Recipe: Spiced-up beer-can chicken with smoked paprika and chilli

Learn the tricks of the trade to achieving succulent results that will bring you sizzling success every time.

Some cooks shy away from barbecuing a whole chicken as it can be easy to char the skin and under-cook the meat. Spatchcocking is an easy way to cook an entire bird with perfectly tender, succulent results. If you want to cook large chicken pieces with bones and you are concerned about under-cooking the meat, pre-cook the chicken in an oven, then finish off on the barbecue.

When poultry is done, its juices will run clear when pierced with a knife – there should be no sign of pink meat. If using a meat thermometer to check, the meat should be 740C at its thickest part.

While cooking a whole chicken with a beer can is a tried-and-tested Kiwi-summer favourite, we’ve given this classic a tasty upgrade with a spicy rub.

To make the rub, combine equal parts fennel seeds, cumin, smoked paprika, brown sugar and chilli. Grind the spices and mix with olive oil to a thick paste, then rub all over the chicken.

Prepare the barbecue with an indirect medium heat. Drink or discard half the can of beer and place inside the chicken cavity. Cook the chicken for 1.5 hours, or until golden brown.

This recipe was first published in our special edition In Your Backyard: Food & Fire. The next edition of the In Your Backyard series, Urban Harvest is out on March 26.  It features everything New Zealanders need to know to grow food in the city. It is packed with expert advice on how to start a productive veggie garden, the best crops to grow and how to create awesome soil.  PLUS: space-saving ideas for vertical growing, container gardening, hydroponics, microgreens, espalier  trees and edible hedges  – even how to forage. Pre-order your copy here.

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