Jamaica The Complete Book of Caribbean Cooking

Roast Pork Calypso (Jamaica)

This herbaceous, sweet/sour roast pork is the perfect center-piece for your Jamaican dinner party.

Although the origins of this dish are as obscure as Ortiz’s Port Royal Lamb Shanks and Port Antonio Beefsteak, it is not surprising at all that this fabulous recipe has managed to proliferate itself into a popular classic. With its charismatic blend of ginger, cloves, brown sugar and crumbled bay leaf, this Roast Pork Calypso delivers a hefty bite of that addictive sweet and savoury combination. Throw in a cup of dark Appleton’s Jamaican rum and the juice of a couple of limes, just so don’t forget this is from Jamaica and you’ve got yourself the perfect summer roast for the picnic table.

A variation of this recipe can be found on Epicurious citing Bon Appetit magazine’s August 1992 “Summer Getaways” issue as the original source. This seems to be the version that most people online are familiar with, however, I am inclined to believe the Bon Appetit version itself to be a re-working of this original 1970s recipe. It’s kind of interesting to think that most people probably aren’t aware that the bread crumb trail for this fairly popular and widespread dish ends right here with Ortiz’s book. Once again, I am awestruck by the momental achievement Ortiz carried out in being essential the first Westerner to collect and catalogue these precious and unique recipes from all over the Caribbean for future generations.


5-6 lb pork loin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves, crushed
1 cup dark Appleton’s Jamaican Rum
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 lime juice
2 tsp arrowroot


1. Score fat side of loin in diamond pattern.
2. Mix together salt, pepper, ginger, cloves, and garlic and rub into fatty side.
3. Sprinkle crumbled bay leaves over top.
4. Place in roasting pan with 1/2 cup rum and 1/2 cup chicken stock and bake in oven at 325 degree for roughly 30 mins per pound.
5. Mix together 1/2 cup rum, brown sugar, and lime juice.
6. Halfway through cooking, baste roast pork with marinade.
7. Baste frequently, adding more chicken stock as needed.
8. When cooked, removed pork and keep warm. Skim fat from drippings. Measure to 2 cups, adding stock if necessary. Bring to a boil.
9. Make a slurry of arrowroot and water and add to the sauce to thicken into a gravy. Arrowroot is a thickener that can be found in Caribbean grocers, but if you’re having trouble just use cornstarch instead.