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New member, new to everything

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    New member, new to everything

    Hi I'm new to everything: I've never smoked or done any serious bbqing. I don't even own a bbq or smoker.

    My interest in joining The pit is to get all the help I can on setting up the perfect rig for producing Authentic Jamaican Jerk. For those of you who don't know if your meat is not cooked on pimento sticks it's not really jerk. From reading all your articles on smoke and how it relates to favour I beg the question does cooking your meat on pimento sticks really make a difference to the favour of the meat or is it just an traditional myth?

    Thanks everyone for some sound advice. I've told you where I'm going but failed to tell you where I've been.

    I been making my own jerk sauce and marinade for sometime now and according to the feedback I've received from people who have tasted my "jerk" meats (baked in an oven), its pretty amazing.

    In Jamaica I've tasted jerk (with the same seasoning) cooked on BBQs with metal grills, with and without pimento wood on the charcoal for smoke, baked in ovens but none of them taste anywhere as good as the jerk that is cooked on top of pimento sticks (not even mind
    ). My conclusion is that cooking on pimento sticks must contribute significantly to the taste.

    I live in London, England and I'm on a mission to try and duplicate the taste of Jamaican jerk here in the UK. I have a good supply of pimento sticks, leaves and berries imported from Jamaica.

    I've been researching this topic on the web for a while now so I've already seen most of the suggested links but appreciate the that fact that members took the time to research the topic on by behalf.

    I think I will start with the kit that jfmorris (club member) suggested unless anyone else has an alternative suggestion? I have an healthy budget for the kit but like the idea of having a combined setup for grilling and smoking.

    When BBQing is it best to use a rub or marinade?
    Attached Files
    Last edited by wrenford; November 1, 2018, 06:34 AM. Reason: Added more about my jerk journey so far.

    Welcome to The Pit from Madison, WI. I am confident a legion of jerk cookers (I meant that in a good way !) will respond to your post.
    Last edited by RustyHaines; October 29, 2018, 07:51 AM. Reason: correct typo


      Here's a little about traditional jerk chicken.


      And here's a backyard method that might be worth trying.



      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        I need to try one of these, always had it on the list, I think it just moved closer to the top !!!

      Unfortunately I've only enjoyed actual jerk chicken in Jamaica but have never attempted to cook it, so no good advice here. Seeing as how it would probably be close to impossible, or at least very expensively difficult to get pimento wood, I would think you should proceed without and concentrate on the spices and rub instead.

      Oh what a world is about to open up to you my friend....the world of barbeque, man's closest means of salvation !!! Welcome to the Pit !!!


      • EdF
        EdF commented
        Editing a comment
        I guess the allspice would be our friend!

      • ClayJones
        ClayJones commented
        Editing a comment
        HA! I came here to say the same thing... but Troutman said it perfectly in that last paragraph. Welcome to The Pit.

      Now, I've seen some jerks, and I've seen some chickens, but I've never seen a jerk chicken. On second thought, my Aunt had a mean old hen that would chase us all around her farm. Welcome to The Pit from The Great State of Jefferson!


      • JonnyB
        JonnyB commented
        Editing a comment
        My mom had a jerk chicken...a mean ol' Bantam rooster that would attack you as soon as you got close to his pen. We named him El Diablo Bastardo, and he was definitely a jerk. I shoulda jerked his head off and put him in a pot of dumplings, but he probably would have ruined the dumplings.

      • EdF
        EdF commented
        Editing a comment
        The old farmer had an old rooster, who did his services profligately. One day, the rooster runs around the yard, and falls down in the middle of it. The farmer says to himself, well I guess old Frankie has met his time! He walks over to inspect. There are buzzards circling above Frankie. He looks at the farmer, and quietly says "shush" and points up at the buzzards. Ain't no holding Frankie down!
        Last edited by EdF; October 29, 2018, 03:02 PM.

      Welcome to the Pit! Thanks for joining up!

      If the wood is burning and giving off smoke, I would imagine that is does in part some flavor. I doubt that having the meat cook directly on the wood makes any difference.

