Holiday Poultry

We are seriously photographically impaired here at SN at the moment so you’ll have to survive on words. Otherwise, cook it yourself for a three-dimensional image of this recipe.

The following recipe is for one whole chicken. Size doesn’t matter too much: I trust that you can augment your cooking times accordingly. I used a 1.5kg chicken. The only real size restriction is that you need to be able to fit a good old beer can in its body cavity.

I call it Holiday Poultry because this recipe produces a tender and juicy bird such that I envision eating over Xmas and Thanksgiving. Somehow, Turkey cooked whole, no matter how it is prepared, ends in disappointment. Even if the meat remains juicy and tender throughout the cooking process, the breast tends to dry out while standing or while carved. I have come to the conclusion that turkey should be cooked in pieces or used in curries and stewing based dishes only. Therefore, I provide this chicken recipe as an alternative for this holiday season. That is if you absolutely insist on poultry. There’s nothing wrong with seafood or a nice holiday ham to tuck into with your friends and family this December.


1 Whole Chicken, body cavity emptied of giblets.
2 – 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped finely.
1 handfull Fresh Parsley, chopped finely. You will not use dried parsley. Not for this recipe.
100ml Olive Oil, give or take.
100ml Worcestershire Sauce, give or take.
3tsp Molasses, high quality stuff. Avoid the cheap baking kind. I used some other Bermudian style fancy molasses which is becoming a regular flavour accompaniment to my culinary exploits.
1 Beer, in canned form of the roughly 350ml ilk. These are becoming difficult to come by, tall boys having really taken over the market. For the sot this is laudable. For the cook, it can be frustrating. Or not. If you can’t find a small beer simply buy a can of ginger ale, drink it, and fill it 3/4 full with beer from a tall boy. Ta-da!


Preheat your oven on bake at 180C (350F) or light your BBQ, all burners on high, with the lid closed.

Combine garlic and parsley with the olive oil and let steep as you prep your bird.

Depending on where you purchase your chicken, it may come trussed in any number of ways and may have any number of giblets preserved inside in, well, any number of ways. Un-truss it. De-giblet it. Rinse it in cool water and pat it dry, inside and out, with paper towel. This should take enough time for the parsley and garlic oil to adequately steep.

Add the Worcestershire Sauce to the oil and herb mixture and stir vigorously. Emulsions are nice.

Crack the beer (Heineken is a good choice because it isn’t too bitter and the cans are slightly smaller and more rounded than most). Drink 1/4 to 1/3 of the beer and spoon 4tsps of the oil/Worcestershire/herb sauce into the can. Punch several holes around the side of the can above the liquid level.

Stand the prepared beer on a plate the circumference of which is greater than that of your bird when standing upright. With the remaining sauce, slather the chicken inside and out and place it over the beer can with the legs crossed. This way the bird, with the can in its cavity, should stay upright on its own.

Either truss the neck opening with toothpicks or use a miniature foil pie dish like a hat to keep the juices from escaping the body cavity. Place your chicken in the oven or, better yet, put it on the grill off to one side and turn the burner off directly underneath it. I used a three-burner BBQ so I had one burner off and two burners on. You will need to turn them down to low with the lid closed. Be sure not to check or fuss with the chicken too much lest all the heat escapes. Try to maintain 200C (400F) at all times.

The chicken should take about 1.5hrs. You can cook it for longer if you like as the beer will ensure it remains moist. At 20 to 30 minute intervals turn the chicken so that all sides get browned.

While the chicken is cooking, mix 1 part molasses to 2 parts Worcestershire Sauce. Make enough to coat your bird once.

When the chicken is just about ready (the juices should run clear when you poke it or it should have an internal temperature of about 70C), paint it with the molasses and Worcestershire glaze and turn up the heat to crisp and caramelize the skin. Be careful not to burn it. If you are cooking in an oven, switch to broil for the final browning.

Carve it. Revel, for it is so juicy. Taste the bouquet of flavours that massage your palate. Face west and nod once in recognition of my genius. Be merry.

I had my doubts about molasses and Worcestershire Sauce. The combination is magnificent. The key is to resist the addition of salt and pepper to the recipe and to coat the nearly cooked chicken only once with the glaze.

And there you have it: a holiday bird. Also, if you treat the saucier’s art as that of the alchemist’s, as I do, you probably tasted the molasses and Worcestershire Sauce before you used it. Turns out it is liquid gold in a glass crucible.