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All You Need To Know About Pimento Wood Chips

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Pimento wood chips is also classified under the general term of ‘’Allspice’’, which is the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant that is gotten after the process. The fruits are picked when green and unripe and are traditionally dried in the sun so that when they get dried, the pimento wood chips would be gotten. When dry they are brown and resemble large, smooth peppercorns. Fresh leaves are similar in texture to bay leaves and similarly used in cooking. Leaves and wood are often used for smoking meats where allspice is a local crop. Care must be taken during drying to ensure that volatile oil, such as eugenol, remains in the end products of the plant.

Most of the world’s allspice trees grow in Jamaica, though a few other Caribbean countries have modest plots. It has been established harmoniously over the centuries according to researchers at the University of the West Indies, that several attempts to cultivate allspice trees which produces pimento wood chips on other continents failed due to low productivity and topographic factors. That geographic rarity, combined with the trees’ high market value as producers of allspice, means the wood is in short supply outside of its homeland (Jamaica). If you live in an area with a large Caribbean population you might see it occasionally in ethnic shops. Otherwise, you’ll need to improvise with similar plants that produces such aroma. 

Uses of Pimento Wood

Allspice is one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine. Under the name ‘pimento’, it is used in Jamaican jerk seasoning, though in principle the wood is used to smoke jerk in Jamaica. In the West Indies, an allspice liqueur is produced under the name “pimento dram”. In Mexican cuisine, it is used in many dishes. Eventually, passage through the avian digestive tract, whether due to the acidity or the elevated temperature, was found to be essential for germinating the seeds, and successful germination elsewhere was enabled. Today, pimenta grows in Tonga and Hawaii, where it has become naturalized on Kauaʻi and Maui. It continued to be grown primarily in Jamaica, though a few other Central American countries produced allspice in comparatively small quantities.

Pimento wood has been utilized for slow roasting in Jamaica for centuries. Historically, natives needed something that could burn very slowly and preserve meat. The pimento wood managed to not only burn slowly, but also produced a flavor that was incomparable to any other type of wood used. It became the standard and something that would give Jamaica its inimitable aroma that has made it become typical to them as the ‘’owners’’ of pimento wood.

The salted ocean air is always laced with the distinctly sweet smell of burning pimento wood. This fragrance is infused within every breath you take. It curls across the island and dwells at the roadside jerk stops which attract both locals and tourists alike. At any time of day or night, you can find a long row of vendors, each with their own personalized, self-branded, homemade steel drums puffing spicy smoke halo’s above their heads. Each engaging passer by’s with their tempting selling spiels.

“Jerk chicken! Bess jerk! Bess jerk pon di island!” they shout as they open the tops of their steel drums revealing the decadence within. The cloud of smoke escapes, and if the chicken glistens under the sun and leaves your taste buds curious enough, go ahead and point out the pieces you want.

Some jerkers will cut the chicken into bite sized pieces on a cutting board made from the same pimento wood used to slow roast the chicken. The chicken is bundled within foil, but before the package is sealed, they allow you the chance to add some homemade scotch bonnet sauce or Grace Ketchup for added island character.

How to prepare smoke jerk chicken with Pimento wood chips

If you’re familiar with any aspect of Jamaican cuisine, then it will almost certainly be jerk as it is commonly done in this present age. The process involves: spicy, crisply barbecued chicken is known to be an easier sell for most of us than hard food or stew peas.  It is also a well-known fact that native to Jamaica, the tradition began with the indigenous Taíno people who would cook their meat over fires made from the aromatic wood of the island’s allspice trees,  still the only way, devotees claim, to get that really authentic flavor. Let us consider the following ingredients for the preparation of smoke jerk chicken with pimento wood chips: 

