How to make a beer can chicken
It's the ultimate redneck barbecue fare, but FT food writer Tim Hayward's take on beer can chicken is a more refined version of a classic dish.
Filmed by Petros Gioumpasis. Produced by Daniel Garrahan
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What we're going to do here is a poncy take on a very old redneck recipe called beer can chicken. And the idea would ordinarily be that you'd take the lid off, drink half the beer, shove the can up the chicken, and then cook it on top of the can half full of beer and that steams the food through.
Open your beer and pour it into an absolutely frozen glass. Yeah. That's right. Now because we're being elegant, we're going to use some very expensive vermouth for this. About half fill the beer can with that. Garlic, which we're just going to crush, pop in there like that. One more. That's it. Butter, first of all. There we go. Slather the outside of a chicken completely. Salt, lots of it. Add pepper.
You can just shove the can up the chicken. You can also buy vertical chicken roasters or can roasters like this for a few quid and it sort of locks in position there. We'll shove some tarragon in there as well, that'll be nice. Pop it down. And the tray is going to catch anything the boils over and all the juices that come out of the chicken. Let's put a lemon in the top there, shall we?
So what you'd normally do is build the fire on one side or rake the fire over to one side so your heat is there, and then you put your food here. And what happens is that the heat rises, circulates over the inside, and drops back down. This one, they've kind of thought ahead and it's got a kind of stone plate in there that diverts the heat up the sides. That enables you to cook low and slow.
You can just chuck some spuds in as well. I know it looks odd. It looks almost human there. It could probably talk to you, but it's not going to. It's just going to stay in there, go very brown, very cooked, and get very delicious.
Oh man, look at that. Yes. Well that's worth steaming your glasses up for. So the correct temperature for a properly cooked chicken right the way through, the safe temperature is 74 degrees. We don't want to go much more than that. That's 73.4 degrees. Oh boy. It doesn't get any better than that.
And then we can pull out the terrible torture implement. There it is, lovely. And all of our remaining liquids. There's lots and lots of juice running there. Separator jug, pour your liquid into it. And the smell coming off that is unbelievable. If you have your... I bought it in a car boot sale, gravy sauce boat there, you've effectively got the juices. You don't get the fat either and there you go. I think the flavourings might be a little bit more elegant than the original redneck beer can chicken, but I've got to say, it still looks a bit like an appalling accident. But it's delicious.