Authentic Jamaican jerk is created by using a combination of spices with Jamaican all-spice being the most dominant. We are able to easily obtain all of the ingrediants and spices to make jerk here at our local grocer however there is one key component in creating true authentic Jamaican jerk. Pimento Wood !
Below we will go over an instructional on how to make Jamaican jerk chicken using pimento wood leaves, pimento wood sticks and pimento wood chips.
If you would like all kinds of marinades, recipes, how to’s and even an awesome tutorial on how to make home-made pimento wood charcoal simply head over to our sister website Jamaican Jerk BBQ
How to make Jamaican Jerk Chicken using Pimento Wood
Servings: (2) Five-pound chickens
Prep time: 30 minutes
Grill Time: 3.5-4.5 hours
Marinading Time: 24-48 hours
STEP 1: Making the marinade
In a food processor or blender simply blend together the following ingrediants.
2 oz- Meyers Jamaican Rum or any dark rum
2 0z- Cane vinegar (use white vinegar if unable to find cane)
2 cups- soy sauce ( low sodium)
3 tbsp- Jamaican all-spice
1 tbsp- white pepper
1 tbsp- ground black pepper
1 tbsp- paprika
1 tbsp- nutmeg
1.5 tbsp- cinnamon
4 tbsp- brown sugar
1- head of garlic (peel the skins)
1- bunch of fresh thyme
1- bunch of green onions
1- large yellow/sweet onion
6-10 scotch bonnet peppers OR habanero peppers
Once you blend all the above ingrediants together set aside. Prepare your chickens by removing the neck and giblets. Once done wash the chickens well with water to clean them, pat to dry. Apply salt and pepper to your chickens (you can also sprinkle onion and garlic powder as well but optional) Once you have seasoned your chickens it is time to put them in the marinade! Distribute the marinade evenly to marinade both birds. We like using deep bowls to marinade our chickens similar to the picture below. Cover and refrigerate for 24-48 hours
Step 2: Soaking your pimento wood sticks, chips and leaves.
Soak your pimento wood sticks, chips and leaves in water for about 20 minutes to avoid any flare ups.
Step 3: Preparing your grill to offset cook
On the cool side of the grill evenly lay out a bed of pimento leaves and lay you pimento wood sticks atop of the leaves. On the heat side of the grill you are going to want a smoker box/tinfoil pouches and a pan of water with a couple pimento leaves in it to obtain moisture.
It is important that when making Jamaican jerk that you always “offset cook” Offset cooking is where put heat on one side of your grill and the meat on the other side of the grill calling for a slow cook. Using the picture examples above the heat side of my grill will be underneath my smoker box and water pan and the cool side of my grill will be where my pimento wood sticks and leaves are.
Step 4: Locking in the temperature on your grill
Maintaining a steady grill temperature is crucial when making jerk. We recommend locking your grill temperature to 275-285 degrees, do not let the temp get any higher than this or you risk drying out your chickens. When you have your grill temperature locked in between 275-285 degrees and your chips are smoking then it’s time to place the chickens on top of the pimento wood sticks.
Step 5: The art of the cook
Once your chickens are placed on top of the pimento wood sticks and your grill temperature gets back to 275-285 then your first 60 minutes begins. (hour 1)
After 60 minutes pass it is time for your first flip. Simply flip the chickens (hour 2) and during this time feel free to baste and refill your water pan if needed to obtain moisture. Make sure you have a good amount of water in your water pan during the entire cook.
After another 60 minutes pass you will need to again flip the chickens for a second time now entering the 3rd hour of the cook. Once you reach about the 3.5 hour mark of the cook your internal temperature of your birds should be around 150-155 degrees depending on the size of the chickens you are using. Once the chickens reach around 150-155 degrees you need to determine if you have enough charring on the skin of your chickens, if you do not and the skin looks rubbery and the internal temp is 150-155 you need to remove the pimento wood sticks from the grill and then grill the chickens directly atop heat so you can get some charring on the chickens. You should be able to cook atop the pimento sticks the entire process without having to ever use the grill grates for charring the skin but when you are learning the art of jerk you may run into this scenario when learning. Once your internal temperature gets to 165 degrees your results are indeed amazing.
If you need any other tips or advice on making jerk feel free to contact us or simply go to our sister website Jamaican Jerk BBQ