork sausage.

Close your eyes, chase the heat with a glug of bitter beer and you’ll find you’re quickly reminded that you are a safe distance from the frigid cold of Canadian winter.

The Feast:

Ice Cold Red Stripe

Jerk Chicken

Jerk Pork

Pork Sausage

Rice n Peas

Roast Yam

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