Jamaican Oven Jerk Pork Shoulder

Jamaican Oven Jerk Pork Shoulder

The Spruce / Danielle Moore

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 4 hrs 30 mins
Marinate and Rest: 25 hrs 30 mins
Total: 30 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Yield: 1 roast
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1269 Calories
88g Fat
17g Carbs
96g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 1269
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 88g 113%
Saturated Fat 32g 161%
Cholesterol 367mg 122%
Sodium 712mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 96g
Vitamin C 10mg 48%
Calcium 164mg 13%
Iron 7mg 37%
Potassium 1482mg 32%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Traditional jerk cooking is deeply embedded in Caribbean cuisines. Food historians place it either as a cultural and gastronomical blend between the foods of local indigenous populations and enslaved Africans who arrived in the area, or as a pure import from Africans who were forced into slavery and used whatever local ingredients they had at hand to imitate cooking methods from back home. Slow cooked, roasted, or grilled, dry rubbed and marinated meats of all types through jerk cooking become fall-off-the-bone succulent meals. They are often accompanied by a variety of dishes, from coconut rice to plantains to a simple side of rice and beans. Our recipe brings to your table a moist and juicy pork shoulder heavily flavored with a spice mix and oven-cooked until tender and coated in a delicious blackened crust.

Jerk cooking is a profound element of Jamaican food and culture, and it has been exported wherever Jamaican immigrants make their homes. With the exception of coveted Scotch bonnet peppers, which are sometimes hard to find in the United States, all the authentic ingredients are available in most supermarkets or Hispanic and Caribbean stores. Jerk is supposed to be spicy, so do not skimp on the peppers. Use habaneros if you can't find Scotch bonnets, and do wear gloves when handling.

For the best flavor, we recommend sticking to the suggested 24 hours of marination, as the longer the pork sits in the jerk sauce, the better the result will be. Plan accordingly, and consider also the oven time (4 hours) and resting time (1 hour) when planning your meal.

"The pork was an easy preparation, but make sure to plan to marinate it for at least 24 hours. Mine marinated for about 36 hours, and it was outstanding. The flavors were excellent, and it wasn't overly hot, despite using 5 habanero peppers. I put the juices in a gravy/fat separator and drizzled them over the sliced meat—delicious!" —Diana Rattray

Jerk in the Oven Pork Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Spicy Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup ground allspice berries

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic

  • 4 to 6 Scotch bonnet peppers, trimmed and seeded

  • 1 tablespoon ground dried thyme, or 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

  • 2 bunches scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

For the Roast:

  • 6 to 9 pounds picnic pork shoulder roast, bone-in

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Jamaican Oven Jerk Pork Shoulder ingredients

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  2. Place allspice, brown sugar, garlic, Scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, scallions, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and soy sauce in a food processor. Blend until smooth.

    spices in a food processor

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  3. With a sharp knife, carefully score the thick fat of the pork shoulder into a diamond pattern, trying to not cut into the meat.

    score the thick fat of the pork shoulder into a diamond pattern

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  4. Press and massage a thick coating of the jerk sauce on the exterior of the pork so it is completely covered—gloves are encouraged for this process. Refrigerate any leftover sauce as long as it hasn't been in contact with the raw pork. It will keep for 4 to 5 weeks.

    Press and massage a thick coating of the jerk sauce on the exterior of the pork

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  5. Place the pork in a roasting pan and cover with a lid, foil, or plastic wrap. Refrigerate to marinate at least 24 hours or for up to two days.

    Place the pork in a roasting pan and cover with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  6. When ready to cook, let the pork sit at room temperature at least one hour or until it reaches room temperature. Then, preheat oven to 450 F.

    pork with rub on top

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  7. Line a roasting pan with heavy foil and insert a roasting rack.

    roast pork in a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  8. Roast pork uncovered for 30 minutes at this high heat, and then lower the temperature to 325 F.

    roasted pork in a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  9. Roast for an additional 3 to 4 hours. If you notice the crust starting to over-blacken, cover again with aluminum foil. The pork is done when an instant-read thermometer (inserted in the thickest part of the meat away from fat) reads 180 to 190 F.

    pork covered with aluminum foil

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  10. Remove from the oven and rest for 30 minutes before carving.

    roasted pork in a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  11. Serve with your favorites sides and enjoy!

    Jamaican Oven Jerk Pork Shoulder

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

What to Serve With Jamaican Jerk Pork Roast

If you'd like to make a traditional Caribbean-style meal, here are some ideas for side dishes:

How to Store and Freeze

  • Refrigerate leftover pork in shallow, airtight containers within 2 hours, and eat within 3 days.
  • Sliced or shredded pork roast may be frozen for longer storage. Transfer the pork pieces to zip-close freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To defrost cooked pork, place it in the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. Reheat and use within the next 24 hours.

Food Safety

While the leftover marinade can be refrigerated for later use, you want to ensure that there is no cross-contamination between raw pork and the marinade, as this introduces bacteria into the sauce that could potentially cause food-borne illnesses. Pour the sauce onto the meat with the help of a utensil and then use your gloved hands to press and massage the coating into the meat.

What is the Best Internal Temperature for Pork Shoulder?

The internal temperature of 145 F is the minimum safe temperature for pork, and it's a good temperature for lean chops, loin, and tenderloin. But pork shoulder, with its fat marbling and connective tissue, is best cooked to at least 170 F. For a moist, tender pork shoulder, cook it to an internal temperature of about 180 F to 190 F.