The Caribbean in Connecticut

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by Nick Doniger
from Sizzle Grove

That's no burger - that's spicy jerk pork shoulder!

THE STORY OF A MAN AND THE SANDWICH HE COULDN’T RESIST.

by Nick Doniger
from Sizzle Grove

 


 

SIZZLE GROVE recently visited East Hartford, Connecticut to check out what was brewing over at Olde Burnside Brewing Company.  It was 12:30pm after the interview, and I was thinking about getting some food from a drive-thru to eat in the car on the way home.  It wasThat's no burger - that's spicy jerk pork shoulder! cold out.  So I scanned the GPS and saw a place called Carl’s Barbeque & Jerk.

Curiously, my friend and I drove to it and managed to squeeze into a parking spot.  Like many authentic barbecue-style joints, this place was small and mostly did take-out.  They had three tables, thank Jeebus, because it was very cold out.

The incredibly reasonably priced menu had a lot of the type of fare you’d expect to see at a take-out joint right in Jamaica.  Jerk pork and chicken, of course, plus curries, which are popular in the islands.  They even had a rib sandwich, which was literally two giant spare ribs right on the bone, placed between long bread and generously doused in an intoxicatingly aromatic barbecue sauce.

Despite the rib fiend that I am, I just had to try a jerk pork sandwich.  My friend/photographer Jean got the rib sandwich.

 

They even had a rib sandwich, which was literally two giant spare ribs right on the bone, placed between long bread and generously doused in an intoxicatingly aromatic barbecue sauce.

 

If you’ve never had authentic jerk pork…I might be as daring to say that it’s even better than traditional American pork shoulder.  The smokey flavor was ever-present, which made me abundantly happy, but that distinct savory, tangy, intensely spicy, warm flavor from Caribbean spices kicked it up to a level I had never imagined.  You know the main trifecta: thyme, allspice, chilis.  I have a feeling a good amount of garlic made its way in there too, possibly some ginger, and a good amount of black pepper.  It almost made me want to zing up Sizzle Grove’s own jerk marinade recipe.

The sandwich came piled with lettuce, tomato and onions and was served with fries and cole slaw (many of their menu selections offer rice and beans as an alternative, but I have to publicly confess to my typical American love of fries and cole slaw).

If you’re in East Hartford, give it a shot.  Don’t be afraid to get lunch at some of those easy-to-miss take-out places.  They just might have the best, most authentic, most delicious street food out there.

And that stuff is seriously made with love.

Carl’s Barbeque & Jerk
285 Silver Lane
East Hartford, CT 06118-1030

 

Nick Doniger is the creator and author of Sizzle Grove, a blog celebrating all that is barbecue and beer.  He is a blogger and online content writer with a degree in American Studies from the University of Connecticut.  Nick’s interest in barbecue stemmed from watching cooking shows and the subsequent purchase of a charcoal grill, plus a couple years of trial, error, and experimentation.  All recipes on his site were developed by him, unless noted otherwise.  His love of craft beer was spawned from frequent visits to his favorite bar at My Place restaurant in Newtown, Connecticut, and from his parents’ and friends’ influence.  In his spare time, Nick enjoys cooking and developing recipes, spending time with his girlfriend, singer Lauryn Linley, and writing his own music.

 


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