At times I get the most peculiar cravings. I guess it ties in with my way of eating; regardless of what it is I eat for pleasure, not just fuel. And most of the time my cravings are a combination of things my body needs and my favourite foods. Typical cravings are usually something with avocado, anything with burrata and sometimes proper comfort food. Often cheese of some kind, and sometimes fish.
One beautiful summer’s day in Norfolk my body screamed for barbecued chicken. The sticky, charred kind. Maybe I needed protein but whenever I crave something fairly healthy I always try to give my body what it wants.
As we were in Norfolk and had access to a barbecue it was also much easier to make this happen, than if we’d been in London, so I went all in. I threw together a homemade barbecue sauce and marinated the whole spatchcocked chicken in it for a few hours and then got my darling boyfriend to light the barbecue. The coal one, thank you very much, not the gas barbecue!
And apart from the sugars in the marinade burning too quickly it was a great success. We both thoroughly enjoyed the charred and tender chicken, both that night and the leftovers two days later.
But, this almost too charred chicken was not photogenic, and I was also slightly worried about the carcinogenic properties of all that burnt sugar. And decided to perfect the recipe (and reduce the charring) the next time.
And that next time arose a few weeks later in Sweden when my boyfriend was over and we were having dinner with my parents. My foodie family was just as excited about the chicken as I was and my boyfriend loved it last time, so it worked out really well! The trick is to add the barbecue sauce towards the end so it doesn’t burn too much; just that right amount that makes it taste to good!
Barbecue chicken, serves 4 + leftovers
2 smaller (just over a kilo each) whole fresh chickens
salt and pepper
1 tbsp neutral oil
150 ml ketchup
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar (or any sugar if you prefer but brown works best)
1 tsp smoked paprika powder
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp neutral oil
Rinse and trim the chickens. (I usually cut away any loose skin and fat, the ends of the wings that is just bone etc.) Then spatchcock the chickens (instructions here) so they cook quicker and more evenly. Season with plenty of salt and pepper all around and brush with oil.
Build up the coal barbecue so that you have the coal and briquettes all on one side of the barbecue, where you have a higher temperature, as opposed to the empty side which still emanates heat but isn’t as hot.
Start off by browning the chickens all around on the direct heat (on top of the coals), for approx 5-10 minutes. Then move them to the indirect heat (empty side) and place them bony side down. Put the lid on and grill for another 15-20 minutes, turning as you go. Brush on a thick layer of barbecue sauce all around the chicken and char the meaty side first (as this is most important to get right) until just enough charring, then turn over and char the other side. The chickens should be ready after another 10 minutes on the grill, but cut through the meat (both the thickest part of the breast and in a joint) to make sure the juices are all clear. Remove from the grill and cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into smaller pieces (our almost fell apart so this was easy) and tuck in!