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Beer Can Chicken - A Kiwi Bloke's BBQ

Here are a few excerpts for The Great Bloke's BBQ Cookbook by Kim Terakes - a must have for every Kiwi grillmaster!  Look for this and other cookbooks for guys in our Books section...well obviously.   We've also got Beer Can Chicken holders which makes this a whole lot easier.


Also known as up-the-bum-chook, this dish is bound to get your guests talking. The chicken cooks on top of an opened can of beer, which makes the meat beautifully tender and tasty.

Important: make sure you remember to open the can of beer, or you’ll be in all sorts of trouble!

1 medium organic or free-range chicken (about 1.7 kg)
1 × 375 ml can beer

Great KIWI BBQ Spice Rub
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons celery salt
4 tablespoons ground paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
½ tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon dried thyme
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper

Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a bowl. This will make about a cup - more than you need for this recipe, so transfer 2-3 tablespoons to a smaller bowl then store the rest in a tightly-sealed container (it will keep for months in
the fridge).
Trim the chicken of any excess fat, especially from the breast or cavity, then rub the 2-3 tablespoons spice mix all over the chicken.
Open the can of beer and carefully lower the chicken onto it, then stand it, legs down, wings up, in the baking dish of your barbecue.
Place the baking dish in the middle of the barbecue with heat surrounding it on both sides, but not directly underneath. Close the hood and cook for 70-80 minutes.
Check the chicken is cooked by inserting the point of a knife into the thickest part of the bird - the juices should run clear.
Once cooked, remove the chicken from the dish, carefully slide it off the beer can (it will be very hot), and set aside to rest, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes, then joint or carve and serve immediately. Discard the beer.
Serves 4


There are all sorts of pretentious foodie words you could use to describe this dish, but essentially it is just plain yummy. A very hungry bloke could just about demolish this amount all by himself, though it could stretch four ways in polite company.
The secret to moist, tender ribs is the two-step cooking process: either slow-roasting or slow-braising the ribs first; then finishing them off on the BBQ. It takes a bit of work, but the results are worth it.

4 whole racks (about 5 kg) American-style pork spare ribs, cut in half lengthways (ask your butcher to do this for you)

1 tablespoon ground paprika
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon red chilli flakes
½ teaspoon celery salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
1½ cups cider vinegar

Spicy barbecue sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
½ cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¹⁄³ cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon mustard powder

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and spread over the ribs in a large baking dish. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 2-12 hours. Bring the meat to room temperature by removing from the fridge half an hour before cooking. Retain the marinade for basting.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and roast the ribs for 2 hours, basting every half an hour with the reserved marinade, then set them aside to cool. (The ribs can be marinated and roasted ahead of time - either on the morning of your BBQ or even the day before.)
To prepare the barbecue sauce, place all the ingredients in a deep saucepan, stir well until combined and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Keep the sauce warm until you’re ready to serve.
Preheat your flat grillplate to very hot and smoking, and brown the ribs on both sides for a minute or so. Brush plenty of barbecue sauce over the ribs and cook for a minute more on each side. Pour the remaining warm sauce over the ribs and serve.
Serves 4 - or just the author on a good day

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