This beer can chicken is a bit of fun. The beer keeps the chicken very moist and adds some flavour. The alcohol is cooked out so it is fine for children.

I cooked this recipe earlier this week at the Clonmany Festival using a beautiful chicken from Noone’s Poultry, which Michael and Gerard Noone operate nearby on the Inishowen Peninsula.

It was great to see this festival with such a long history back in full swing. I can’t wait for the Ploughing.

If you don’t want to cook the sweet potatoes directly in the coals, you could also cook them in a preheated oven at 200°C (400°F/gas mark six) for 30 minutes.

But they are great to hold the chicken in place on the barbecue, are a good colour, and I think taste better on the barbecue. I have been cooking a lot of baked potatoes this summer. They make a great lunch packed with cheese.

When I am making the flavoured butter for the corn on the cob I always make extra. It is so versatile. It is great with baked potatoes, grilled fish, chicken or pasta. You could go easy on the harissa for children as it might be a little hot.

Happy cooking,


Beer can chicken

Serves 4-6

  • 1½ tbsp sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ tbsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 limes, juice only, plus extra lime wedges for serving
  • 3 lemons, juice only, plus extra lemon wedges for serving
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2kg/4lb chicken
  • 1 garlic bulbs
  • 440ml can of beer, half full
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1. Mix both types of paprika, mustard, vinegar and lemon and lime juices in a bowl to a smooth paste.

    2. Transfer the marinade to a large plastic food bag, add four tablespoons of the olive oil and the chicken, then seal the bag and shake it carefully to cover the chicken in the marinade. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

    3. Light the barbecue. Allow the flames to flare up and die down and then wait until the coals are glowing and just starting to turn white.

    4. Cut the garlic bulb in half horizontally and stuff the two halves inside the chicken. Manoeuvre the half-full beer can to fit just inside the chicken, so that the bottom half of the can is sticking out of the chicken.

    5. Stand the chicken upright on its beer can in the centre of the barbecue. Wrap a piece of aluminium foil around the base of the chicken to form a protective collar, then cover the barbecue with the lid and cook for 15 minutes.

    6. Continue to cook the chicken for a further 30 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

    7. To serve, transfer the cooked chicken, still standing upright on its beer can, to a large serving platter. Garnish the plate with the lemon and lime wedges, then serve with salad.

    Barbecue baked sweet potatoes with sour cream and chives

    Serves eight to 10

  • 10 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 x 200ml (7fl oz) carton of sour cream
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1. Rub each sweet potato with some oil and a little salt, then wrap each in a double layer of foil. As soon as the barbecue coals are glowing red, put the potatoes directly on them.

    2. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn with tongs and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove one, unwrap it and check to see that it’s cooked through. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, they can be put to one side of the grill to be kept warm.

    3. Place the sour cream in a serving bowl and stir in the chives, then season to taste.

    4. To serve, peel back the top of the foil from each potato and split it open, top with a spoonful of sour cream and chives.

    Barbecue corn on the cob

    Serves six

  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp harissa
  • 6 corn cobs (cut into two if you have more than 6 guests)
  • 1. Mash together the butter, honey, ketchup, garlic and some seasoning, beating until quite smooth. At this point, if you are also cooking for children, split the mix into two serving bowls, before stirring the harissa into just one bowl. Add a pastry brush to each butter mix.

    2. Wrap each corn cob in a double layer of foil. Barbecue, turning, for 30-35 minutes until tender and a little charred. If you want them more blackened, simply unwrap and throw directly on the barbecue for a few more minutes. Pile on to plates and let everyone butter their own.

    See wine pairings

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    Picnic-perfect lunches