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        Welcome to the Pit wrenford - I am with Troutman and imagine that unless you are somewhere where Pimento trees grow, getting that wood will be next to impossible. I see some places on the internet that sell it, but I for one am not going to pay for it. And to be honest, since you are not smoking with it, but grilling ON the sticks, I imagine what makes it "authentic" is that some pour souls in Jamaica had to use sticks to make their cooking grate to hold the meat, as they did not have a proper grill. Just like planking fish on cedar, I just don't see that a wood stick is going to impart much flavor to the chicken or whatever else you are jerking, as much as the spices and marinades you use will. Wood when burned gives smoke flavor to what you are cooking. Just laying it on the wood - not so much.

        I would suggest that if you have ZERO equipment, the best bang for the buck for grilling AND smoking is going to be a Weber Kettle of some sort (22" or 26") with an accessory called a "Slow 'N Sear" (see https://www.abcbarbecue.com for details). That combination opens you up to both direct charcoal grilling, and smoking with a combination of charcoal and wood at both low and slow (225) and hot and fast (325+) smoking temperatures. The Slow 'N Sear (SNS) also lets you get a 1000+ degree sear on a steak if you want to chase after the perfect sear.

        I have a Weber Performer Deluxe, which is a 22" kettle grill mounted in a cart with a large working table, charcoal storage bin, storage shelf, and propane ignition system, to light the charcoal. I use it more than my gas grill or my offset smoker, as it is the most versatile of my cookers.

        Start by looking for good jerk recipes - which will involve LOTS of spices, and hot stuff like Scotch Bonnet peppers, and focus less on the pimento wood.

        Using the pimento sticks to me would be unsanitary unless you can throw them out or burn them and use fresh ones every time, especially if being used to cook chicken. I would not want to re-use salmonella impregnated sticks to cook on for a subsequent cook. I would stick with a metal cooking grate!

        Just my 2 cents, so take it for what its worth...


        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          That's a pretty sound argument, can't find fault in that Attjack

        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          I can see your view point there @Atjack. I still don't think you would want to or be able to reuse the pimento sticks for a second cook. Cedar planks are a lot more available to most of us.

        • Attjack
          Attjack commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah, I would also think twice about reusing pimento branches. I'm not sure how they do it in Jaimaca. Seems worth looking into though.

        Welcome from Farmville, Va...


          Read listen ask question practice and have fun eat good


          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            Unfortunately, although good advice, most folks have fun first, eat second, never read, don't have time to practice and want to question what's readily available to read. Oh what a lazy world we live in.

          Can't help with the jerk question ... but I can say "Welcome from Colorado" ...


            Welcome from southeast Michigan! You'll get great info here!


              I would really just follow Kenji's recipe/method from the seriouseats link that Attjack posted. Kenji does a lot of research and rarely disappoints. In fact, I think I'll be doing that exact same recipe soon. Been wanting to make jerk chicken for some time now.

              Is anyone else slightly surprised he didn't find a reason to throw fish sauce in that marinade though? Dude puts it in almost everything...


              • ILikePigButts
                ILikePigButts commented
                Editing a comment
                Donw Yes indeed it was. I take it you've been there?

              • Donw
                Donw commented
                Editing a comment
                Yep. My friend owns it. Was a member when it was a private club and only had about 20 seats.

              • ILikePigButts
                ILikePigButts commented
                Editing a comment
                Donw wow that's cool. Small world. Haven't been there in probably about 10 years but I still think about it from time to time. Love the atmosphere. I need to plan a trip back to Ocean City soon.

              Welcome to the Pit! It won’t be authentic without the pimento wood, but I don’t think my palate can tell the difference.


                Welcome from Maryland. You are going to love the adventure of perfecting your recipe with what is available. I went on the same adventure probably 30 years ago. What I found, and this is just to my family’s taste, is that we came really close using pecan wood, and adding a touch more allspice to the marinade. Haven’t made it in years though since my wife’s stomach decided she had eaten enough spicy foods for a lifetime! Good luck!


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                  • EdF
                    EdF commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That's some fine cooking!


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