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The Jerk Taco Man

The Jerk Taco Man
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  • The Jerk Taco Man

    Post #1 - May 12th, 2014, 11:42 am
    Post #1 - May 12th, 2014, 11:42 am Post #1 - May 12th, 2014, 11:42 am
    If you've ever been riding on the Westside and smelled sweet smoke in the air around Pulaski and Wilcox you rode right by the Jerk Taco Guy. It happened to me a few times before I was able to see him in action in the empty lot where he sets up when its warm outside. Then before I knew it the brutal winter hit and I never got a chance to go back.

    Image
    Westside Ridin'

    A month or so ago I was headed home riding North down Pulaski when a whiff of jerk chicken snuck through my open window. I looked to my left and there was no sign of him outside so I did a roundabout and noticed a sign of his attached to a building that was housing a hair salon. I decided to further investigate and soon realized the barber shop was also where the Jamaican Jerk Shack was at. So I walked in and brought a halt everyone's conversation before I asked if this was where the jerk chicken was at? "Right over here honey" was the reply from a lady at the register towards the back.

    Image
    Pulaski and Wilcox

    She showed me a menu card and I placed my order for two jerk chicken tacos ($7) which made the most sense since this was my first visit. Other items offered were the popular jerk steak tacos as well as jerk chicken dinners and other Jamaican favorites aa well as creations like a jerk steak sandwich and the likes. After paying I was given my receipt and told to head next door to pick up my order.

    Image
    The room next door

    Turns out the smoking rig is outside in the back lot of the barbershop storefront which this space is attached to. I waited for my food as lots of chopping sounds rang thru the room. Soon later my number was called. Don't throw your receipt away as this isn't a Check Please type place, more like "Where's your Ticket?!?!"

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    Prepping the Tacos

    First thing you notice about these tacos is how stuffed with chicken they are. It's too hard to eat them as is without gnawing down on some of the meat to make a better ratio of it to tortilla. Everything includes onions, cilantro, shredded cheddar and the house jerk sauce. The chicken is indeed smoked and comes with the perfect hint of it and the jerk sauce is exceptional. Really nice heat but not the type that makes you uncomfortable though not for the novice either. Overall I thought they were really good as cilantro and onion always match well with tortillas and heat. The whole process took me back to the islands as the only place to eat these is in your car or al trunko. It's only a matter of time before Caribbean Fusion tacos take hipster hoods by storm.

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    Jerk Chicken Taco

    The Jamaican Jerk Shack aka The Jerk Taco Man
    Pulaski and Wilcox
    (312) 709-8281
  • Post #2 - May 12th, 2014, 11:50 am
    Post #2 - May 12th, 2014, 11:50 am Post #2 - May 12th, 2014, 11:50 am
    I've been dying to try this place ever since I saw that sign almost a year ago, while tracking down the Delta Tamale guy. I'm so glad you finally made it in, though surprised it took you so long too. Thanks for sharing!
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #3 - May 13th, 2014, 9:49 am
    Post #3 - May 13th, 2014, 9:49 am Post #3 - May 13th, 2014, 9:49 am
    On my 'short list'.
    Thanks!-Dick
  • Post #4 - May 14th, 2014, 7:25 am
    Post #4 - May 14th, 2014, 7:25 am Post #4 - May 14th, 2014, 7:25 am
    Well done, Da Beef. You given me a reason to be on that stretch of Pulaski.

    Corn tortillas?
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #5 - May 14th, 2014, 7:59 am
    Post #5 - May 14th, 2014, 7:59 am Post #5 - May 14th, 2014, 7:59 am
    DAMN! I was just at the Garfield Park Conservatory on Mother's day.
    Lesson learned - always check LTH before going anywhere :lol:
  • Post #6 - May 14th, 2014, 12:29 pm
    Post #6 - May 14th, 2014, 12:29 pm Post #6 - May 14th, 2014, 12:29 pm
    zoid wrote:Lesson learned - always check LTH before going anywhere :lol:
    I always tell myself that and still don't practice it as much as I'd like. I also read posts too quickly as if I had carefully the OP's post, it clearly states that one has to enter the beauty shop on the corner of Wilcox & Pulaski. I had to call the phone number listed on the sign, doh!

    Anyways, I tried 3 of the jerk tacos for lunch today: Steak, Chicken, Fish

    I did not get cheese on mine, just didn't seem right to me, I did get the onions, cilantro & squirt of jerk sauce.

    Chicken was by far the best, followed by steak, then the fish. Not that the fish was bad, it was good catfish but really didn't hold the jerk flavor unlike say the tandoori fish from Kahns BBQ.

    These are HUGE tacos, way overstuffed, not that I'm complaining (juicy as well). I now have leftover jerk meat for a dinner sometime later this week, but any thoughts of this being a portable meal are gone as it just isn't possible.

