At least we didn’t have any fun while cooking this chicken and sourdough biscuit dinner! Cooking a bird or a beaver this way was the impetus for the original swivel pot chain. Before it went on the fire I trussed the chicken, a fancy way to say I tied it with twine to hold it together so it would cook evenly. If I hadn’t trussed it, the wings and other parts that hang off the bird would be burned while the body was still raw.
The first time I saw game cooked this way was at a winter camp in 1999 in northern Quebec with my Cree friends. David Bosum was cooking a beaver and a goose. The beaver was cooked outside by an open fire, while the goose was cooked in the canvas tent, next to the woodstove.
A few years ago, the tv show Man, Fire, Food came out to the field school and this was the centerpiece of the food we made.
Tips: Be sure to hang the bird next to, not over, the fire, and let it cook with radiant energy, not hot air. It takes at least 3 hours to cook a chicken this way, and is probably better suited to a winter trip where it is hanging next to a woodstove you’ll be running hot anyway. But around a campfire is a great way to learn the process. I love outdoor kitchens because usually the squirrels and grey jays do the cleanup.