Botswanan Chicken in a Hole, prepared in traditional fashion, requires slow-smoking the chicken in a hole in the backyard (As you will see in the directions below). But you can also prepare Botswanan Chicken in a Hole, with great results, in a lidded BBQ grille, too.
1 whole chicken
16 large cloves garlic, peeled and quartered lengthways
1 whole, large onion, peeled, and studded with 6 whole cloves
12 cabbage leaves
1 Maggi cube
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. dried peri-peri chilies
1 tbsp. salt
2-3 tbsp. vinegar (for cleaning the chicken)
(Optional: if using goat or sheep, trotters can be added.)
1. Wash the chicken in water mixed with the vinegar, then pat dry.
2. Push the quarters of garlic between the skin and the flesh of the chicken; distribute as evenly as you can.
3. Place the chilies and all the other spices (and the salt) in a mortar and pestle, and pulverize into a paste.
4. Rub the spice mix all over the chicken, inside and outside, to ensure an even coating.
5. Stuff the onion deep into the cavity.
6. Now, wrap the cabbage leaves around the chicken, then wrap a cheesecloth or muslin over it. Then wrap the entire assembly in at least three layers of thick aluminum foil.
7. Botswanan Chicken in a Hole should be cooked in a real cooking pit if you want to do it in the Botswana tradition. Dig a hole about 3′ deep by 1-1/2′ square. Line the sides of the hole with wood slats, and put hot coals in the bottom. Sprinkle sand over the hot coals and place the foil-wrapped chicken on top of the coals. Cover the chicken completely with a layer of sand, and then another layer of hot coals. Cover the layer of coals with more sand, filling the hole completely. Mark the cooking spot with a rock, or a stick, and allow to slow-roast for between 3-1/2 to 4 hours.
8. Dig-up the chicken at this point, shake the sand off, carefully unwrap, and eat.
You can approximate this cooking method using a lidded barbecue pit. Heat your coals, place the leaves-and-foil-wrapped chicken on a wire rack over the coals, and then close the lid. Keep coals at medium heat, so you don’t overcook cook and dry the bird out. Botswanan Chicken in a Hole should be slow-roasted and juicy.