Jo Jo’s Farm Market first opened its doors to the public on Waterloo Road, Kingston in 2002. It may all have begun as the little ‘Uptown Coronation Market’, with its large selection of fresh, local produce, but after just a few short years, JoJo’s added take-out and Jo Jo’s Jerk Pit & More, becoming one of Kingston’s best kept secrets, a place where one can ‘Feel Jamaica and Taste Jamaica’.
While still sizzling from their win at the 2009 Jack Daniel’s All Jamaica Grill Off, Jo Jo’s earned the opportunity to represent Jamaica at the world’s largest and most prestigious invitational grilling competition: the 2009 American Royal Barbeque in Kansas City, Missouri, the most prestigious barbeque competition in the United States and the largest barbecue contest in the world. Joining nearly 500 grilling teams from across the globe and competing in four culinary contests, Team Jamaica took Kansas City by storm from the get-go.
On Friday night, known on the circuit as Fantastic Friday, the grilling and partying carried on through the night before the official judging on Saturday. With its booth festooned in red, green and gold, Team Jamaica fired up their grill pit and settled in for 16 hours of slow cooking brisket. Jamaica Trade & Invest and the Jamaica Tourist Board supported the effort, and as our colours flowed, so too did our Jamaican hospitality, Appleton Rum and Red Stripe Beer – the perfect partner for Team Jamaica’s samplings of jerk pork and chicken.
And while there are differences between Jamaica’s seasonings and grilling methods compared to traditional American Royal barbeque methods, it was all thumbs up for Team Jamaica’s fare from the patrons. Added to that, Jamaica was the first English-speaking Caribbean country to be invited to this prestigious event, earned coverage from two television stations, local newspapers and CNN, and made an impressive mark on the competition, endearing many to our traditional excellence in hospitality.
“The popularity of our jerk cooking and savoury seasonings among the public put Jamaica on the culinary map for future competitions of this kind,” said Jo Jo’s Anna Chin when she got back to Jamaica. “We made our presence known, and despite the long grilling hours, fall temperatures and our cultural differences in grilling methods, it was a fantastic experience, not only for Team Jamaica – Jo Jo’s Jerk Pit & More – but for Jamaica itself, as a viable brand in the American culinary arena. All of us on Team Jamaica bid farewell to Kansas City warmed in spirit and flushed with pride for our country.
From Jamaica to Kansas City, Jo Jo’s has proven itself a culinary tour de force in the international grilling arena.
Come feel Jamaica… Taste Jamaica.