Food Porn. With so many TV shows, magazines and blogs about food, food porn is everywhere. Countless books are filled with pictures of artfully crafted dishes that look aesthetically perfect. Then there’s the other side of the coin. If you’re a big fan of Wreckless Eating, you’ve probably run across the exact opposite of food porn-pictures of really bad food that really turn your stomach and make you want to avoid that product at all costs. On nearly every top ten list of worst canned foods known to man is canned whole chicken. While it doesn’t sound that bad, a food blogger took some really nasty looking photos and Sweet Sue’s Canned Whole Chicken became a legendary product.
After doing some research, I found out that Sweet Sue no longer makes canned whole chicken. It’s been unavailable for quite some time. I asked at a few local markets and the managers thought I was crazy. While they probably are correct, I still wanted to obtain a can of the stuff for the main show. So after doing more research, I discovered that canned whole chicken was still available on the market under the Chicken Ready name. Not much came out of this discovery. I still had no idea how to get a can since no one sold it online. So I put the search on hold and moved on to other things. Then one day, I was at a local market and spotted a large red can on the top shelf from about 60 feet away. I walked towards what was the canned meat section and there it was. It was like finding the holy grail of bad food porn. I mailed it down to Wreckless Eating a week later and moved on to finding other items, but I was still thinking about the photos. There had to be a way of replicating them using my find. On my next trip out to the market, they were going out of business. They still had one can left, and at 30% off, I jumped at the chance to try it.
I started looking online to see if anyone else had purchased the same item. Cult Moo did a show on it. It didn’t really look anything like the Sweet Sue product, though it did make a big mess in their kitchen. The AV Club test was also pretty anti climactic. It wasn’t looking too good, but after rereading the blog, I found out that the can needed to be refrigerated before opening to make the juice turn to jelly. So with that information, I invited a few friends over, bought a can of kiwi strawberry Joose and decided that after photographing and eating the chicken, I was going to mix the jelly with the Joose to make an alcoholic chicken beverage. It wasn’t the best idea, but I needed to make the evening worthwhile in case the canned chicken turned out to be disappointing.
The opening of the can made me hopeful. There was a large amount of yellow fat on the top which covered nearly everything. After removing the lid, I flipped the can over with a pan underneath, but it wouldn’t budge. The chicken was held in by the fat. After hitting the can for a few minutes, it became clear that I had to vent the other half or it would remain stuck. So I pierced the other half of the can and the bird started moving. As I pulled up on the can, the jelly remained in place, coating the chicken in a thick gelatinous goop. As more of the chicken was exposed, I kept taking pictures. It was an exact replica of the Sweet Sue pics. I had my money shot.
The taste testing didn’t go quite so well for me. The chicken definitely gave off an odor of bad cat food. It didn’t taste too bad, but the smell wasn’t doing the chicken any favors. I then combined the jelly with the Joose and gave it a whirl. It was exactly what I expected from a alcoholic chicken and fruit flavored drink. Not something I’d want to repeat. It had the same effect on me as prune juice. Canned whole chicken will be on the main show soon. I sent instructions to chill the can for a few days before opening, so it should look exactly the same as it does here. I’m looking forward to seeing it again.