Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Finger-licking chicken back - Baked, curried, jerked, brown-stewed, fried, barbecued or 'escalayed', a hit in Maverley

Published:Sunday | November 2, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Cedric Campbell (right) and Nascieve Warren getting the chicken back ready to be cooked at the Hot Dalla cookshop in Maverley, St Andrew. - Photo by Rudolph Brown/Photographer
Cedric Campbell explains the different ways they prepare chicken back at the Hot Dalla cookshop. - Photo by Rudolph Brown/Photographer

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

Cedric Campbell and Nascieve Warren run a chicken back cookshop dubbed 'Hot Dalla' at the corner of West Main Drive and Elma Crescent in the Kingston 20 community of Maverley.

The two are among the latest to join the hundreds of individuals cooking meals using this preferred meat for the young and the old across the island.

From breakfast to late-night snacks, chicken back is being sold on Jamaica's streets and in corner shops.

There are no leftovers from the baked, curried, jerked, brown-stewed, fried, barbecued, and 'escalay' chicken back done on a daily basis.

Campbell was careful to point out that escalay chicken back was not to be confused with escoveitched chicken back.

"With escalay, you season and marinate. Then you make a sauce. You oven-bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with sauce. Put it back in the oven and bake for another five minutes. It is served with a dip sauce which we make," Campbell told The Sunday Gleaner from his corner shop last week.

He tries to close the shop by 10 p.m. daily, but he is not always successful as sometimes the last customer leaves at 1 a.m.

"This is a business where the customers come first, and if your clients are not pleased with your service, they go somewhere else. But we try to give ourselves enough time because we are up and running at 4 a.m. to get the breakfast crowd," he explained.

Pre-preparation is done from overnight and as soon as sales are done for the night, the seasoning of the meat begins and the red peas is put to soak so that everything is ready for the fire the next morning.


"Anything with barbecue is a hit with young people, especially if it is served with fries. They also like baked and fried. And chicken back and neck flies out the pot - the barbecue, especially, because it's a little spicy. We serve it mostly with chips," declared Campbell.

Weekends and holidays bring a rush of customers for the duo, and not much rice and peas is cooked, as customers want bammies, festivals and chips with whatever type of chicken back is available.

Warren is not as well learnt as Campbell, but he prides himself as learning on the job and learning from one of the best.

Although they have been at their location for only three months, business has been great and he wants to keep it that way.

"Yeah, man. I get practical experience every day on the job. It's a round-the-clock thing, but it's business. You have to satisfy the people who support you on a daily basis," said Warren.

The two are hoping to go bigger, but right now, they are satisfied to whet the appetites of their customers with chicken back meals selling for as little as $100.