Jamaican Oven Jerk Pork Shoulder

Oven-Roasted Jamaican Jerk Pork Shoulder

The Spruce 

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 30 mins
Marinate and Rest: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs 30 mins
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
672 Calories
6g Fat
168g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 672
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 6063mg 264%
Total Carbohydrate 168g 61%
Dietary Fiber 24g 87%
Total Sugars 101g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 140mg 698%
Calcium 652mg 50%
Iron 12mg 69%
Potassium 1492mg 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 (3.5 hours) and resting time (1 hour) when planning your meal.

Ingredients

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 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

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

For the Roast:

  • 1 6 to 9 pound pork shoulder roast

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Oven-Roasted Jamaican Jerk Pork Shoulder
    The Spruce 
  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.

    Oven-Roasted Jamaican Jerk Pork Shoulder
    The Spruce 
  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.

    Oven-Roasted Jamaican Jerk Pork Shoulder
     The Spruce
  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.

    Oven-Roasted Jamaican Jerk Pork Shoulder
     The Spruce
  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.

    Oven-Roasted Jamaican Jerk Pork Shoulder
     The Spruce
  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.

    Oven-Roasted Jamaican Jerk Pork Shoulder
    The Spruce 
  7. Line a roasting pan with heavy foil and insert a roasting rack.

    Oven-Roasted Jamaican Jerk Pork Shoulder
    The Spruce 
  8. Roast pork uncovered for 30 minutes at this high heat, and then lower the temperature to 325 F.

    Oven-Roasted Jamaican Jerk Pork Shoulder
     The Spruce
  9. Bake for an additional 3 hours. If you notice the crust starting to over-blacken, cover again with aluminum foil. Check for doneness after 3.5 hours. The pork should read a minimum of 145 F when an instant-read thermometer is inserted in the thickest part of the meat away from fat.

    Oven-Roasted Jamaican Jerk Pork Shoulder
     The Spruce
  10. Remove from the oven and rest for 30 minutes before carving.

    Oven-Roasted Jamaican Jerk Pork Shoulder
    The Spruce 
  11. Serve with your favorites sides and enjoy!

    Oven-Roasted Jamaican Jerk Pork Shoulder

    The Spruce 

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.