1 large whole chicken (approx. 1.5kg) , preferably free-range or organic
1 x 473 ml can of Budweiser or other lager
For the rub:
1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
1 level teaspoon cumin seeds
1 level teaspoon smoked paprika
1 heaped teaspoon brown sugar
1 level teaspoon mild chilli powder
freshly ground black pepper
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I’ve never seen this done in Britain, but it’s a really fun and effective way to cook chicken. I'm giving you two methods, one in the barbecue and one in the oven – both will give you tasty moist chicken. You need a standard kettle-style barbecue with a lid and a thermometer. Make sure it’s tall enough to hold the upright chicken. The steam from the beer cooks the inside of the bird, so the meat ends up lovely and juicy.
Preheat your barbecue or oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Take your chicken out of the fridge while you make your rub. In a pestle and mortar, bash up your fennel and cumin seeds and mix with the paprika, brown sugar, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Stir in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil until you get a nice paste. Drizzle this rub all over the chicken, inside and out, using your hands to make sure you get it into all the nooks and crannies.
Crack your beer open, have a couple of good swigs so your can is just about half full, then lower your chicken’s cavity on to the top of the can so it looks as though the chicken is sitting on the can. A bit undignified, I know, but trust me – it’s going to be delicious.
If you’re using the barbecue, try to strategically move a small amount of coals to the sides rather than directly underneath the chicken, so the heat radiates around it and cooks it from all angles rather than grills it. The same principle applies to roasting.
Carefully sit the chicken on the bars of your barbecue or in a tray on the very bottom of your oven. Cook for around 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until it’s golden and delicious and the meat pulls away from the bone and the juices run clear. If this isn’t the case (all barbecues and ovens are slightly different) just cook for a bit longer.
Once done, remove the can and loosely cover your chicken with foil and a tea towel while you get some grilled veg, salad or warm breads together – but trust me, it tastes so good you won’t need much else.