Boston Jerk Center, Portland

Boston Jerk, Portland
Grab a seat while someone fixes your jerk at Boston Jerk Center, Portland

No visit to Port Antonio is ever complete without a stop at the world-famous Boston Jerk Centre (BJC).  What is referred to as a ‘centre’ is really a side-road with seven street side stalls selling jerk in various forms. But here’s the rub (no pun intended), BJC is less than half a mile away from the first ever commercial jerk pit not just in Jamaica but in the world. And the stalls that came soon after were run by the descendants of the current jerkmen.

 

Mr Bumpy - second generation jerkman, famous for his jerk chicken sausage and creative spelling.
Mr Bumpy – second generation jerkman, famous for his jerk chicken sausage and creative spelling.

dsc_0891

Jerk in Portland is a real family affair and most of these vendors have been jerkin since they were kids. If you want to taste authentic Jamaican jerk then scheduling a stop here is a must. As soon as you pull up expect the serious hustle for your custom to start. Don’t be alarmed, the banter will flow between the jerkmen and it’s all in good humour; the lucky vendor who got to you first will no doubt by now taking your order from you. Boston Jerk Centre is real example of Jamaican hospitality, the stall holders are pros and watching all the action is a great way to experience a bit of local Portland life.

Server at Mickey's Jerk Centre
Server at Mickey’s Jerk Centre

Food can be wrapped to go or if you don’t fancy chowing down by the smoke-filled jerk pits, ask for a table by the Boston pub. If there isn’t one there, one will magically appear – now that’s service! So does BJC make the best jerk in Jamaica?

Sweet potato, festival and jerk pork from Mickey's Jerk Centre
Sweet potato, festival and jerk pork from Mickey’s Jerk Centre

Honestly, I’m probably not the best person to ask. I’m loyal to my Kingston haunts so you should probably make your own call. I will say the Portland jerk has some fire to it, if you’ve not yet been initiated to the scotch bonnet – you’ll quickly become familiar.