Beer can chicken is a real staple dish of Southern barbecue cooking. You find thousands of recipes for it, all following the same steps of opening a can of beer, drinking half (or pouring half away if you are feeling boring), shoving that open can up the jaxie of the bird (I KNOW it’s technically the neck cavity, but it’s so much more fun this way), and barbecuing it for an hour and a half.
That’s all good stuff but why not give it a little shake up – and add in some molasses, spices and general filth?! So, this recipe follows the same basic steps but using a can of cider akin to those you would find in any homeless person’s clutches. Once the bird is standing upright and proud, drizzle all over him (I like to think of my dinner as male or female, defo a man in this case) an ebony, glistening, speckled laquer that can only be described as black-gold… WELL it’s paprika, Cajun spices, garlic, cayenne, cumin, coriander, fennel seeds and treacle but you get the idea. If you can get hold of molasses, these work even better but I was feeling lazy – as is the case almost every day – so treacle works just as well.
If you are going to do this on a barbecue, there are 2 main ways of doing it. Number 1: This is the old-school way. Pile up the coals only on one side of the bbq and heat till they are glowing red, which will take about 40 minutes to get ready. Place the bird, standing up on the can on the side without the coals, plonk the lid on and leave for about 2 hours – stab it to see if you are salmonella-free and if the juices are looking a bit dodge, just keep on cooking.
Number 2: The fail safe way. Place the bird on the can in a roasting tray and cook in a 180 celsius oven for 1 ½ hours. Then, shimmy the chicken off the can and finish on the bbq, charring the outside to a gorgeous, crispy, almost tar colour.
Normally, I hate salad. And I hate people who LOVE salad. But there are some salads I will go for. Normally, only if they have a shit tonne of cheese and / or bacon in them. Croutons help too, but don’t tease me now. This salad is pretty fine though. Blitz the blue of your dreams with a little buttermilk, salt, pepper and sugar and pour all over some leaves. Now for the dirrrrty pecans. I feel like Xtina would like these. Toast nuts, melt butter, mix with Cajun spice, wild rosemary, salt, pepper and some brown sugar, mix nuts with butter, leave to cool. BOOM. The dirtiest of snacks, the tastiest of side dishes.