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?


  1. Love the BBQ log--it speaks to the techno geek inside of me. Is that just a spreadsheet you populate manually as you cook, or is the data fed in automatically?

    I'm brainstorming right now about how to interface an electric thermometer to my laptop . . .

  2. I've worked with a few jerk butts before...

  3. I love hush puppies. When I was in college, for a short time (good for me it was short), I lived right across the street from a Long John Sliver's... I would walk over there almost every day just for the hush puppies... mmmm!!! The best I ever had though, was at a restaurant in Hawaii....OMG were they good!
    I've been wanting to try Steven's jerk pork recipe too...thanks for the reminder!

    Oh, yea... your festival looks incredible!! :) YUM!

  4. I've never had festival and the vanilla would have made me think twice about this recipe. Great that you tried it - the little sandwich with all the perfectly cooked pork looks crazy good!

    I don't believe I've ever met a hushpuppie I didn't love, or at least like - my favorite catfish joint in Texas put a little grated onion in theirs.

  5. I've not ever had festival and the best Hush Puppies I've ever had were at Long John Silver's. There, are you done laughing yet? Honestly, I don't live in an area where Hush Puppies are served. I love the idea that you put the pork on the puppy.

  6. The pork looks amazing and I'm a sucker for a good spreadsheet.

  7. I have a jar of jerk marinade in the fridge that my son gave me, but never considered smoking with it. Do you think it would have come out okay if you had basted it a few times then mixed some of the marinade into the pulled meat. I may have to give it a try.

  8. I've never made hush puppies, although at the moment I have some oil I used the other day, strained, and have in the fridge. No room on the menu today, but maybe soon.

    This will sound odd, but I occasionally indulge in Long John Silver's fish filets. The hush puppies they proved are pretty darn good.

  9. Even though it didn't turn out exactly like you wanted it to, it looks delicious! And yeah, I'm still laughing over your smokin' adventures :-p

  10. I be I be I be- gosh I just want to eat the computer right now!

  11. Never had festival and used to love hush puppies - but haven't had them in years. I want to make these!

  12. So far from this type of jerk, here isn’t common. Anyway this pork is to eat the screen, right now!!



  13. I think you should slide a few of those festivals my way.....holy cow do they look great with that pork!

    P.S. Thanks for the email and video. My husband and I both enjoyed it and have now been using the words ascertain, askew, and catawampus on a regular basis. We love to confuse and irritate the children this way. Gotta pay them back somehow, right?

  14. I am drooling here :)It looks delicious....I want to make the hush puppies.

  15. Jerks, Butts, yes. Never had a Festival though, but would love to try those ones!

    I love the logs. That was the reason I first happily stumbled across Nibble Me This. It shows you take your BBQ seriously.

  16. Eh, my puppies are pretty basic. Nothing to get excited about. Love the jerk butt though. And seriously, y'all keep logs too? Who knew?!

  17. Did I ever tell you that I spent most of the summers of my youth on the island of St. Martin? Long before it was ever a tourist destination and I can tell you these little fritter are just exactly the sort of thing I remember! GREG

  18. I might never stop laughing after that first sentence. So did you inhale?

  19. Very clever using the hush puppies to make sandwiches. This would be perfect for the great match up between the mighty Packers and the sad sad Vikings on Sunday! My husband will love this.

  20. I've never had Festival before but I want one right now... filled with the pulled pork please.

  21. Great forum.
    Please enter me in your cast iron grate give away.
    Thank you.
    Darian Hofer
    Egghead forum.
    Photo Egg


Comments are moderated and won't appear immediately.