Here Cool Runnings Jamaica would like to let you into the secret of jerking. This is not a how to do a new dance movement, but to let you in to a couple of the secrets of getting that truly Jamaican jerk flavor.
First dig your pit, well this is if you want to attempt jerking your meat in the traditional way.
But, joking aside, if you have a back yard, we can direct you to a link to a very good explanation of how to build a pit or an above ground barbecue. We do this, because there are some health and safety issues to consider. (http://m.wikihow.com/Build-a-BBQ-Pit).
Remember to make sure you have some way to cover your pit when it is not in use so that no pet or child falls into it.
Cool Runnings Sunset Cruises – Jerk Seasoning
Try to use fresh ingredients starting with the Allspice berries, thyme, Scotch bonnet pepper, green onions or scallions, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, oil and salt.
There are various variations on this mix; some add soy sauce and others may prefer vegetable oil to coconut oil. But you need the oil to spread the flavors evenly on and through the meat.
Now marinate the meat for from 12 to 24 hours. The color reminds us of one of our Jamaican sunsets and of our Cool Runnings Sunset Cruise.
Cool Runnings Ocho Rios
Now you are ready to smoke your marinated chicken or pork. You will need to be patient because it is the slow cooking that will ensure the meat will be tender and juicy when it is ready to eat.
As Cool Runnings Jamaica can confirm one of the secrets of true jerk chicken or pork is to smoke the meat over green wood. In Jamaica pimento wood from the pimento tree (Pimenta dioica) is used. It is this that gives the jerk meat its special flavor and not only all the spices used for the marinade.
If you don’t have pimento then you may have laurel or bay. For those living in the United States or Canada, we have just learned that there is a company that exports pimento sticks and you can find them on the Internet here .
Pimento sticks are soaked and laid over a bed of hot coals. The meat is placed on the wet pimento sticks or some advise also adding wet bay leaves, or even using bay leaves on their own if you cannot find pimento wood.
Then you cover everything with a metal lid. It is the smoking over the wet wood or over the wet bay leaves that gives the meat its special flavor, of course combined with the special jerk seasoning.
Cooking at home may take an hour or more on a normal barbecue on the cool side and you may want to crispy up the outside of the chicken on the hot side when the meat has cooked through.
Happy eating, and don’t be afraid to experiment with your marinade until you get it just right for you.