Monday, November 15, 2010

Festival (Jamaican Hush Puppies)

I smoked a Jamaican Jerk Pork Butt this weekend.

Done laughing yet? No seriously, I smoked a pork shoulder (aka butt) using a jerk wet rub. Wow, that just doesn't sound any better.

I wanted to serve it with something authentic, I was thinking some kind of flat bread. But reading Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue! and a few other sources talked about a sweet dumpling called Festival that is served with the spicy jerk foods to help balance out the heat.

source: Jamaica Travel & Culture

1 1/2 cups flour
3 Tbsp corn meal
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

Sift the flour and add the corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Mix the water and vanilla.

Add small amounts (1-2 Tbsp at a time) of the wet mix to the dry mix, constantly working with your finger tips. When you get to the point where 1/2 cup of water has been added, they said it should look like bread crumbs. Well.....close.

Keep adding water until the mixture becomes a slightly sticky ball of dough. You won't need the full cup. We used about 3/4 cup.

Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

Divide the mixture in 8 even portions and form into sausage like shapes. It helps to have flour covered hands when doing this.

Roll each Festival in a mix of flour and cornmeal.

Deep fry. The recipe said "until golden brown - this should take 1/2 hour". But they were using pan frying. We were using a deep fryer and knew 1/2 hour would give us stones. We found that doing them at 325f for 6 1/2 minutes gave a nice crispy outside and moist, cooked inside.

Raichlen mentioned that jerk pork and festival were served on plain butcher's paper, nothing more, so that is how we served ours.

These were so good NEXT to each other I had to try them together. So I sliced a festival in half and filled it with jerk pork.

The festival are like a hush puppy but just different enough that they aren't the same thing. They aren't as sweet, don't have so much corn flavor, and the hint of vanilla is there. We all liked these.

The pork I did on the other hand was a perfectly cooked pork butt

but it was underwhelming as "jerk". Part of that was that I substituted out the habanero (just didn't have any) but the other traditional jerk flavors (allspice, cinnamon, thyme, etc) were also shy. Next time I'm going to try Raichlen's jerk pork recipe since it is very different from the one I tried in ingredients and processes.

BBQ Techno Geek Warning: Here is the log from the pork butt cook.
I like using logs like this for my longer cooks because it helps me track variables but it also makes me pay attention more during the cook.

So have you ever had festival?
What are the best hush puppies you have ever had?