jerk jurk –verb (used with object)
1. to preserve meat –adjective
2. being or containing a spicy seasoning mixture flavored with pimento, used esp. in Jamaican cooking: jerk sauce.
3. prepared with jerk flavorings, esp. by barbecuing or grilling with Pimento wood: jerk chicken.
Jerk Chicken, originating from Jamaica, is a spicy dish that includes some or all of these ingredients: Allspice, Scotch Bonnet Peppers, Scallions and fresh Thyme.
Authentic Jerk Chicken utilizes Jamaican Allspice as the defining element of jerk Cooking.
The entire Allspice tree, which Jamaicans call pimento wood
, is used: the crushed berries are rubbed into the skin; the pimento wood
burns hot and slow; the green leaves and dried wood are tossed on the fire, releasing a sweet smoke that flavors the meat with a warm, woody pepperiness.
The particular genius of jerk — the play of sweet and smoke, green and wood, spicy and herbal — is credited to the Jamaican Maroons; Africans who taught the local Taino their method of smoking food in pits dug into the earth. The Maroons were brought to Jamaica as slaves, but began escaping in the 1650s, and fought British and Spanish dominion over the island. (The words jerk and jerky come from charqui, the Spanish version of the Quechua word charki, meaning dried meat.)
Jerk chicken gets its flavor from pimento wood. The chicken grills on a bed of wet pimento leaves and sticks. The smoking wood infuses the meat, to the bone, with robust flavor. Aromatic with deep citrusy and smoky notes, the wood makes all the difference in the world