Oops – did I just say that?

it’s hard to look elegant with a can up your…..

Yes, I did, and I’m certainly not the first. This recipe has been handed down from father to son in many an Australian household, at least since the 1980s. Somehow I got let in on the secret, and I have to tell you, its as technical as it looks (i.e. not rocket science), and as juicy as you’d expect a loaded chook to be.

The recipe is all over the internet already, in subtle variations and there is absolutely no reason at all that this one should be any better. It does however come with my personal assurance that this does work, is incredibly easy, and is better than a standard barbecued chicken. (Non-alcoholic and non-Aussie beers are fine to use, despite what many Australians will tell you)


  • 1 chicken, minimum 1.4kg (size 14)
  • salt
  • butter
  • 1 can of beer (330-375ml)


  1. turn on your barbecue, so it comes to a medium heat by the time you are ready
  2. wash and dry your chicken, inside and out
  3. smear all over with butter, then sprinkle with far too much salt to be healthy, rubbing in as you go
  4. open a can of beer (make sure it is a tall narrow one if you have a little chicken) and drink half of it while you wait for the bbq to warm up
  5. stop drinking, then slide the chicken over the half-full can
  6. place on the barbecue (use mitts – it will be toasty), crossing the legs to stabilize
  7. put the lid down on the barbecue, and check every 15 minutes, just to make sure it’s not going too fast
  8. cook for 1 hour (more or less depending on the size of the bird and how out-of-control your grilling skills are), and test the thigh with a spike to make sure the juices run clear
  9. remove the can (mitts and tongs please to prevent injury), and rest breast-down for 10 minutes before serving
throw on a whole globe of garlic for about 40 minutes to make some easy roasted garlic paste – just squeeze out and serve

For an authentic 1980s Australian experience, serve with Russian salad, cubes of Bega cheddar and iceberg lettuce and cucumber smothered in french dressing (but it tastes much better with pita bread, red quinoa and beetroot salad and home-made hummus)




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