This is a great Summer recipe that’s both easy and delicious. Cooking the chicken with a half full beer can in the cavity ensures the flesh is very moist. The hot beer evaporates and steams the inside of the bird. Our chef Lou and I were talking about beer can chicken recently and possible marinades for the outside. Lou suggested a jerk marinade so I gave it a try – we loved the resulting flavour. Jerk spice chicken is a Jamaican creation. This hot spice mixture has been created and influenced over all the years by the various cultures which make up Jamaica. Typically it’s very hot and spicy. I’ve cut the spiciness back here. Even so the marinade is still quite hot but once the chicken is cooked most of that goes. You’re left with spiciness and warmth, not overpowering heat.
1 whole chicken
2 tsps ground allspice
1 tbsp black peppercorns, roughly crushed
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
4 spring onions
2-3 chillies, finely chopped (add more if you like)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp seasalt
2 tbsps soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 can of beer, half full
Make the marinade by blending all the ingredients (except the chicken and beer can) until nearly smooth. Rub the marinade all over the chicken. Rub a little under the skin particularly under the breast skin. Don’t put too much as the marinade won’t cook properly if it’s too thick. Also it’ll be very spicy.
Place the beer can on a tray or straight on the grill and push the chicken over it so the can fills the cavity and the chicken is upright.
Cook in a moderate oven or BBQ for about 60 -75 minutes. When ready take the chicken off the can, place it on a dish, cover and let it rest for a few minutes.
I served this with a pawpaw salsa – finely chopped pawpaw, a little finely chopped chili, a little chopped red onion, finely chopped coriander and a few pomegranate seeds.