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Charred Chumbawamba

One of the more esoteric fantasy beasts is the chumbawamba, an odd little animal with a wide mouth and purple hue that masqueraded as a popular British band decades back. They are surprisingly hearty, with a 30 year lifespan, penchant for political positions, and affections for this beast are distinctly mixed, with some claiming it to be the best band in the world, while others reduced to the fetal position by the mere mention of the name.

As children of the 90s who spent some formative years in England, we at Bugbear BBQ have more familiarity with the chumbawamba than most, and will emphatically state that cooking one is quite a challenge. But we love challenges almost as much as smoked meat, so here we go…

Seriously, if that image doesn't give you nightmares, you are made of sterner stuff than I.

The Cut

Right away we deviate from our usual instructions because the rubbery skin of the chumbawamba cannot be cut, pierced or bashed. In fact, attacking a chumbawamba does little more than knock it down.

But they get up again.

You are never gonna keep them down.

This is why entire armies have been laid low by the dreaded chumbawamba, their sword arms eventually giving out and finally succumbing to the beast out of sheer exhaustion. Which is why, like fairies, we eat chumbawamba not for their taste, but as an act of war.

The Rub

Fortunately for us, the chambawamba provides its own brine in that it’s skin is usually covered in the sloshed beer it’s always carrying around, usually a Newcastle Brown or Stella Artois. This creates a great flavor base, and we have found that, while it cannot be defeated by usual means, the chumbawamba can be herded with the liberal use of black pepper. Because, like most British dishes, it is allergic to flavor.

So grab a couple of handfuls of the stuff and see if you can steer your chumbawamba towards…

The Cook

…your firepit. And we really want to emphasize the “pit” part here, because it needs to be wide and deep enough for your chumbawamba to not be able to climb out of. Fortunately, they’re usually pretty inebriated already, so just aim them for the pit with your pepper and let gravity do the work for you.

And once they fall in, just cover the pit with the rest of your burning coals and cook until you stop hearing their annoying, yet somehow infectious, songs. Which just goes to show, yes you can indeed keep them down.

I little narrow, but well on the way.

Granted, this type of cook does require quite a bit of foresight in the digging and then preparing the coals long before you lure you chumbawamba to its untimely end. But we believe it’s worth the effort, not just for the delicious meat, but for the silence you’ll buy yourself.

Sauce, Sides & Pairings

Because the skin will be so charred from the direct contact with the coals, you can forget about the bark and instead split them open to feast upon the delicious flesh within. Favorite sauces include any of our most famous, but because this is basically a British dish, we suggest a splash of malt vinegar.

Sides should include any of the other forgotten 90s British bands, including hunks of Jamiroquai, The Verve, Savage Garden, and a helping of Robbie Williams if you’ve got one lying around.

British beers also pair well, but we always drink a Budweiser with this cook out of American spite. And then a whiskey to help us forget this regrettable period of our lives.

Note: Special thanks to /r/fantasy member Mawrten to inspiring this recipe.


Author Image.jpg

MD Presley is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout.  He has written two books on fantasy worldbuilding, and teaches worldbuilding techniques, tricks, and tips at Forging Fantasy Realms once a week on YouTube. 

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