Craving jerk barbecue and sweet potato pie? King Jerk offers both in a bare bones, mostly take-out, Jamaican jerk joint on West Dixie Highway. What you will find is authentic jerk and Southern-style barbecue with comfort food sides. It is all about the meat: taming flames, controlling the temperature and smoke, and relying on intuition for knowing when the meat is done. The flavorful results are best devoured using your hands, washed down with a Jamaican pineapple ginger beer.
Start With These Dishes
Start with one of the hearty weekday Jamaican soups that can make a meal. Try the fish tea. It’s made with grouper in a clear broth and packed with yams, chayote, okra, turnips and bobbing dumplings. The conch soup has strips of conch with the same veggies plus pumpkin. Or start with island-style escovitch, a whole snapper that has been deep-fried then lightly pickled in seasoned vinegar with shredded carrots, onion rings and chopped Scotch bonnet peppers. You can also order the snapper steamed.
Share These Dishes
Mixed plates come with two or three meat combos and a choice of two sides. The ribs are bone-in, country-style pork ribs cut from the blade-end, near the shoulder. The barbecue chicken is juicy and tender, marinated in a paste of onions, scallions and ginger before grilling. The signature jerk chicken is well done and drier, first massaged in a spice rub then marinated in a blend of soy sauce, scallions, Scotch bonnet peppers, celery and garlic.
The jerk here is on the mild side but can be made hotter with a dip in the jerk sauce that comes on the side. Brown stew is made with fried chicken stewed in a puree of carrots, potatoes and garlic with seasonings. Oxtail is stewed for three hours until falling off the bone. There are also sandwiches with jerk pork or chicken on Golden Krust bread. Sides include potato salad, steamed cabbage, mac and cheese, baked beans, boiled sweet potato, fried plantains and rice and red beans.
Save Room For Dessert
Get a personal size sweet potato pie laced with cinnamon and nutmeg in a thin crust.
What Makes It Special
Founder and owner Oratio “Jay” Garrell started helping a cousin at his roadside jerk stall in the St. James neighborhood of Montego Bay when he was 11. He came to Miami a decade ago and opened his first place in a tent with two drums for grilling. He moved to a food truck and eventually opened King Jerk last February with his older sister as the sous chef.
If you go
Place: King Jerk Caribbean Cuisine
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m.-midnight
Prices: Soup $3-$5, jerk and BBQ $6-$16, seafood $12-$15, sandwiches $6-$8
F.Y.I. There is a $6 lunch special until 3 p.m. with a choice of curry chicken or brown stew with one side. You can also get a jerk fix at the truck parked at 13640 on Northwest Seventh Avenue.