Posted on 20th Oct 2014 @ 4:49 PM
This is the method of grilling pork and chicken in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean.
The Carib-Arawak Indians who inhabited Jamaica centuries ago would kill an animal, clean and gut it, then placed it in a deep pit lined with stones and covered with “pimento wood,” which, when burned, would smoke heavily and add to the flavor of the meat.
The remains of the animal were "jerked" with a sharp object to make holes, which were stuffed with a variety of spices. The holes also allow heat to escape without any loss of moisture, so that the meat does not dry out but remain juicy and moist.
These Arawaks were superb chefs so their meats were always delightfully spiced, moist and tender.
The term jerk spice (also commonly known as Jamaican jerk spice) refers to a spice rub. The word jerk refers to both the spice rub and to the particular cooking technique. Jerk can be applied as a cooking method for many different types of proteins, including goat, chicken, pork, fish, shellfish, tofu, and others. Jerk cooking has developed a following in US and Western European cosmopolitan urban centers with Caribbean/West Indian communities.
The cooking technique of jerking, as well as the results it produces, has evolved over time from using Pit Fires old oil barrel halves as the container of choice. Around the 1960s, Caribbean entrepreneurs seeking to recreate the smoked pit flavor in an easier, more portable method came up with a solution to cut oil barrels lengthwise and attach hinges, drilling several ventilation holes for the smoke. These barrels are fired with charcoal, which enhances the spicy, smoky taste. Alternatively, when these cooking methods aren't available, other methods of meat smoking, including wood burning ovens, can be used to jerk meat. However, oil barrels are arguably one of the most popular cooking methods for making jerk in Jamaica. Most jerk in Jamaica is no longer cooked in the traditional method and is grilled over hardwood charcoal in a steel drum (Jerk Pan).
Jerk Seasoning (Seasoned 1 whole Chicken/ pieces)
2 -3 Scotch Bonnet Pepper/deseeded or not
1 med. onion
2 stalk scallion
1 tsp. fresh ginger (chopped)
1 tsp. all spice/Pimento Berry (Jamaican)
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/3 cup Red Stripe Beer
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce (optional)
Place all ingredients in blender and pulse with Vinegar, Beer and Oil into smooth paste.
Marinate chicken overnight
Cook chicken pieces in oven at 250-300 or over low flamed grill to internal temperature of 165
To make Jerk Sauce
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tbsp. jerk seasoning (reserved)
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and simmer to desired consistency
Strain and serve over chicken adjust seasoning
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