Chef Jimmie Jackson embraced Jamaican culture at a young age. He recalls his stepfather’s passion for Caribbean cuisine, which sparked that initial love for Jamaican flavors.
Jackson went on to study culinary arts in Atlanta and began entering jerk competitions in 2010. In 2012, he won Top Chef at the Atlanta Caribbean Jerk Festival, and other victories followed. He created a Jerk Seasoning line in 2015.
But it was the COVID-19 pandemic that pushed Jackson to fully pursue opening Jimmie’s Jerk Chicken, where he remains true to his initial passion for Caribbean flavors while showcasing what he calls “American Jerk.”
Jerk spice has its roots in the fusion of African and Taíno cultures. The Taíno people were indigenous to the Caribbean, and their food styles intermingled with enslaved Africans brought to the Caribbean by Spanish slave traders.
Jackson’s featured dish is the Jerk Lamb Sandwich, which he will be serving this Friday and Saturday night at Boggs Social & Supply in West End. Like many of his dishes, this sandwich highlights “American Jerk” through its combination of traditional flavors and techniques with a modern, Mediterranean twist.
Jackson said he draws inspiration from the unknown. “I’ve never seen or heard of pulled lamb shoulder as BBQ – only pork,” he remarked. He built this sandwich around the unusual ingredient of barbecued lamb.
The jerk rubbed lamb stands as the star of this dish. It is smoked with oak and wild cherry until perfectly tender. Jackson wanted to pair the jerk lamb with other flavors he loves, and gyros stood out in his mind. The sandwich is finished with tzatziki sauce, red cabbage slaw tossed in a lime vinaigrette and served on a griddled brioche bun.
Overall, this dish pulls together a variety of ingredients that lend a distinct, but necessary flavor. The tzatziki sauce cools the spice of the jerk, and the slaw brings a hit of acidity to cut the richness of the meat and the brioche bun.
Punk Foodie offers this weekly column about Punk Food, a moniker for a cuisine without defining or distinctive ingredients, techniques and dishes which is being born out of the increasing infusion of the diverse cultures and experiences that live in our city. Find out where JImmie is popping up next and go deeper via Punk Foodie’s weekly guides and pop-up calendar.