The triple J- Jamaican Jack Jerk Burger

As I was surfing the net the other day, which equates to slogging through every digital advertisement on Earth, I came across a recipe for a burger with Jamaican spices. It immediately brought back fond memories of our trip to the Island mon! (every Jamaican sentence must be followed by the term “mon”, which translates from the American term “man”. The Canadians in turn end their statements with “ehh”. Folks in my hood end with “hungh”, real loud!

One of my fonder memories was the transportation on the Island.

Simply getting from Point A to Point B is one of Jamaica’s most exciting adventures. Since Jamaica is part of the British Commonwealth, cars drive on the left side of the road, and the local drivers have a unique way of negotiating the highways and narrow streets in the townships: the faster the better.

On the way from the airport in Montego Bay to the Rockhouse Hotel in Negril, (a must check out!) our bus driver told us, “We will be passing right through the next town.” He wasn’t kidding. He only slowed to about 40 mph down narrow streets as we rocketed past unflinching pedestrians. Meanwhile, the white-knuckled tourist passengers braced for an impact that never came.

All this was done with one-handed steering, since the driver’s other arm was busy pumping a clenched fist to the pounding pulse of loud Reggae music.

But I digress.

As I checked out the ingredients I immediately saw room for recipe improvement! Ha!

I soon found myself constructing a new and improved version worth mentioning as follows. This is an easy one, and tastes great!

Prep and cooking time sober, One hour

Prep and cooking time “in the bag”, all afternoon. Can’t find anything.



Jamaican Jack Jerk Burgers Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 6 burgers. Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 3 habanero chili peppers, minced (be a man, use it all!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion, including greens
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 shot of pancake syrup (small squeeze = 1 tbsp.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 thick slices of Jack Cheese
  • 2 pounds ground beef, at least 15% fat
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • Pinch of chopped thyme
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp of orange juice from orange you will be zesting
  • 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1 In a food processor, put the vinegar, water, habanero chili, green onion, garlic, thyme, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, molasses, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped.

2 Using your hands, gently mix the jerk mixture in with the ground beef in a large bowl until just incorporated. Do not over-mix. Shape into patties, about 1/2 inch thick and wider than the diameter of your hamburger bun. Chill about 30 minutes or until you are ready to cook. (Remember to wash hands with soap and water after handling, you will thank me later)

3 coleslaw-In a medium bowl, mix the cabbage, red onion, thyme, mayonnaise, citrus juice, zest, salt and pepper.

4 Prepare gas or charcoal grill for cooking over high direct heat. Place the patties on the clean, well-oiled grill grate. (if you find one, please send me a photo, as I have not seen a clean grill grate since childhood) Grill the burgers for about 3 minutes per side, (until you see juices leach through) add cheese, cover with a lid until cheese has melted. If you don’t have a grill, you can use a large frying pan on the stove top. As the burger has so much flavor anyway, a grill is nice, but not mandatory.

Serve burgers topped with the coleslaw, with or without hamburger buns.

This is a burger that pairs with Red Stripe beer, Jamaica’s national pastime!


Meatloaf in Bread Recipe

I don’t know where I came by this recipe. Maybe in a newspaper article, a television program, or a dream. Ahh, to dream of meatloaf! Anyway, we love it, and it’s relatively easy to prepare. All the ingredients can be acquired at any grocery store. Presentation is everything, and this dish looks great! Nothing like the sound of “definite family approval” for this dish. (Lots of ooohs and ahhs.)
In our family, the individual loaf or loaves can be specifically made to suit the diner. In place of sun-dried tomato, try throwing in a few slices of jalapeno. For me, I like the way it burns on the way down. (Just be sure that you mark the one that is specifically for you, so you don’t poison your family. No matter how good it looks, if their heads are on fire the meal will be a flop and never be forgotten.Funny how we remember the worst meals of our lives like we tried to eat them yesterday.Fear not! This will not be the case!

