The first time I visited Jamaica was in 2012. Close friends who had been going there on vacation for years invited my husband and me to the cliffs of Negril, in the westernmost corner of the island. Among the many features of the area they extolled was a local jerk shack just down the road from the small hotel where we were staying. But, they cautioned us, don’t go too hungry, and be prepared to wait. After all, great jerk cannot be hurried, nor can island time. I was familiar with jerk seasoning from my childhood, when walks home from my public school in Toronto would take me through a Caribbean neighborhood where I devoured beef patties and jerk chicken thighs as an after-school snack. But that was the extent of my knowledge of Jamaica’s distinctive cuisine. The chance to get to know it better while sitting on the beach, eating chicken and seafood laced with Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, and garlic, and washing it all down with an ice-cold Red Stripe was one I could not pass up.That first jerk shack did not disappoint, nor have any of the others we’ve frequented on our many subsequent visits. In the years since our first foray we have mastered our timing to arrive midafternoon, still full from a late lunch and happy to linger for a few hours sipping cold drinks while our dinner is prepared. After trying every item that can be basted or drizzled in the flavors of jerk, from shrimp to chicken to whole fish and even cocktails, hands down my favorite incarnation is lobster, where the jerk paste is stirred into butter and used to baste the crustacean while it cooks over the flames. My streamlined version is one that you can make all year round, but grilling the lobsters outside, beer in hand, is always encouraged.