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Super juicy beer can chicken

This method of cooking a whole chicken has been around for ages and a few years ago this was my standard method of cooking it. You can make this as simple or complicated as you like and there is no right or wrong way of doing this. What makes this so good is the steam that comes out of the beer can makes the chicken so moist! If you don't want to use beer you can take an empty can, half fill it with chicken stock and then just season the chicken on the outside with what ever you like. You can also use a can of cola, water, some white wine.... the list goes on and on.

In the summer there are a few flavours that I just seem to gravitate towards. Fresh thyme is definitely one of them! And when it comes to chicken, thyme and lemon is just the perfect match. They are both gentle but fragrant and they just tickle my tastebuds in a way that not many things do :) This is how I made the chicken yesterday, next time I will probably do it differently and please feel free to use what ever herbs and spices (if any) you like!

Happy barbecue season!

1 large chicken

1 small can of beer (330ml)

handfull fresh herbs, I used thyme and parsley

1 lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

Start by pouring out half of the beer. Put half of the thyme and the parsley stalks inside the can. Slice of the zest from the lemon and stick it into the can.

Finely chop the rest of the thyme and the leaves from the parsley. Mix in with the juice from the lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper. Rub this on the outside of the chicken and sit it on the beer can. When it is upright it should be stable with the can up the butt and you can use the legs to hold it in place on the barbecue so that it won't fall over.

Heat up the barbecue, place the chicken on one side of it and turn that side off so there is no direct heat underneath it. The heat from the other side is enough to cook the chicken. The cooking time depends on the size of the chicken. I had a very big one and it took an hour and 45 minutes which is quite long but for a medium sized bird an hour and 15 minutes should be enough. The best thing of course is to use a meat thermometer to be sure.

When the chicken is cooked, remove the can and leave it to rest for 15 minutes before carving into it. I always rest my chicken breast side down because that way the juices run into the breasts and they are quite often the driest part of the chicken.

If you don't have a barbecue or just don't want to use it it is not a problem to cook this in a regular oven. You just preheat the oven to 180°c on a fan setting and pop the chicken in at the bottom. Cook until ready and like with on the barbecue the time depends on the size of the chicken. You also need to rest it when it comes out.

With this I served some sweet potato fries which are basically just cut into chip shape, drizzled with oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Into the oven at 180°c fan for 30-40 minutes until nice and golden and crispy. I also made steamed vegetables with a super easy dressing and a cold garlic and parsley sauce.

Steamed veg with pesto dressing

vegetables of your choice, I used tender stem broccoli, beans and British asparagus

1 tablespoon green pesto

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

juice from 1/2 lemon

black pepper

Start by steaming your vegetables. For the vegetables that I used it took 4 minutes but most packets have got directions and just make sure not to over cook them.

Mix together pesto, oil, lemon juice and pepper and pour over the vegetables while they are still hot. This can be served warm or room temperature.

Garlic and parsley sauce

1 small tub crème fraîche (200 ml), you can also use greek yoghurt or sour cream

1 clove garlic

small handful fresh parsley

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon runny honey

salt and pepper

Put the crème fraîche in a bowl and whisk in the olive oil. The reason why I always put olive oil into the sauce is because it gives it richness and makes it smooth and velvety.

Grate or crush the garlic and add that in along with the finely chopped parsley. Squeeze in the lemon juice, add the honey and season with salt and pepper. If you get the chance to let this sit for a few minutes at least then the sauce will be much better.

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