Thanksgiving Holiday is a big deal. Families near and far find their way home to be with their loved ones. This awesome eating holiday may be the biggest family get together of the year for the countries that celebrate Thanksgiving. Traditional Thanksgiving dinner has always centered around turkey. It first started with wildfowl and has since graduated to turkey.
The eating festivity has been going on since the Pilgrims celebrated harvest at Plymouth Colony in 1621, yet the holiday did not become a national holiday until 1863. It took Sarah Josepha Hale 36 years since pitching the thanksgiving idea in 1827. Finally, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln bought into the idea as a way to unite the country during the Civil War. 153 years later, the country is still trying to unite, but the attention the holiday receives is significant.
America, the melting pot of the world with many nationalities, has expanded the celebration of Thanksgiving dinner choices. These days, the food served during the holiday season blends local tradition with authentic cultural dishes, while Turkey still remains the centerpiece dish surrounded by many others.
The truth is, families are more accustomed to cooking food of their likeness—even if that means scaling up on the menu. Make the holiday a blast that’s more enjoyable and tasty. Unite the family and make it your own. Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Jamaica, but harvest and family celebration is. That being said, here are 5 amazing Jamaican Thanksgiving recipes that will make you MELT this Turkey Day!
1. Deep Fry Turkey with Jerk Season and Beer
Prep Time 3.5 hours | Cleaning & Marinating 1-2 days
1 turkey (up to 20 pounds)
1 tbsp of vinegar
1 tbsp of black pepper
4 stems of fresh thyme
1 tbsp of salt
10 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 pint of canned beer
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
2 tbsp of dry jerk seasoning
2 tbsp of Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning
3 tbsp of all-purpose seasoning
1 injector to add the beer and blended seasoning inside the turkey
- Remove turkey from refrigerator and place in large tub or pot of water(enough to cover turkey), adding a generous amount of sea salt to let it thaw out.
- Remove bag with neck and giblets from inside the turkey once it thaws out.
- Wash turkey clean with lemon, salt and vinegar, and then pat dry with paper towels.
- Blend together onion, garlic, scallions, fresh thyme and a quarter of the beer.
- Once blended, add in remaining beer, salt, dry and walkerswood jerk seasoning (for injecting into the turkey) and whisk together. Set aside some dry ingredients for rubbing the outside and inside of the turkey.
- Strain the beer ingredients mixture and begin injecting into the turkey (all over). When completed, rub dry ingredients and sprinkle some black pepper all over and inside the turkey.
- After seasoning, cover and place turkey in refrigerator and let it marinade for at least 1 day, could be up to two days.
- Turn the bird over after 12 hours and as the seasoning drains in the pan, use the injector to scoop up and reinject into the bird.
- Marinade for a day or marinade once every 24 hours if marinating for more than a day.
- On cooking day, remove turkey from refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for about an hour. While turkey is getting to room temperature, prepare electric fryer with oil and allow about 45 – 60 minutes for oil to reach 375 degrees.
- Use a meat thermometer and check turkey breast to ensure it has reached the cooking temperature of 165 – 170 degrees (usually takes about 3.5 – 4 minutes per pound, so a 15 pound turkey will take about 60 minutes).
- Once the oil is ready, pat turkey dry with paper towel and again rub some salt and black pepper onto turkey.
- Place turkey in basket of electric fryer with breast side facing up and follow electric fryer cooking instructions.
Note: Cooking conditions vary based on turkey. Remove pop-up cooking indicator before frying turkey.
2. Lobster Sauté
2 minutes if lobster is precooked
2 large pre-cooked lobster tails
1 sweet yellow pepper
1 sweet red pepper
1/2 tbsp of black pepper
3 stems of fresh thyme
1 small onion
2 sprinkles of garlic salt
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
3 tbsp of unsalted butter
1 tbsp of all purpose seasoning
- Squeeze half lemon in a pot filled with 1/3 of water.
- Dip lobster tail in water, shake the pot a few times, and remove.
- Wash turkey clean with lemon, salt and vinegar, and then pat dry with paper towels.
- Put pre-cooked lobster tails in boiling water for 3 minutes.
- Remove lobster tail and peel shell away, and cut meat into sizable portions.
- Use a deep frying pan or wok and bring warm. Add butter, lemon juice, garlic salt, fine chopped scallion, slice yellow sweet pepper and red sweet pepper in half. Use each half of the peppers dice in strips. Add cut small onion and smashed garlic to sauce pan.
- Saute for about 3 minutes with continuous stirring.
- Add lobster meat to pan and sauté for about 2 minutes.
3. Jerk Chicken
Jerk Chicken Recipe is one of the jerk cooking recipe that Jamaicans love. When it comes to authentic dishes, Jerk Chicken Recipe and Jamaica has a very long history.
Jerk Chicken is traditionally cooked on a medium fire in order to get that mouth watering, juicy taste. To get the true authentic taste, Jerk Chicken was cooked on pimento wood. As the pimento wood burns, the smoke would penetrate the chicken which gives it the added flavor.
