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Another jerk fail...

Primerib

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Through my meat smoking endeavors, Jamaican jerk style cooking continues to be my white whale. The few times I’ve had the opportunity to eat jerk style food, it’s been just about the tastiest bbq I’ve ever had, but I just can’t seem to come even close to replicating it at home.

I’ve tried jerk style marinade recipes, I’ve tried Walkerswood jarred wet rub, and I’m even using pimento wood. While the marinades taste great raw, all i’m left with after the fact is a distinct harsh, almost lighter fluid taste. I’ve tried easing up on the smoke to no avail.

Has anyone else had these problems? Maybe I’m trying too hard to make it in the same way I would make American style bbq ribs, pulled pork, chicken, etc. and need a change in my cooking method? I’d be open to any suggestions. My wife, who usually loves my cooking, declared tonight’s “jerk” chicken inedible. While I wouldn’t go that far, she’s right, it wasn’t great.
 

Fueling Around

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I do about the same as Brian.
I use Walkerswood but wipe off the excess after a marinade. I found too much does char and leave a bad flavor
Jerk is more grilling than smoking to me
I have jerk pellets but prefer a chunk of oak on the charcoal
 

chef jimmyj

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Jerk is not exactly Low and Slow Q. Its Grilled , covered to absorb some smoke from the Pimento Wood. The Wet Marinade will pick up Creosote trying to go slow smoked. I use a marinade recipe from a Jamaican Student I had years ago...JJ
 

jcam222

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I use Walkerswood and Grace wet ribs with great success. They are very similar to what is used at many resorts or restaurants in Jamaica. I usually blend it with olive oil and marinate in that. More often than not I grill then over charcoal. I have smoked with it before as well. I think the key there is a hot smoker and very clean smoke.
 

Kevin DeShazo

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Im with Jcam, Walkswood or Graces is about tops. I used to work in a grocery store and talking with the local Jamacian population, they always wanted Graces wet marinade and would recommend it. Marinade some chicken or shrimp in it for a couple hours and toss on a hot grill.
 

zwiller

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Never had legit jerk... That said, I love the style. I think the guys pointed you in the right direction, think wood fired grill not low and slow. From here, I believe the actual jerk technique varies on the protein. I make jerk pork in the traditional manner with wet marinade and cook. That said, I use a fresh made wet marinade and prefer it over WW. The wet marinade I make has an intense flavor compared to WW. The finished jerk pork takes on a very rich near almost steak flavor. Not sure if that is legit but I sure like it. I prepare like they do. Pork butt cut into strip for maximum marinade penetration and take IT to 200 or just under FOTB and chop. FYI the marinade is hot as a MOFO (still tasty tho) but there is very little heat in the finished product. I suggest you play with pork for awhile first.

Only made jerk chicken once and it was also a fail HOWEVER I have really studied it and plan to run some soon. I have a few GOOD books and also read LOTS online... My thoughts on jerk chicken are that is made not like jerk pork but similar to american BBQ. Dry brined and once near cooked apply the jerk sauce liike typical BBQ. I think WW might work as a sauce here but I plan to make the marinade and cut it with some ketchup.

WRT to piemento. I don't think it is really a secret weapon. I have "piemento" pellets and while they are a blend, it's still a strong smoke. I'd say 50:50 apple:mesquite would be pretty close as a substitute.

Here is the dry jerk mix I plan to use for chicken and also her book that use to make the marinade:

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Lastly... I know there are some Kiss fans here and saw this today. Seems strangely relevant :emoji_laughing:

 

Primerib

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I usually use the Walkerswood marinade than just grill over coals with no wood. What are you using to cook with and how?
Great suggestions, everyone. I was “smoke roasting” it on high, indirect heat on a Weber kettle. Maybe next time I’ll lay the marinade on a little lighter and forego the pimento wood and see what happens, perhaps grill a bit more over direct heat.
 

JC in GB

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I use Walkers Wood jerk paste and pimento pellets in my smoker to make jerk chicken. I run my smoker at 300 for the first 45 minutes then jump it up to 325 to crisp the skin a bit.

I love jerk chicken and have gotten to the point where I think mine is better than what I had in Jamaica.

Good luck dialing in your recipe.

JC :emoji_cat:
 

chef jimmyj

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Here you go my friend....JJ


Real Deal Jerk Marinade/Mop

2C Chopped Scallion (2 Bunch)
1C Diced Onion
1/2C Chopped Jalapeno or 4Ea Habanero (HOT)
1/2C Olive Oil
1/4C Soy Sauce
1/4C Molasses
2T Fresh Minced Garlic
1T Fresh Thyme Leaves
1T Fresh Grated Ginger, about 1 inch.
1Ea Lime, Juice and Zest
2tsp Kosher Salt
2tsp Ground Black Pepper, about 12 Peppercorns
2tsp Ground Allspice, about 10 Whole Berries
1tsp Ground Cinnamon, 1stick grated
1/2tsp Ground Nutmeg, freshly grated
 

Fueling Around

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Marinade is important to jerk.
Never traveled to Jamaica, but a lot of Jamaican cuisine when I was in Grand Cayman years ago.
My breakfast every morning was meat patties (empanada? samosa?) from the bakery.
I only had jerk pork and beef and the meat was cubed in varying sizes. Great flavor, but any marinade was removed prior to grilling.
The exterior was crisp, but didn't have a sweet bark flavor.

I've done chicken thighs a couple a times at home with Walkerswood direct heat on the kettle with pimento pellets in the smoke tube. Last was no pellets in the tube and a whiskey barrel oak stave on the coals. Actually preferred that flavor.
Not happy with all attempts for chicken jerk.
What's your secret JC in GB JC in GB ?

