Beer can chicken tacos could be Algonquin College's winning recipe

Five teams of chefs from across Ottawa will battle for kitchen supremacy on Sunday, including the team from Algonquin College that shared one of its recipes during CBC Radio's All in a Day.

5 teams of chefs battle at Canadian Culinary Federation of Ottawa contest

Brendan Koczan, sous chef at Algonquin College, will lead his team of chefs as they make dishes such as this beer can chicken taco. (Photo courtesy of Brendan Kobzan)

Five teams of chefs from across Ottawa will compete at the Canadian Culinary Federation of Ottawa’s Competition and Gala Dinner, including a team from Algonquin College featured on CBC Radio’s All in a Day.

The team shared a recipe for beer can chicken taco, which is on their short list. They may or may not use it at the competition.

Brendan Kobzan, a sous chef at Alqonquin Food Services, spoke to host Giacomo Panico about the recipe and the competition during the D is for Dinner segment.

His team will face chefs from the Marriott hotel, the National Arts Centre, Café 321 and the Rideau-Carleton Raceway on Sunday. Each team will also feature a helper from the Ottawa Mission’s Food Services Training Program.

Here are the ingredients, plus the recipe for beer can chicken taco. The chef will need a tall can of beer - half for infusing flavour and moisture into the chicken, the other half for the vinaigrette (The remaining beer is for the person doing this hard labour).

As a tip, Kobzan says the chef should add a couple more small holes in the top of the beer can to allow for more evaporation and flavour.

Ingredients for the chicken and its rub (to lightly coat a whole chicken):

  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. orange juice (freshly squeezed preferred)
  • 1/2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme dry or 1 tsp. fresh
  • 1 tsp. steak spice of your choice
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Recipe for chicken and rub:

  1. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry.  
  2. Mix together the ingredients to form a paste and rub to coat the outside skin of the entire chicken.
  3. Place chicken onto half-full can of beer on a beer can chicken holder and cook in a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. then turn the oven down to 300 degrees and continue cooking for about another 90 minutes, making sure the internal temperature has reached and/or exceeded 165 degrees.  
  4. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest and cool to handle.

Ingredients for vinaigrette (3-4 tacos):

  • 2 tbsp. canola oil (or another oil)
  • 1 tbsp. reserved beer
  • 1 tbsp. orange juice (fresh is preferred)
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

Recipe for vinaigrette:

  1. In a bowl, mix together beer, orange juice, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and then gradually drizzle in the oil while continuing to whisk to form an emulsion.
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning and sweetness to personal taste and use to drizzle onto the tacos before eating (Can use as a dressing for a side salad).

Each team is given a basic set of ingredients they must use including chicken, beer, cod, pork belly, shrimp and some others. On the day of the competition, a trolley will also feature food typically donated to the Ottawa Mission – like Kraft Dinner and canned soup – and the teams receive bonus points for using them in their respective recipes.

A panel of professional chef judges will choose the winning team, which will then make the dish for a gala on Sunday night.