Typical sidewalk jerking operation
Brooklyn is the jerk capital of the world, more so than even Jamaica itself. You can’t go very far in Brooklyn neighborhoods like Crown Heights, Rugby, East New York, and Flatbush without seeing a 60-gallon drum spewing smoke — the universal symbol of some of the tastiest chicken on earth. On top of that, it’s often spicy as hell.
This week, Counter Culture races around Flatbush to find the best examples, and here we offer you the top six versions we found.
6. Fisherman’s Cove: This closet-size spot does great jerk chicken in small batches cooked over flame. The chicken is moist and smoky, and the jerk sauce a little tomatoey but still good, and spicy with Scotch bonnet peppers. 2025 Church Avenue, Flatbush, Brooklyn, 718-284-1879
5. K & E: This newcomer throws down the gauntlet to the Golden Krust across the street, offering a full Jamaican menu including pepperpots, curry chicken, rotis, and sweet pastries. Center of the menu are very good versions of jerk chicken (below), done to a gorgeous shade of mahogany, and the rarer jerk pork (further below). 931 Flatbush Avenue, Flatbush, Brooklyn, 929-234-2811
4. Exquisite Supreme: This handsome restaurant near Brooklyn College features a pristine, L-shaped steam table and plenty of sunny window seating. The jerk is nicely done, an amazing quantity for $5 that bulges from the container. The skin is crisp, the flesh moderately smoky, the sauce medium brown, coarse, and incendiary, with a Worcestershire aftertaste. 2905 Glenwood Road, Flatbush, Brooklyn, 347-533-6453
3. Errol’s Caribbean Bakery: This corner bakery run by rastas is as friendly as can be. The jerk chicken not particularly smoky, but it is plump and pungent. The sauce (below) proved dark and thick and very Worcestershire-y, with allspice constituting a prominent flavor note. Pastries are especially good, too. 661 Flatbush Avenue, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn, 718-469-6078
2. Peppa’s: Once called Danny & Pepper’s, this place has long been one of the stars of the Flatbush jerk firmament. The poultry (above) is still great, slightly charred, fragrant with charcoal, with a kick-ass thin dark jerk sauce that screams Scotch bonnets. The quantity for the money is also generous. 730 Flatbush Avenue, Flatbush, Brooklyn, 347-712-9341
1. Exquisite Express: Yes this place is related to No. 4 on the list. The chicken is done over flame (not charcoal) in the window. The two jerk sauces are fantastic, one done original style with Scotch bonnet peppers in a vinaigrette, the other thick and Worcestershire-driven. (There’s a third, too, but it isn’t nearly as tasty.) Both are so good, we found ourselves dipping pieces of chicken from other establishments in the sauce. 2847 Church Avenue, East Flatbush, Brooklyn, 718-693-4643
The elongated version of the sweet fritter called “festival.”