I picked up a pack of pork tenderloin tips from local grocer. Hormel so they are brined. Soaking in clear water to dilute the additives. I'll dry them for a day and then put in a jerk marinade

Here you go my friend....JJ
Real Deal Jerk Marinade/Mop
...
Many thanks
 

JC in GB

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Marinade is important to jerk.
Never traveled to Jamaica, but a lot of Jamaican cuisine when I was in Grand Cayman years ago.
My breakfast every morning was meat patties (empanada? samosa?) from the bakery.
I only had jerk pork and beef and the meat was cubed in varying sizes. Great flavor, but any marinade was removed prior to grilling.
The exterior was crisp, but didn't have a sweet bark flavor.

I've done chicken thighs a couple a times at home with Walkerswood direct heat on the kettle with pimento pellets in the smoke tube. Last was no pellets in the tube and a whiskey barrel oak stave on the coals. Actually preferred that flavor.
Not happy with all attempts for chicken jerk.
What's your secret JC in GB JC in GB ?

I picked up a pack of pork tenderloin tips from local grocer. Hormel so they are brined. Soaking in clear water to dilute the additives. I'll dry them for a day and then put in a jerk marinade

Many thanks
Here is how I do jerk chicken. First off, you must use chicken that wasn't soaked. The soaking process gets rid of the gamy flavor that is a great thing for most chicken dishes but it will ruin your jerk. I buy the cheap 16 piece per bag chicken from GFS and this works great. I brine this chicken for any other recipe I use it for.

I know there is a lot of debate about rinsing meat but in this case I rinse all the chicken parts and put them in a bowl.

I then take a knife and make a few cuts on each piece of chicken so the jerk paste can get deep into the meat.


I rub the chicken pieces with a generous amount of jerk paste and leave overnight in the bowl. Refrigerated, of course. I have made my own jerk paste in the past but always seem to come back to Walkerswood.

I run Sarina at 300 F with a pellet smoke tube filled with pimento pellets that I got from Smoking Meat Forums in a group purchase, Other wood may produce a tasty result but the pimento pellets give the chicken a unique flavor that is difficult to replicate. I have heard it can be done using a variety of spices in your smoking wood. Tried it once but wasn't as happy with the result as using the pimento pellets.

After about 45 minutes in the smoke at 300 F, I increase the temperature to 325 F to crisp up the skin. About another 30 minutes.

I then pull the chicken and usually serve it with a small amount of jerk paste mixed with orange juice.

It is simply fantastic and better than what I had in Jamaica. Hope this helps you.


JC :emoji_cat:
 
Last edited:

zwiller

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I am dry brining 4 bone in breasts with the dry jerk mix now. I was not initially impressed with it when I first put it on BUT took a whiff today and smells very much like the fresh/wet marinade. COOL. I bought some Grace jerk sauce to fool with. I am thinking I will thin it a bit with some fruit juice and maybe some ketchup but also might make a sauce with the dry mix. The book has a recipe for oven roasted jerk chicken that has a passion fruit glaze with the dry mix and admit that sounds tasty. I think I can find passion fruit juice at the store. Goal is 300-350F on the grill with foil pouch of pimento pellets since the MES tops out at 275F.
 

hooked on smoke

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Here you go my friend....JJ


Real Deal Jerk Marinade/Mop

2C Chopped Scallion (2 Bunch)
1C Diced Onion
1/2C Chopped Jalapeno or 4Ea Habanero (HOT)
1/2C Olive Oil
1/4C Soy Sauce
1/4C Molasses
2T Fresh Minced Garlic
1T Fresh Thyme Leaves
1T Fresh Grated Ginger, about 1 inch.
1Ea Lime, Juice and Zest
2tsp Kosher Salt
2tsp Ground Black Pepper, about 12 Peppercorns
2tsp Ground Allspice, about 10 Whole Berries
1tsp Ground Cinnamon, 1stick grated
1/2tsp Ground Nutmeg, freshly grated
Thanks for sharing.
 

zwiller

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WOW. I did not expect this. These were probably the best chicken I EVER made. Dry brined 3 days with the rub above. 350F on the gas grill with foil pouch of pimento pellets. Just like the pork, no burn or heat after the cook (I tested with the girls). I made sauce but served on the side. No luck finding passion fruit so went with mango juice. Approx tablespoon Grace jerk, 1C mango juice, 1C ketchup and tsp of vinegar as mango lacked acidity. The sauce is a work in progress but headed in the right direction but honestly no need for it. Floored how well this turned out. Gonna be making this OFTEN!

20210512_202828_resized.jpg
 

chef jimmyj

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Dry Jerk Mix...Bought or homemade?...JJ
 

zwiller

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Bought it but the book has the recipe in it if you want to make it. There was some semi exotic stuff in there so I just splurged. Happy I did! One of the rare ones as most store bought are weak and salt bombs IMO.

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JC in GB

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WOW. I did not expect this. These were probably the best chicken I EVER made. Dry brined 3 days with the rub above. 350F on the gas grill with foil pouch of pimento pellets. Just like the pork, no burn or heat after the cook (I tested with the girls). I made sauce but served on the side. No luck finding passion fruit so went with mango juice. Approx tablespoon Grace jerk, 1C mango juice, 1C ketchup and tsp of vinegar as mango lacked acidity. The sauce is a work in progress but headed in the right direction but honestly no need for it. Floored how well this turned out. Gonna be making this OFTEN!

View attachment 496208
Wow, that looks simply fantastic! I also like the idea of adding a bit of ketchup to the sauce. I am going to try that next time around.

JC :emoji_cat:
 

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