Beer Can Chicken With Chorizo & Haloumi Salad
Paul Hogan once made it an Aussie saying to ‘throw another shrimp on the barbie’ even though we don’t even call them shrimp in Australia, they are prawns here. But Beer Can Chicken has slowly been creeping in the past few years, and in my book, it doesn’t get more Aussie than a chicken sitting on a can of beer, roasting on the BBQ.
Seventeen years ago I met my friend from Norway, when she came back to Sydney to study for a few years after originally coming out as an exchange student. Through mutual friends we met and hit it off and then became flatmates. Not long after moving into our first place, she went back to Norway for Christmas, while she was gone I met me husband, and by the time she got home, she had another flatmate. A few years later, she was bridesmaid at our wedding and then she set off back to Norway not long after. We fell out of touch for a few years and then when Facebook appeared we reconnected and have stayed in touch since. What would we do without social networking! I don’t know how we managed before it.
I think a sign of a great friend, is when you don’t see each other for years at a time, but when you do get together, it doesn’t feel like any time has passed at all. She visited recently with her boyfriend, who is Irish, living in Norway, and enjoying his first visit to Australia, so I though it was only fitting to serve up an Aussie dish, not only does beer can chicken taste amazing, it is also a talking point when people see a chicken sitting up in the BBQ. The beer bubbles away marinating the chicken from the inside and keeps it moist, making it super tender and tasty. You may notice a lack of pretty photos of the final dish, but we were hungry, so there wasn’t time for more than a quick snap. There was much catching up to be had, squeezing 5 years into one weekend, which passed way too quickly. It’s always sad to see her leave, seeing her again makes me realise how much I miss her, but hopefully the next catch up isn’t so far apart, fingers crossed we will finally make our way over to Norway some time soon.
Beer Can Chicken (serves 4)
Suitable for : gluten, dairy, egg, soy, sugar and nut free diets. Make sure the beer is gluten free if making gluten free.
- large free range whole chicken
- 50g Nuttelex dairy free spread (or softened butter if you can have it)
- 1 tbs honey
- 1.5 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 full head of garlic, sliced in half horizontally
- 375ml can Australian Lager beer (You will need a gluten free beer if making this gluten free. For some reason, I feel sick if I was to drink the beer, but the gluten in it doesn’t seem to effect me when I cook the chicken this way, but it is better to use gluten free beer if making gluten free just to be sure).
- 1 lemon – zested, then one half cut into thin wedges, the remaining half lemon roughly sliced and put in the baking tray
- 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
- In a bowl mix the Nuttelex or butter, with honey, paprika, half of the minced garlic, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (leaves only) and season with salt and pepper.
- Pat dry chicken, and using a spoon, push the spoon between the skin the the meat on the breast part of the chicken to create pockets on both sides. Then take a third of the mixture and push into the pockets of each breast and rub the mixture right to the end and into the edges of the chicken breast. Repeat with the other side. Keeping remaining mixture aside.
- I like to leave the chicken covered in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours, but you can just cook straight away. Pre-heat the BBQ to 180C degrees when ready to cook the chicken.
- Take the can of beer and tip out or drink about a third of the can. Push the remaining minced garlic and the lemon wedges inside the can
- I prefer to use the throw away aluminium foil square BBQ baking trays that you can get at the supermarket, I found that my baking trays were so difficult to clean, it’s easier to get a throw away tray. Take the can of beer and place in the middle of the tray. Carefully lower the chicken, so that the cavity sits over the beer can. You may need to bring the chicken legs forward to help it stand up without being wobbly. Then rub the remaining mixture all over the chicken. In the baking tray, place the remaining lemon slices and the garlic halves cut side up into the tray.
- Cook for 1.5 hours or until the juices run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh meat.
- Carefully lift the chicken with tongs off the beer can, it definitely helps to have another person with tongs holding the base of the can while you lift the chicken onto a plate. Cover with foil and leave 15 mins to rest. To serve, cut the chicken into pieces and serve with the roasted garlic, squeezed out of the bulbs.
Note: If you can have cow’s dairy and egg, check out the original recipe I adapted, here. The sauce in this recipe is amazing with this chicken, if you can have it. But the chicken is still fantastic without it. Especially served with the salad below.
Beer Can Chicken (serves 4)
Suitable for : gluten, egg, soy & nut free diets. I used sheeps milk haloumi, as I can have it, but not cows milk.
- 150g mix of baby spinach, baby rocket (arugula) or baby kale
- 1 punnet grape or cherry tomatoes
- 2 chorizo (make sure gluten, dairy, soy free as required)
- 1 packet haloumi cheese (I use sheeps milk version)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- sea salt & freshly cracked pepper to season
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to coat BBQ plate
- 1 red onion, sliced
- caramelised balsamic vinegar to drizzle
Method – I prepare everything, so that I can throw the onion, chorizo and haloumi on the BBQ while the chicken is resting.
- In a salad bowl, add the mixed leaves and tomatoes and place aside or in the fridge until ready.
- Thinly slice the haloumi, and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper and thyme leaves, and then pour over the lemon juice and 2 tbsp olive oil. Gently mix to coat all the haloumi and then put into the fridge until ready.
- Slice the chorizo and the red onion and put aside.
- While the chicken is resting, pour some olive oil onto the BBQ flat plate and then cook up the onion & chorizo. Leave the haloumi until last so that it doesn’t become rubbery before serving.
- To serve, top the salad with the cooked ingredients and then drizzle with caramelised balsamic vinegar
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