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Gary Feblowitz, founder of ...
Gary Feblowitz, founder of Exotic Wood Chips, joined KARE Saturday to share some exciting news and a scrumptious recipe.
Q&A with Gary Feblowitz, ...
Q&A with Gary Feblowitz, owner and jerkmaster of Exotic Wood Chips in Minnetonka
Sterling Cross Group :: News
Gary Feblowitz, owner of Exotic Wood Chips (www.PimentoWood.com), recently has achieved the status of the only approved US importer of Jamaica sourced Pimento Wood, leaves and charcoal.
This achievement took Feblowitz seven years to achieve because of all the regulations both in the United States and in Jamaica.
"Well, you smelled the stuff," said ...
"Well, you smelled the stuff," said Gary Feblowitz, perhaps the most Jamaican jerk-obsessed person on the continent, whose company, Pimentowood.com, is the only U.S. importer for the pimento tree products used to create authentic Jamaican jerk barbecue.
demonstrated pimento power last month in front of his
Golden Valley office, smoke curling from a barrel-shaped charcoal grill.
It was a rather unremarkable, low-tech piece of equipment, aside from the Jamaican flag emblazoned across the lid ("Just used some engine paint," he
said), and the attached "smoke box" on one side, which produced that spicy-sweet smoke that pushed its way into the grill, and, subsequently, into the sauce-smothered chicken that was slow roasting inside.
Much of the same, with the obvious "smoke-y" undertones, which surround the sauced meat, and turned the halved chickens Gary
cooked tender and gushing with juices.
supplies the pimento wood and other products for them.
Business received a second boost from a New York Times article in July extolling the virtues of Jamaican jerk and explaining why, during the summer, smoke billows from converted oil drums throughout the Bronx.
Gary's commentary was just four sentences in the article, but that increased demand for pimento wood so much he moved his garage operation into an office and warehouse.
Becoming a jerk master
wife, Domonique, have very different lives outside of Jamaican jerk barbecue.
Or, one could say those other lives led them to Jamaica.
The well-traveled pair is also the team operating HD Wave Productions, a television documentary production company.
Gary began his filming career at WCCO TV and won 14 Emmy awards for his work.
began shooting his
own documentaries in 1997, including the first live footage of Sumatran tigers in the wild.
shot the pilot for Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods in Thailand, and three seasons' worth of Food 911 with Tyler Florence.
It was in Jamaica about 10 years ago that Gary
and Domonique got married, and in the process discovered they loved Jamaican barbecue.
"We take all of the tree when we take it," Gary
said, adding that the trees cut down are past their seven-year fruiting stage, and would be cut and burned anyway.
At the moment, Smalley's is the only restaurant using the product in wood-fired grills, but Gary
is counting on the increased notoriety from media attention and their booth in the International Bazaar at the State Fair to increase demand.
"We're experimenting with that (retail)," Gary
said, adding that it's a higher-cost product than more traditional wood for the grill.
"It's still very much a gourmet thing.
It'll never be a Wal-Mart kind of product.
It's not for everybody, more the serious barbecuers."
Spreading the word (or taste) of authentic Jamaican jerk can be a challenge-some of that authentic heat needs to be watered down for the uninitiated.
But there are enough jerk recipes to please all pallets-mild and hot-but all with that unique notes of Jamaican allspice and cinnamon, and infused with the spicy smoke of pimento wood.
"Jerk chicken to Jamaicans is like a hamburger to us," Gary
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Gary Feblowitz, HD Wave
Full Service High Definition Production Company.