I’m not going to pretend that this recipe will win you a Cordon Bleu Award or a Michelin Star but it may well earn you some culinary stripes on Father’s Day from a man in your life. What could be better than a moreish, tender, falling-off-the-bone, crispy-skinned and moist-fleshed chicken for a special celebratory Father’s Day lunch?
That’s what you’ll get with beer can chicken (or as my friends across the pond call it … beer butt chicken)!
This is a chicken that is cooked on a beer can in either the oven or on the barbecue and the steam from the beer helps to flavour the chicken flesh and keep it wonderfully tender and moist. The chicken sits on the half-full beer can and then is cooked in the oven or over the barbecue/outdoor grill.
You could do an alcohol-free version of this dish by using half a can of alcohol-free lager, a half can of coke, or just fill a kilner type/mason jar half-full of chicken stock/bouillon and use instead of the beer. Other versions I have heard about involve placing the chicken over an opened can of baked beans (remove the label and wash the can first) and the chicken juices will run into the beans while they are heating and at the end of cooking make a great side dish for the roast or barbecued chicken. I have tried using a half-can of diet coke with good results and used the remaining half of the can to make my bariatric barbecue sauce to accompany the chicken (check in the search bar to go to the recipe).
I shall give the barbecue version of cooking the chicken below but to cook in the oven, just place as directed below on an open half-filled can of beer, sitting up, then place in a roasting pan on the lower rack of your oven. Roast at 180 C/350 F/gas mark 4 until cooked, about 11/2 hours for a 1.8 kg/4 lb chicken.
The chicken could also be cooked surrounded with vegetables such as courgettes/zucchini, peppers/capsicums, aubergine/eggplant/, onions and corn. I also would add some small jacket potatoes (on spikes to raise above the cooking juices) for a complete meal. Vegetables should be spritzed with low-fat cooking spray or a little olive oil and sprinkled with a few herbs, spices or other seasonings before cooking. Chicken cooked this way may take a little longer time, about 13/4 hours, just check that the juices run clear when pierced in the thickest part of the leg to ensure it is fully cooked. Allow to rest, covered in foil, for about 10 minutes before carving to ensure tenderness.
BEER CAN CHICKEN
1 x 1.8 kg/4 lb oven-ready chicken
low-fat cooking spray or about 1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 opened half-full can of beer, at room temperature
2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (thyme and rosemary are a good combination) or 2-3 tsp dried
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Prepare your barbecue/outdoor grill/broiler for indirect heat cooking (it must have a lid for this method of cooking). If it is a charcoal type grill then put the coals to one side of the grill, leaving the other side free of coals. If you are using a gas version then only fire up half of the burners.
2. Prepare the chicken by washing inside and out, drying then spritzing with low-fat cooking spray or brushing lightly with olive oil. Lower the chicken onto the open half-filled can of beer (allow Father to drink the other half!), so that the chicken is sitting upright on the open can, with the can inside the cavity of the chicken. Mix the herbs with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle evenly over the chicken. Place on the cool side of the barbecue grill and check that it is stable. Cover the grill and leave to cook for 1 hour. There’s no need to peep during this time…leave well alone.
3. After 1 hour, check the chicken and refresh the coals if needed (if using a charcoal grill), then keep checking every 15 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked. This time will vary upon the size of your chicken and the internal temperature of the grill. If you have a thermometer then look for a temperature of 160-165 F, but if not then pierce with a knife into the thickest part of the chicken thigh and check that the juices run clear. If still pink then cook further until clear.
4. Transfer to a plate (easiest way is to slide a fish slice or spatula under the bottom of the beer can, lifting the chicken with beer can inside and moving to a warmed tray). Allow to rest, covered with foil, for 10 minutes then carefully lift the chicken off the can (careful because the can contents will still be very hot). A sticky, obstinate can should be removed with tongs after lying the chicken on its side.
5. Serve, cut into portions or slices with salad, potatoes, roasted vegetables and other side dishes (like baked beans…see above).
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
WLS PORTION: 1/2
CALORIES PER PORTION (175 G/6 OZ FLESH ONLY WITHOUT SKIN): 255