I’ve wanted to make this since I first saw one. It’s probably a low point for mankind’s relationship with animals, but it’s also delicious. By shoving a can of beer, in an undignified manner, up the chicken’s back passage, you will steam the meat, keeping it lovely and moist, but also, the metal of the can will heat up too, cooking the chicken from the inside, ensuring an evenly roasted chicken. What seems like a gimmick is actually a really clever way of making a super efficient cookery method.
Anyway, this is probably one of the last barbeque recipes of what’s been a pretty disappointingly grey summer. I found a collection of ten classic cook books in my charity shop, with a couple I already had, but now have a bunch of Jane Grigson, Elizabeth David, Rick Stein and such to carry me through autumn and winter, so will be heading to more seasonal, homely fare.
The rub I’ve put on here is a Jamie Oliver one, but you can use whatever seasoning you want. The anise flavours of the fennel go very nicely with this, but next time I’d probably be a bit more traditional and use a rub of thyme, tarragon, salt and butter under the skin, which I think would better complement the hoppy infused beer flavours.
- 1 medium chicken. Anything smaller than about a kilo and a half will have balancing issues when stood up!
- Large can of good beer, or a beer you like. I just used Holsten Pils, a good easy drinker
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200c. Open the beer. You need to drink about half the can before it gets…inserted.
In a pestle and mortar (or a small bowl and rolling pin) crush the fennel and cumin seeds roughly. Add the remaining spices and a little salt and pepper.
Stir in enough oil to make a thick paste, about the consistency of thick gravy, or melted ice cream. Rub this all over the chicken, inside and out, till the whole thing is orangey red.
Get the beer can, now half empty (or half full for the optimists), place it in the middle of a roasting tin, and lower the chicken’s cavity onto it. You are a depraved and awful human being.
Carefully put in the oven, and roast for half an hour. Reduce the temperature to around 160c, and cook for around another hour, until the juices run clear when you poke the bit between the thigh and breasts with a fork.
Serve with vegetables and another can of beer.