I've long believed that the success of beer can chicken was down to the cooking method rather than the beer itself. This recipe proves this, conclusively. It's also ideal if you don't happen to be a beer drinker. All you need is a clean empty tin-can label removed and well washed - the dishwasher is ideal. Use a ring-pull type can as there are less sharp edges to worry about. I used a cat-food tin!
- 2 kg whole chicken (4 lb)
- 1 Lemon, quartered
- 1 Lime, half quartered, the remainder sliced for a garnish
- 1 small bulb of garlic crushed
- 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
- A huge handful of herbs of your choice
- 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns, roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle
- Table salt
- 1 teaspoon of Szechuan peppercorns, roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle
- Preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F - gas 6), [fan oven 180° C & reduce cooking time by 10 mins per hour]
- This is best made with a Grillpro Stainless Steel Chicken Roaster - it can be done without (see here). Just be careful that it does not fall over
- Add the crushed peppercorns and garlic to the warmed butter, mix well and season with ¼ teaspoons of salt
- Pack the clean empty tin can with the herbs, all of the quartered lemons and half the lime
- Half fill with cold water
- Remove the parsons nose, if you remember!
- Carefully sit the chicken on the tin can
- From the top of the chicken, push your fingers between the skin and the breasts to separate them and create pockets. Pack most of the herb butter between the skin and the breast mat. This gives it wonderful flavour and keeps it moist.
- Rub the remaining herb butter over the skin and season with a little table salt.
- Make a tin-foil 'hat' to protect the bird from burning as it's likely to be quite close to the top of the oven.
- Roast for 1 hour 30 minutes, removing the foil for the final 30 minutes.
- Leave to rest for 15 minutes before serving - I usually turn the oven off and leave the door open.
- Discard the can and its contents, carve and serve.
This was fantastic - Crisp, juicy and loads of flavour. It also saves you wasting a can of beer!
Use whatever fresh herbs you can lay your hands on. I used bay leaves, a huge bunch of sage, chives, cutting celery and a little thyme - it's surprising how much you can pack into a tin with the lemons.
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