Chicken Under a Brick with Gin Mayo – Birdman

The Film:

Birdman poster

The Dish:

The Reason:

Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) can’t escape the black cloak of Birdman. The comic book character who was once his ticket to fame is now a mocking spectre, haunting any attempt to rehabilitate his artistic image and egging him into dangerous deeds. There is heavy pressure on Riggan from critics and co stars to create quality art. It’s pressure that’s akin to the weight of bricks required to execute this classic dish. Here a bird is splayed and  marinated in gin ( potentially left from method actors who insist on drinking it on stage), the heat of chilli and the sourness of lemon. The bricks hold the chicken down against the blaze of the grill. It’s served with a feathery slaw of bristly co stars; shaved fennel and sprouts. And there’s an extra sly sousing of booze in the mayonnaise which gilds it all together. You can serve it on a platter and marvel at the bird-man appearance of it all, or if you really want to get meta, try and cleave the bird into 16 pieces, one for each of the visible cuts in the film.

The Way:

Chicken Under a Brick with Gin Mayo

Serves 3-4


Chicken Under a Brick
1.6 kg free range, preferably organic chicken, with the backbone cut out
2 house bricks, wrapped in foil

2 tbsp gin
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
generous pinch sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
zest of 1/2 lemon

Sprout and Fennel Slaw
12 brussel sprouts, shaved on a mandolin
1 medium fennel, shaved on a mandolin

Gin Mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup of neutral tasting oil
pinch salt
1 tsp gin

(Gin mayonnaise inspired by Sly Espresso)


1) Ensure that the backbone is cut out of your chicken. Whisk together the marinade and pour it over the chicken, rubbing it into the skin.

2) Preheat your barbecue/grill to high and wrap your bricks in foil.

3) Place the chicken breast side down on the grates. Balance the two bricks over the back of the chicken, to help keep it in contact with the grill. Grill for 20 minutes.

4)  After twenty minutes gently remove the bricks and use tongs and a fish splice to help turn the chicken.

5) Balance one of the bricks over the breasts of the bird. Grill for another 15-20 minutes, until the juices from between the legs run clear.

6) Remove the chicken from the grill and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

7) To make the slaw, trim the roots from the sprouts and the fennel and shave on a mandolin, or use a sharp knife.

8) While the chicken is resting, make the mayonnaise. Add the egg yolk to a clean bowl and whisk well. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking all the time. Start drop by drop, then once the mixture has started to gain some body, increase to a slow stream. Add the gin at the end and season with salt to taste.

9) To serve place the salad on a platter and top with the chicken. Place the mayonnaise in a bowl for DIY dipping and dressing the slaw.


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