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  • Chicken, cut into serving pieces — 3 pounds
  • Scallions, minced — 1 bunch
  • Garlic, minced — 3 to 6 cloves
  • Ginger, minced — 1 or 2 tablespoons
  • Scotch bonnet chile peppers, minced — 2 to 6
  • Brown sugar — 1/4 cup
  • Salt — 1 tablespoon
  • Ground allspice — 1 tablespoon
  • Ground cinnamon — 2 teaspoons
  • Pepper — 2 teaspoons
  • Thyme — 1 teaspoon
  • Soy sauce — 1/4 cup
  • Lime juice — 1/4 cup
  • Water — 1/4 cup
  • Oil — 1/4 cup

The process of preparing jerk chicken with pimento starts with pieces of chicken that are soaked overnight in a heavily seasoned marinade flavored with fiery Scotch bonnet peppers and allspice. The dried berries native to Jamaica that give jerked foods their characteristic warm spice aroma. The process is naturally accompanied by some patience, time and expectations. 

After waiting patiently throughout the night, you will go in search of or possibly if already on ground, long, thick sticks of fresh pimento wood, that’s the wood of the tree that produces allspice berries that smells so naturally good and are soaked and placed in a parallel array above a charcoal fire that has already been set waiting patiently for the arrival of that chicken that has already been scattered and willing to accepted the aroma of the pimento wood chips. 

Finally, the marinated chicken is laid directly on top of the green wood and covered up with a metal lid which allows all parts of the chicken to be saturated with the pimento wood chips aroma that makes everyone wanting to have a taste of it. It ends up cooking through a combination of smoking and steaming, the vapors coming off the pimento wood depositing flavorful compounds on its surface before beginning to smolder slightly, adding a layer of smokiness. Not only that, but it picks up flavorful oils from the wood through its direct contact during cooking. The whole process takes over an hour from start to finish.

Add all the ingredients to a large, non-reactive bowl, refrigerate and marinate for at least 2 to 3 hours, preferably overnight. Wipe off excess marinade and grill the chicken pieces over a slow fire until cooked through. Or the chicken can be grilled until browned on outside and then finished in a 350°F oven. Baste with the marinade during cooking if you like.

How does Pimento Wood Smells?

In Jamaica, jerk chicken is marked by its sweet and tangy flavors with allspice, scotch bonnet, and pimento wood.  Without the pimento smoke, it won’t be nearly as authentic and you definitely are missing out.  The smoke is so unique, that you aren’t able to replicate it with any other smoking wood.  You can buy premium and authentic pimento wood here.  Our wood is rated as the highest quality, and it’s minimally heat-treated to avoid losing all flavors. Our wood has more of the pimento (allspice) flavor than any other wood out there because of our process.

Pimento wood creates an unforgettable flavor that cannot be replicated without it. This is the reason Jerk chicken and Pork is universally famous. The wood imparts a flavor unlike anything you ever tasted before. You haven’t had Jerk chicken until you smoked it with pimento wood. These aromas bond with the spirit of Jamaica. They coil themselves within the fabric of your clothing and inhale themselves into the folds of your mind; and when you arrive back home they exhale as you flip the top of your suitcase. And for a brief moment, you are there on the side of the road, picking the most perfectly roasted pieces of jerk chicken and breathing in the essence of the island.  Flavorful Pimento wood chips for grilling, barbecue and smoking. For authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Jerk Pork and Jamaican Jerk Spare Ribs.

How can I buy Pimento Wood?

Pimento wood chips is one of Jamaica’s signature flavors, a homegrown spice that’s widely used in jerk seasoning and other traditional dishes. Interestingly, the pimento wood in its home country is also an important flavoring ingredient. Jamaican cooks cut the wood into chips and spread dampened pieces over the charcoal in their grill. The chips lend a distinct flavor to authentic Jamaican jerked meats, one that has no direct substitute.

Getting is product has been made available through http://buypimentowood.com/. The sale and deliver in different locations, just and order for the pimento wood, you will surly get it within the shortest possible time. Use with pimento wood sticks, leaves and pimento spice to Jerk like the Jamaicans! 

Product of Jamaica.

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About Chef Lilian

Your favorite recipe author, faithful to every course. Mail me at chef@foodwellsaid.com

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