A community newspaper serving western Albemarle County

Seasonal Flavors: Jamaican Barbecue

By Denise Zito

Virginia has four seasons (maybe not this year, but generally) and they fall nearly directly on the calendar so that come March 21, things begin to warm up. This was both a revelation and a delight to those of us living in the frozen north. We would often visit our Virginia cousins for Easter and would be able to wear our spring coats and patent leather shoes, and no snow boots necessary!  Virginia was an exotic place where they cooled the house by closing all the windows…my eight-year-old self would marvel at this because up north, if we wanted the house to cool, we would open the windows. I had no idea about air conditioning and even when it was explained to me, it didn’t make sense to close the windows in order to cool the house.

These were the worldly relatives who were in the Navy and traveled the world. It was still quite a big deal to live abroad and we were both curious and envious of their adventures.

When they lived stateside in Dahlgren, Virginia, we were able to visit Uncle Chuck and Aunt Pat and my two cousins fairly often. Six of us added to the four of them meant a lot of cooking. Aunt Pat was an inventive cook and had gathered recipes during their naval travels so there was always something new and delicious.

I had two Aunt Pats and both were my favorites. The Virginia Aunt Pat was a true Southerner and very sassy. She would chide us for calling her Aunt (rhymes with pant) instead of Aunt (rhymes with gaunt). This being a tongue twister for us Yankee kids, we would take to calling her Aunt Pot. She was not amused, but it made six kids laugh hysterically.

Aunt Pat is now in heaven, so I asked my cousins where she got this recipe. Neither of them could remember. My sister believes Aunt Pat got it from their cook when they lived in Spain. I’m going with that version.

Here is a recipe that will feed 10 family members. It’s so easy and really delicious.

Jamaican Barbecue

  • 6 lbs. pork butt roast
  • 1 ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T. red pepper flakes

Bake pork in a covered roasting pan for 30 minutes at 500 degrees F. Reduce heat to 225 degrees and continue cooking for 12 hours. Remove from oven, pull the pork apart with two forks. Discard the bone. Drain excess fat.

Combine other ingredients in a sauce pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves.  Pour over pork.  Serve on sandwich rolls.

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