Meatloaf Recipe
Meatloaf Loaves (say that tree times at the end of a cocktail party!)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 6 oz. minced garlic cloves
• 2 oz. butter
• 4 cups sliced mushrooms
• 4 round loafs of French bread
• 2 lbs. lean hamburger
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup milk
• 2 packages of onion soup mix (dry)
• 2 packages of meat loaf mix (dry)
• 2 jars of tomato pesto
• 2 medium-large diced onions
• 8-12 oz. sliced Monterey jack cheese
• 1 jar of sun-dried tomato (in oil, drained)
• 6-8 oz. smoked mozzarella
• 1 12 oz. glass Merlot
Preheat oven to 370 degrees.
On medium heat, in a large pan, heat the olive oil. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. When it looks like it’s about to start sticking, add 2 oz. butter and 4 cups sliced mushrooms. Brown mushrooms and set to side.
With a sharp knife, take top off French bread loaves (kind of like the top of a jack-o’-lantern). Scoop out and crumble all bread inside into a large mixing bowl. Crumble “lids” and add to inside bread, meat, eggs, milk, onion soup mix, and meatloaf mix with your hands. Yes, I hate that feeling also. Just don’t think about it too much.
As there are four separate loaves, do the following for each.
Add about a quarter jar of tomato pesto to bottom of French bread “bowl.” Add a layer of Monterey jack cheese, then about a half inch layer of meat mix on top of that.
Again add about a quarter jar of tomato pesto, and a quarter jar of drained sun dried tomato, another layer of Monterey jack cheese, then about a half inch layer of Meat mix on top of that. This should now be at the top, or lip, of the bread “bowl.” Add a quarter of the mushroom mix, and a quarter of the grated smoked mozzarella to each.
The glass of merlot should have been consumed by the cook at this point.
Wrap the bowl in foil, leaving the top exposed.
Wrap the top loosely with foil so it won’t stick to the smoked mozzarella.
There will be leftover mix, so make a small “conventional” meat loaf, adding any leftover jack cheese to center, and cook same as below.
Place all four totally foil-covered loaves (so bread won’t burn) in preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Wrap bottom with one piece so top can be exposed, then wrap top with another piece. Remove top foil for the last 10 to 12 minutes or until the mozzarella has browned. Remove from oven, wait about 5 minutes, and serve. I like to slice it with a serrated knife, like a pie in quarters, or eighths.
Add salt and pepper to taste, but it’s fine without them.
Serve with dignity!
Turn your back, so your spouse can cover it in cheap ketchup. Go for another glass of merlot.
Makes four loaves.

Diablo Prawn Enchiladas Recipe

On our first date, I took my then future wife Carrie to a place called The Whole Enchilada in Moss Landing. They had a variety of enchiladas, but my favorite was the shrimp. It was a creamy smooth, cheesy dish, the tortilla stuffed with tender shrimp. A culinary delight!
As the years went on and my taste changed, I attempted to replicate the enchilada, only with a spicier flavor.
The following recipe resembles the original only because it has cheese, tortillas, and it’s served on a plate.
This is decadent, rich and not for the squeamish. The sauce is made more for a bunch of chest-butting Navy Seals than your relatives who may believe that flour is a spice.
Heed my warning, this will burn, but it’s a good burn. I serve this dish by itself, and as I add so much heat, I also have to eat it all by myself. The family passes on food this hot.
I brown the tortillas so they don’t break up during assembly or turn into hard crust after baking. I prefer a smooth, soft texture.
The salsa I use comes in a small jar in the Mexican food section at the local market.(La Victoria Salsa jalapeno) I could make my own, but I like the thickness and flavor of this one. Less work, tastes great!

Diablo Prawn Enchiladas Recipe
Note the word “vein” is in quotation marks — you really don’t want to know what it is. I learned this in my college zoology class. Also, I use prawns in this recipe since most markets have already done most of the cleaning, and you have to process fewer than if you used shrimp.
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 12 flour tortillas
• 1 pound prawns, “deveined” and peeled
• 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
• 1/4 cup minced garlic
• 2 jars of salsa, separated (flavor is up to you — this is where the heat comes from)
• 16 oz. sour cream
• 6 large jalapeño peppers
• 2 cups shredded jack cheese
• 8 oz. merlot wine
In a hot pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, which will be enough to brown three flour tortillas. Repeat until all 12 tortillas are lightly browned. Let stand on paper towels; they should not be too oily.
After thoroughly cleaning prawns of all exoskeleton and “vein” (ditch the tail) set prepared prawns aside in ice water. Pat dry before cooking.
Melt half a stick of butter in pan, add minced garlic, and heat about 40 seconds, do not brown or all could be lost. Add prawns, cook for about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add one jar of salsa, 12 oz. sour cream (save the rest for topping), and four chopped jalapeño peppers. (I use only the outside of the pepper in this part, as the seeds contain most of the heat. The outer part has the flavor without the pain.) Stir and set aside.
To assemble, set out tortillas, cheese, prawn mixture and a large greased baking pan.
Put 2 tablespoons shredded cheese and three to four prawns in mixture, then roll up and add to pan. Add a thin layer of salsa (this is to keep it from sticking or burning).
Repeat until baking pan is full.
Add the rest of salsa on top, along with any sauce from cooking the prawns, covering all tortillas so they won’t dry out. Add remaining shredded cheese. Garnish with the last jalapeños, sliced horizontally. These can be removed at serving by those who can’t take the heat.
Cover in foil, making a tent so cheese doesn’t stick, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Let stand for five minutes, then serve. Enjoy!
(You may need 8 oz. of merlot wine by now.)