The smell of the charcoal intensifies and a waft of warm smoke circles into the air as the lid is lifted; it’s time to put on the Beer-Can chicken. A fabulous way to BBQ a whole chicken, with the body of the bird seasoned and then upturned onto a full can of beer. The can then stands on the bars of the BBQ and as the beer comes to the boil and steams, it keeps the chicken moist with a flavour of hops and barley as it gently smokes and cooks to a golden brown. This is one of my favourite summer dishes. Despite the fact that you can cook a chicken this way in an oven, getting it to and from the cooker barely balanced on it’s tin, has always made me reticent to try.
Mr Glam and I were sharing a glass of the good stuff in the bar of The Hand And Flowers, when we got into conversation with a Geordie couple. We’d seen them chatting to Tom Kerridge earlier and it transpired that they were the Muddy Fingers potters, designing some tableware for one of the restaurant’s dishes. Never one to miss a kitchenware opportunity, I fell upon their samples. I pulled out the weirdest looking dish with a funnel in the middle, glazed in a delicious soft green and with the swirling rings of a hand thrown pot, I loved it. A beer can cooker for the home oven. The centre can be filled with the aromatics (garlic, herbs or spices) and liquid of your choice and the dish with a little water to catch the fat and juices. It was the perfect perch for a succulent chicken.
With an exchange of Twitter handles and a few emails later, I was the proud owner of one of these gems. I am delighted with my purchase. It arrived with the suggestion of ginger wine and garlic for my first chicken try out.
You can try this recipe using an empty beer can, placing the garlic and ginger wine in the can, more precarious but still tasty.
Muddy Finger’s Garlic And Ginger Wine Chicken
- 1 chicken
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and black pepper to season
- 150 mls ginger wine
- 2 crushed cloves of garlic
- 200 mls water
- Heat the oven to 200c, 180c fan, 400f
- Rub the chicken all over with the oil and generously season with the salt and pepper
- Place the ginger wine and garlic in the centre funnel of the dish
- Place the chicken over the funnel as in the photo and fill the rim off the dish with the water
- Place in the oven, cooking for 20 minutes per 450g or 20 minutes per pound weight. Pierce the thigh to check the juices run clear to ensure the bird is cooked
- Remove from the dish and carve in the normal way, spoon over the juices from the dish