Friday, 26 August 2011

What came first? The chicken or...

...The can?

Enough steak to feed a football team √
Fingerfood feasts worthy of Kings to add to a vibrant table √
Sultry Septima Malbec to accompany √
Back up assorted bottles and cans √
Family and friends gathered √
Barbecue fired up √
Beautiful view of the Peak District – see below
Weather – ermmmm

On the whole the checklist matched up to expectation. Several days of investigation and enquiry had lead to many a pondered moment over what was – at the end of the day - a barbecue. And many hours of glorious sunshine had given way to typical British weather.

What fascinates me most about barbecues is partially what Neil has to say regarding the same occasion, but mainly the preparation. No matter to what extent, whether a few quick burgers and a coal degraded sausage, or (as in our case) supreme steak, marinated pork tenderloin, an alcoholically abused chicken, absurdly delightful guacamole, Niamh’s ribs (not literally) and another whole host of delights including suggestions from such respected contributors as Mr C – the preplanning is often much the same.

You can pretty much guarantee that on a steaming hot Saturday Summer afternoon (dependent on random football/rugby/cricket matches), your local ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Tescos et al, will be teeming with middle-aged men debating whether chipolatas are ok and whether to buy submarine rolls or baps. In our case, the ripeness of a lime or the relevant pros and cons of shallots or bog standard onions prevailed. This is not the result of some regurgitated Jamie style ‘cooking=man=testosterone=hero programme’ but the desire to set fire to things.

I love barbecues. Fact. There is something about the charred flesh of what’s cooking accompanied by the charred flesh/sun tan cream aroma of people gathered close by that have come to define good and bad weather.

This feast was exceptional. Summed up by none other than my Mum. She proclaimed like some self-confessed oven chip addict, that she had ‘never had a spare rib in her life’. The fact that the ribs were beautifully bathed in a coffee marinade added more to her pleasure. The ribs fell away from the bone, the wine soaked tenderloin induced ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’, the steak added more superlatives, especially when accompanied by Kitchen’s at Horsley Beetroot and Horseradish Sauce…on a submarine roll.

As we approach possibly the last hope of a BBQ weekend, I implore you - stick a can of lager up the rear end of a chicken and then stand back and admire your rather strange culinary expertise.

Success is judged by so many things when cooking. An empty plate or repeated belches just to name a couple. In this case, one of our party was apparently perusing websites the following day ordering the Malbec, my nephew had interrogated my sister about all things Carling and Chicken, my Mum had broken her ribs... abstinence. And my Dad. He had a chicken experience several years ago at a BBQ that lead to sponsorship from Armitage Shanks. The aesthetics of my dish as it stood ashamedly on the barbie didn’t exactly inspire confidence but he was seen with a gob full of chicken late into the night.

Chicken & Can recipe
Cover a chicken in all the spices, herbs, chillies, garlic etc you want.
Bang it in the fridge over night
Drink half a can of lager
Stick remaining can of lager up chicken cavity – still in the can
Stand upright on BBQ for about ¾ hour depending on the size of your bird*
*Author accepts no responsibility for cooking times

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