I've had Sweet Sue Canned Whole Chicken on my Grail List since I first learned of its existence several years ago. The sheer bizarreness of a canned whole chicken drew me to it like a moth to a flame. Alas, however, Sweet Sue products have severely limited availability in my area - I might occasionally find their Chicken and Dumplings or tins of chicken breast, but that's it.
However, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous reader who lives in Sweet Sue Land, I recently received the elusive Sweet Sue Canned Whole Chicken. It immediately went into the fridge, can and all, because the instructions on the label advise that it should be chilled before removing (makes sense - cooked meat is always easier to handle chilled.)
This photo, taken by Tracy O'Connor and first published on her awesome blog, I Hate My Message Board, is what I was expecting to find when I opened the can: a whole (albeit small) cooked chicken, goopy with the broth created during processing. Kind of looks like it just came out of one of the egg pods in Alien, doesn't it?
But when I opened the can, what slid out was even more horrifying.
This is what actually came out.
I poked through the shredded, gooey poultry meat and discovered that there was indeed most of the components of a whole chicken in there. There was skin, lots of bones, and plenty of chunks and fibers that I'm pretty sure once comprised a chicken. The only readily identifiable bits were the legs and the breast; all the rest of the bird had been pulverized.
Needless to say, I didn't bother to follow the rest of the cooking instructions (which told me to put the chicken in a pan in a hot oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, basting frequently with the delicious broth.) I spent some time picking out as many of the bones as I could find, then heated up the whole mess in a Dutch oven and made chicken and dumplings with it.
The flavor was okay. It had the kind of tinny flavor and strange mouthfeel of cheap canned chicken soup, and it was somewhat on the salty side, but the taste was recognizable as chicken when all was said and done.
So, I'm ticking this one off the Grail List, with no regrets - and no desire for a repeat.