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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Caribbean Connecticut at "Carl's Barbeque & Jerk"

Recently, Sizzle Grove visited East Hartford, CT to check out what was brewing over at Olde Burnside Brewing Company.  After the interview, it was about 12:30pm and I was thinking about getting some food from a drive-thru to eat in the car on the way home.  It was 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, but had three tables.  Thank Jeebus, cuz it was very cold out.

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

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.  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 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


Chef Jay said...

This sandwich looks so delicious and a good match for my barbecue rib recipes in our upcoming pool party. Thanks for this post! said...


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