Monday, 31 May 2010

BBQ Dinner

I don't believe the BBQ is for burning burgers on bank holiday Mondays. There is much more to it than that, so I decided I attempt a full dinner from the grill.

 That's a beercan chicken (aka beer butt chicken, chicken on the throne, etc.). For those of you who know your British beer that is a Carling black label can, it doesn't contain Carling though. I subscribe to the school of thought which holds "If you wouldn't drink it don't cook with it" as a truism. Inside the can is a nice local summer ale and some of my fresh garden herbs (sage, a little rosemary & a couple of bay leaves) and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Those of you who have never beer canned a chicken before will want to read this bit as its the how to. Get a can of beer, if you can find one you are happy to drink, rather than one you'll swill back because its there so much the better. You need the can 2/3rds full of your chosen beer, so you can drink of the top 1/3rd or dispose of it some other way. Then remove the top of the can with a can opener. Add in any extra flavourings (I must do this with a wheat beer & lemon at some point). The eye watering bit comes now, insert the can into the chicken, your aim is a stable chicken, so push the can in until the bird's legs form a tripod with the can. The cooking takes about 2 hours, so make sure your BBQ will be at a good cooking temperature for that long. You can lift the whole lot out, but its a real hassle. (I had to do this as I forgot to put some foil under the bird to prevent fat flare ups). In the back I've got 3 good sized potatoes, rubbed with oil & then wrapped in foil, after 2 hours they should be baked to perfection.
If you have a meat thermometer, the chicken wants to be at 70° C. If not the juices need to be running clear. Once that is the case the chicken is done.

Whilst the chicken is resting do the veggies. It's the English asparagus season at the moment and grilling it over hot charcoal for a couple of minutes is a great way to cook it. The leeks were done on a sheet of foil with a nob of butter for about 10 minutes. Time to serve. Wrap each foiled potato in a tea towel and give it a smart sharp karate chop (seriously, this allows most of the steam to escape in an instant fluffing up the flesh) turn onto the plate with a generous nob of butter, add the veg and some of the nicely sliced chicken (and as the chef pick the "oysters" I'll leave it to your conscience who's plate they land on (if any)) and serve. One whole chicken dinner done entirely on the BBQ. Beer can chicken isn't a mere affectation, the beer imparts flavour to the chicken (this is why lighter ales are best, but some birds can stand Guinness) and keeps it incredibly moist. Try it, you've very little to lose.

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