This is an extremely tasty hybrid – American barbecue crossed with Chinese roast chicken. Regular readers may already have read my original beer can chicken post, and it’s worth glancing at it again for more on this cooking method, which is one of my favourites for roasting chicken. A can of beer is – how can I say this delicately? – rammed up the chicken’s bottom, and steams the bird from the inside while the outside roasts to a lovely crisp.
Usually, I make chicken cooked in this way with an American-style dry rub. This time, I’ve made a Chinese paste to marinade and cook the bird in, and I’m very pleased with the results. I served this with some steamed rice and sweetly stir-fried carrot and courgettes – about which you can read more later in the week.
To roast one chicken to toothsome perfection you’ll need:
1 chicken weighing around 1.5 kilogrammes
4 tablespoons hoi sin sauce
3 teaspoons five-spice powder
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 piece of ginger about the size of your thumb
3 cloves garlic
1 can lager
Make a paste from the hoi sin, two teaspoons of the five-spice powder, 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, and the ginger and garlic, grated. Rub it all over the chicken, both inside and out. Leave to marinade for at least three hours (I left mine overnight).
Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F), pour half of the can of beer into a glass and drink it, and use a hammer and nail to knock a few holes in the top of the can alongside the ringpull. Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of five-spice powder into the can (be careful – it will fizz extravagantly, so do this over the sink). Put the can in the centre of a roasting tin. Cut the string holding the chicken’s legs together, pull them apart so it looks like it’s standing up, and push the upright chicken firmly onto the can. I use a very cheap stand, whose wires I’ve bent so you can fit them round the can, when I roast chicken this way – it helps keep the whole apparatus from falling over while it cooks.
There is little dignity in death for chickens.
Roast the chicken for 1 hour and 30 minutes (if you have a large enough barbecue with readily controlled temperature, cook it in there instead of the oven), and remove carefully from the can. Pour away the beer in the can – it doesn’t taste great. Rest the chicken in a warmed dish for ten minutes – it will produce plenty of delicious juices to go with any that have dripped into the roasting tin during cooking. Whisk the juices together with a teaspoon of sesame oil, and pour over the carved chicken. Garnish with some chopped spring onion and serve.