Traditionalists can be very picky when it comes to any food labelled as being ‘jerked’, as they feel any jerked meat must be done over pimento wood. Though I agree that there’s the unique taste from the smoke off the pimento wood… but when you can’t source the actual pimento wood you must rely on a bold jerk marinade to help achieve maximum flavor. These jerk pork sliders are guaranteed to excite your taste buds with the brightness of the scotch bonnet pepper and the earthy goodness of the all spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. But it doesn’t end there… take a look at the ingredient list below and you’ll see how we do it in the Caribbean to achieve the perfect jerk pork sliders.
1/2 scotch bonnet (seeded and chopped)
2 sprigs thyme
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 lb ground pork
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
Notes: You can use a habanero pepper if you can’t source scotch bonnet peppers or your fav hot pepper (if all fails use some hot sauce for the kick). You can also use ground chicken, beef or turkey if you don’t dine with the swine.
You’ll need a food processor or blender (or chop as fine as you can), but first give the scallion, scotch bonnet pepper and the thyme a rough chop. Then add all your ingredients (except the ground pork) into the blender and work it until you have a smooth consistency. If the stalk of the thyme is not tender, remember to remove the little leaves off the woody stalk and discard. If you blend any woody stalk it will not break down all the way and you can have a potential choking hazard.
Place the ground pork in a deep bowl and pour the marinade over it. Using your hands (or spoon) work everything until it’s well incorporated. Here’s a trick to help shape the jerk pork sliders to fit evenly on your bun. Place a sheet of cling wrap on a flat surface, then make a log with the now seasoned meat on the wrap. Try to shape it about 1/4 inch bigger (circumference) than the size of your bun as it will shrink as it grills. Now roll and shape as you do with the cling wrap until you have a sort of thick sausage. Seal the ends and place in the freezer to set. It may take a couple hours.
In the meantime I prepared a Caribbean salsa to top my jerk pork sliders. Basically avocado, tomato, mango, cilantro, sea salt, black pepper, red onion and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (add a little organic honey if you have as well).
After the roll is firm, slice it with a sharp knife into the thickness you want (wet your knife for easier slicing). All you have to do now is grill on a hot grill as you would normally grill burgers. Since this is pork I like grilling slow, but until it’s fully cooked all the way through.I’m sure you can cook these in a frying pan on the stove top as well.
In my haste to get my dinner on, I totally forgot to toast the buns for that extra “bang”. But all you have to do now is place one of these jerk pork patties on your toasted bun, top with that beautiful Caribbean salsa and enjoy! There’s no need for any other condiments as the salsa will have that rich creaminess from the ripe avocado and the pieces of ripe mango will explode in your mouth with every bite.
These jerk pork sliders will be an absolute hit at your next BBQ as people as drawn to sliders in general, but with the unique punch of the jerk marinade we infused the ground meat with before grilling, will have friends and family begging you for the recipe. Remember when using the scotch bonnet pepper to wear gloves, wash your hands immediately after with soap and don’t include any seeds if you’re concerned about raw heat.