    I'd really like to get back & try the pork. One of the Jerk Man folks I spoke with said he is going to have his truck open on the corner of Pulaski & Adams once things warm up a bit more.

    While I liked the jerk flavor of the meat here, I didn't like it as much as Jerk at the recent place I went to Sunrise on Howard Street. That said, if I am craving jerk & am on the West side, I know where I'm going.

    BTW, from the way back machine, the two tunes that were jamming while I was waiting were:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZG7Czk47u8
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6blgjF6UkU
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #7 - May 16th, 2014, 3:13 pm
    Post #7 - May 16th, 2014, 3:13 pm Post #7 - May 16th, 2014, 3:13 pm
    Sweet Willie wrote:I did not get cheese on mine, just didn't seem right to me


    Whatever, food snob. That shredded "cheddar" looks just perfect on that taco!
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #8 - September 2nd, 2015, 7:04 pm
    Post #8 - September 2nd, 2015, 7:04 pm Post #8 - September 2nd, 2015, 7:04 pm
    Jerk Taco Man is hopping. Now located in a former auto-repair shop at Pulaski and Jackson, it’s not hard to spot. Just look for the crowd. On a recent Saturday lunch visit, there had to have been around twenty people waiting. 5 dollars for a jerk chicken taco (or two for nine) but as discussed upthread, the portion of meat for one taco is at least your average burrito’s worth, spilling out of a single flour tortilla. Of course, they do offer burritos, too, which might just contain a gallon of meat, if my math is right. So ordering a couple extra shells isn’t a bad idea, unless you’re on that low-carb, high-jerk chicken diet.

    Patience and a keen ear are required after ordering. Once you hear your name, you slap your ticket against the glass so you can see it, they confirm your order, and ask what you want on your taco. Then you listen for your name again when the order is ready for takeout. The result is, well, chaotic—names being shouted by two different people, customers wondering aloud when their name is going to be called. The wait can be long (~15-20 min). Perhaps this is why they heavily promote ordering online, which tacks on a five dollar convenience charge but removes the wait. No one would blame you for doing that, and for a large order, it could be worth it. But if you’re not in a hurry, catching a little ESPN on the waiting area TV and absorbing the smells and sounds isn’t a bad way to pass the time.

    It’d be a shame if the wait overshadowed the food for anyone at Jerk Taco Man. The jerk chicken is excellent. It hits that perfect background level of spice that you might not fully notice until you stop eating, when it reverberates and lingers.

    laikom wrote:
    Sweet Willie wrote:I did not get cheese on mine, just didn't seem right to me

    Whatever, food snob. That shredded "cheddar" looks just perfect on that taco!

    I could see people going either way with the cheese. If you’re a fan, the cheese ties together the elements of the taco (flour tortilla, onion, cilantro and meat). If you’re not a fan, the cheese creates a gooey mess. I felt indifferent about it—it’s never going to overpower the jerk flavor, but I didn’t believe it added much beyond texture.

    Jerk Taco Man
    4001 W. Jackson Blvd.
    Chicago, IL 60624
    (312) 709-8281
  • Post #9 - September 3rd, 2015, 10:02 am
    Post #9 - September 3rd, 2015, 10:02 am Post #9 - September 3rd, 2015, 10:02 am
    I'd like to second what T Kent said about the wait and emphasize that at peak hours it can take even longer. Not knowing what I was getting into, I stopped in around 2 on a nice Saturday about a month ago and more than an hour later, I walked out with my food. I didn't have anything else to do so I didn't mind, but it was surprising.

    T Kent wrote:It’d be a shame if the wait overshadowed the food for anyone at Jerk Taco Man. The jerk chicken is excellent. It hits that perfect background level of spice that you might not fully notice until you stop eating, when it reverberates and lingers.

    Agreed.
  • Post #10 - April 4th, 2017, 3:23 pm
    Post #10 - April 4th, 2017, 3:23 pm Post #10 - April 4th, 2017, 3:23 pm
    Two Conversations at Jerk Taco Man This Lunch Hour

    1.

    Bunch of us waiting in line while our food is prepared. Streets n' San guy next to me lifts his eyebrows and gazes just past me to signal, lookitthat! I turn to see two tacos being made with about 1/2 pound of meat on each.

    Me: They put a lot of meat on those tacos!
    Streets n' San Guy: I'm looking at the meat on that ass (gesturing to woman making tacos). She is thick!


    Streets n' San guy proceeds to attempt eye contact with woman making tacos.

    2.

    I'm walking back to my car with arms full of food (two giant tacos, more like burritos, and two pounds of crab). I spot two street ladies lolling on my car.

    Street Lady #1: [spotting me coming across the street, starts waving] We're sorry. We didn't mean to hurt your car.
    Me: Forget about it. Sorry to move your "chair"!
    Street Lady #2: You're nice. Most people get angry when we sit on their cars.


    So I guess sitting on cars is their thing. That's cool. No harm.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”

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