Originally Posted by ToddM
Forgive my ignorance, but is the wood smoldering to add smoke flavor to the chicken? Sort of like using a cedar plank as a cooking platform? I've seen some travel/cooking shows where they've showed jerk shacks or roadside stands but I've never quite seen that cooking set up. Interesting.
I did not ask the cooks if the wood was smoldering from underneath but it must have been as the coals added were burned right through and glowing red....no smoke from those. The sheer amount of smoke was awesome indeed so I must conclude that those small logs were smoldering.....
I too have seen travel/documentary youtube videos. Most have the setup I desrcribe. A few have guys adding pimento leaves on the coals, under the food on top of the wood or over the food itself. A few have pimento wood (which is usually not straight at all) on top of the food grate smoldering but not underneath the food. The wood used underneath the food is what the Jamaicans call "Fruit Wood". What exactly this is I am not sure of. The smell was earthy is all I can say.
The best jerk I had was as a place called Scotchies in Montego Bay. The fells minding the pit said halved chickens were done in 1.5 hrs and half pigs with the bones removed and trimmed but left on the skin, legs, arms and head were done in 3.5 hrs!!! Wow talk about hot and fast. What that temperature is I am not sure of but I am gonna start at 275f and go from there. My guess it is around 340f or so - hot enough to make those small logs smolder but no catch fire. My setup will need some modification. Probably remove the lid and put baking sheets over the meat and wood leaving a little room for heat to escape. Gonna have to watch this one close.