NQN’s Bloody Aussie Chook
|The two chickens|
I had two chickens, 1.6kg and 2kg respectively and with eight diners including three very hungry boys I decided two chickens were needed and this would give me a chance to experiment, with a suggestion from my Dad, to try one with cider and one with beer.
Trying two different liquids also meant that I’d have a lash at two different dried spice mixes rubbed into the chickens. On the smaller chicken with the Three Oaks Cider inside, I used a simple salt and pepper with lemon juice and oregano rub. With the larger chicken that would sit atop the can of Toohey’s New I used a Portuguese Chicken spice rub.
|The Beercan Chicken getting ready|
|Three Oaks Cider Chicken|
Inside both of the cans, with the tops removed to allow for excess moisture to circulate, I decided to pop in some aromatics, including sprigs of rosemary and bay leaves as well as a few chunks of garlic.
Pushing the chicken down onto the cans is the hardest part of the exercise. Having someone else there to help by holding the can while you guide the chicken is the best advice I can give.
The second piece of advice that I will offer is to make sure that there is enough room between the grill and your barbecue hood to allow the chicken to stand.
Finally, when it comes to preparation, don’t preheat your barbecue for more than a few minutes or allow it reach any high temperatures as I did. The chickens may need additional adjustments to make sure they stay standing, like mine did. My poor burned hands.
One way to make sure these chickens don’t fall is to use a holder, I didn’t and one of my chickens fell over. The beer spilled and my grill flared and one side of my chicken became quite charred. The chickens do need to stay well balanced and a holder can help with this. Firmly slipping the chicken legs into grooves on a grill will help, but if you have a flat plate barbecue or aren’t confident try a holder. They’re not expensive and while I haven’t used one, I hear a lot of positive feedback from those who have.
|L-R Cideer Chicken, a bit burned across the bottom side, and the beer chicken on the right|
|The better of the two, the beer chicken.|
Our chickens cooked for approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes and were tested in the high joint, this could have a lot to do with the falling mishap but as a guide, an hour per chicken seems to be standard, on an average barbecue temperature of 180 degrees.
The chicken was quite tender and without a doubt, the Portuguese spice and beer chicken was much more popular than the poor slightly burned Cider chicken. I don’t feel that the can type affects the flavour as much as the spice rubs do, however the meat is much more tender and moist than your standard roasted chicken.
I also think that it’s bound to get easier with practice.