1 whole chicken cut in halves or quarters; large pieces are more manageable on grill and retains more of the flavor (Recommended: skin-on for grilling)
3 tbsp Ocho Rios Jerk Spicy or Mild Jerk Sauce
4 tbsp Ocho Rios Jerk All in One Dry Seasoning
1 tbsp allspice ground pimento
- Clean and prepare chicken fully, pat dry, and slice breast with knife to allow seasoning to penetrate.
- Season chicken with Ocho Rios Jerk Seasoning (spicy or mild). Allow seasoning sauce to get all over chicken.
- Sprinkle Allspice ground pimento on chicken.
- Rub Ocho Rios Jerk All in One dry seasoning thoroughly over chicken.
- Refrigerate chicken for 4 hours or greater to marinate (preferable overnight).
For best results: Plan ahead by seasoning the chicken in a dish, cover it, and refrigerate it over night. This process gives the chicken time to marinate and get the great tasting meal.
- Remove chicken from refrigerator and sprinkle a small amount of paprika to get that great color.
- Preheat/light charcoal or gas grill at 350 degrees if temperature gauge is available.
- Place marinated chicken on grill. Turn from side to side until the chicken is golden brown and juicy. Continue turning chicken until done.
- Allow chicken to grill slowly for that juicy mouthwatering taste.
Cooking note: Yes, any combination of chicken parts will do, but for the best result, the larger pieces are recommended. Put chicken on grill when the charcoals are fully lit (when coals turns gray).
4. Jamaican Oxtail
About 90-120 minutes
Can be 60-75 minutes with pressure cooker
3 lbs oxtail cut into 1/2 thick pieces
1 tsp allspice, pimento powder
1/2 cup Ocho Rios Jerk “All in One” dry seasoning
12 oz white butter beans dry or cooked in the can
2 tbsp browning sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 medium onion
1 fresh thyme
3 pegs (layers) of garlic
1/2 tsp tsp salt (or as needed)
- Trim remaining fat from oxtail as needed, then wash and drain water from meat.
- Add Allspice, pimento powder, black pepper and Ocho Rios Jerk “All in One” dry Seasoning and rub over oxtail (can also substitute ingredients with pimento powder and black pepper and rub over into oxtail).
- Add dry butter beans to pot and allow dry beans to cook with the oxtail (if using pre-cooked butter beans, make sure to follow the cooking instructions found on the can).
- Cover oxtail and leave it in the refrigerator to marinate for two hours or more (overnight is preferable).
Note: if you do not have time for oxtail to marinade after seasoning, go to cooking instructions and add oxtail to pot (iron pot with lid preferred), and cover meat with water
- Add water in iron pot to slightly cover oxtail and dry butter beans. Cover pot and turn stove to high heat.
- Allow water to heat for 10 minutes, then add browning sauce to pot.
- Allow water to boil down to 1/4 of original amount and stir to ensure meat and beans don’t stick to the bottom of pot. Allow oxtail and beans to continue cooking.
- Use a fork to stick meat and beans until the meat is tender and the fork can penetrate the beans. Continue this process until oxtail and beans are tender.
- Add water as needed to ensure liquid gravy does not dry out.
- Once oxtail is tender and dry beans cooked, let pot simmer over medium heat stirring a few times.
- Once oxtail is tender and the gravy has thickened, it’s ready.
Note: Oxtail must be cooked before adding pre-cooked butter beans from can, but dry beans can be cooked along with oxtail.
Pressure Cooker Instructions:
- Add water to slightly cover oxtail & dry beans.
- Pressure for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove lid from pressure cooker according to manufacture directions.
- Remove the oxtail from pressure cooker and add to iron pot, then add all remaining substitute ingredients and turn stove to high heat.
- Follow the steps from the original cooking instructions beginning from step 2.
5. Curried Goat
About 90 minutes (could be more or less)
5 lbs goat meat
1/2 cup curry powder
1/2 tbsp allspice, pimento powder
2 medium potatoes
1 fresh stem of thyme
3 cloves of garlic (or to taste)
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
- Cut up goat meat into the size of a small strawberry, wash goat meat, and and drain water.
- Add all the ingredients together on goat meat for seasoning (except for the potato and scotch bonnet pepper, and only use 1/4 cup curry powder, saving the rest for later).
- Using gloves or a spoon to avoid staining your hands, rub the ingredients into the meat.
- Cover and leave curried goat meat to marinade for two hours or more in the refrigerator.
- Peel potatoes and dice in cubes to use later.
- Slightly cover marinated curried goat meat in pot with cool water and cover pot with lid.
- Turn stove between medium and high.
- Sit Scotch Bonnet Pepper on top of meat in pot for flavor (optional).
- Once pot is fully boiling and bubbling, add remaining curry powder, and cook for 1.5 to 3 hours based on tenderness of goat meat.
- Add potatoes once meat is half cooked.
- Stirring occasionally and add water to pot from kettle as needed to prevent sauce/gravy from drying out until meat is tender (remove Scotch Bonnet Pepper during stir, then add back to pot).
- Remove heat for 2 to 3 minutes (or until done).
- If gravy is too runny, mix ½ tsp flower in 1 cup water and add to pot will thicken gravy.