Food for Christmas

Culinary Conversations
with Peter Blakeway
Food writer, caterer and private chef

Christmas is nearly upon us. So our annual attempt to eat and drink our own body weight is nearly upon us. As the whole summer stretches before us we get the glorious break of the season to reconnect with our family and friends around the table, which is groaning with treats, and best of all we can put our guilt on hold until the New Year.

This is the time of year for food that is fun and visual, with many hands stretching across the table to help themselves. Beer can chicken is one of those fun dishes that is a great centrepiece of the classic barbecue long lunch. And accompanied with some lovely, festive, colorful salads and breads is an easy way of feeding the tribe and having fun.

Beer can chicken

Serves 6

The trick here is to use the simplest beer you like, and shake the can first. If you hear something solid in there then don’t use it as the solid bit is plastic, which is there to give the draught effect and will melt.


1 freerange, corn-fed chicken

1 can beer – try Speight’s Old Dark

Lemon Pepper Avocado Oil

Fresh herbs, chopped (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Drink half the can of beer! Top up can with mixed oil, herbs and seasoning. Season skin of chicken with salt and pepper, place on top of beer can and put on a preheated barbecue. Close lid and cook for 45 to 60 minutes, depending on size of chicken. Core temperature should reach 75 degrees Celsius – or 85 degrees Celsius for reheated chicken. And voila! Here’s a fun and visual Christmas dish!


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