Neil Rankin – Low and Slow

Edinburgh-born Neil Rankin studied physics at Salford University and worked as a Sound Engineer and opened a chain of sandwich bars, before retraining at a Cordon Bleu culinary school at the age of 29. He has had a hand in numerous culinary ventures across London with critical acclaim – he opened Barbecoa with Adam Perry Lang and Jamie Oliver, was the head chef of Pitt Cue Co., launched John Salt as a fusion BBQ restaurant, opened Smokehouse in Islington in 2013 – the only BBQ restaurant in the UK to have 2 AA rosettes and be in the Good Food Guide, opened Bad Egg Diner in Moorgate in 2014, and opened a second Smokehouse in Chiswick April 2015. He is now part of London’s major new Street Food venture London Union (@LondonUnion), and has written guest columns for Independent on Sunday.
Follow Neil on Twitter and Instagram @frontlinechef

Impress your guests with perfectly cooked meat almost every time, from cooking the perfect steak, a cracking roast, or the best barbecue. Neil’s trick for all types of meat: turn the temperature down, cook meat slowly and get the best results without stress – low and slow. Some of the recipes may take time, but they are all designed to give you the best results in a home kitchen.
Visit our YouTube channel to watch Neil’s Top BBQ Tips and list of Essential Equipment.

‘The first time I ate Neil’s food, I was blown away’
Tom Kerridge

Neil has shared three recipes from Low and Slow…

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Nduja and crushed roast potato hash

serves 4

Nduja is a spicy Italian sausage similar in flavour to chorizo but with a little more kick. Its higher fat content makes it spreadable and meltable. Hashes can be made with boiled and mashed potatoes, but here I’ve used crushed leftover roast potatoes. They give a nice crispy texture, plus the inside soaks up the flavour from the ’nduja.

10 leftover cold roast potatoes (see page 128)
Oil for deep-frying, plus a little extra
1 onion, thinly sliced
50g unsalted butter, plus a little extra
100g ’nduja (Italian sausage)
Juice of 1 lemon
4 duck eggs
2 tablespoons chopped
Maldon salt

Break up the potatoes into smaller pieces – not too small and not too even.You want random chunks. Heat some oil in a deep-fat fryer or deep pan to 180°C. Deep-fry the potatoes until they are crispy. Drain. Cook the onion in a hot frying pan with a little oil until soft and a good dark colour.Add the potatoes and then the butter.Toss the potatoes in the butter as it melts and foams.Add the ’nduja and stir it in until it melts and coats the potatoes. Season with salt to taste and add a squeeze of lemon.Transfer to individual serving bowls or plates. Using the same pan, quickly fry the eggs in a little extra oil or butter, keeping the yolks nice and runny. Place an egg on top of each serving of hash and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

Extracted from Low and Slow by
Neil Rankin (Ebury Press, £20)
Photography by Paul Winch-Furness

Thrice-cooked pork loin

1.5 kg boned and rolled loin, serves 4-6

Start this recipe the day before you want to eat it. If this were for me, I’d knock a few minutes off these timings, but I don’t want to get into trouble, so this recipe cooks the pork loin to medium.The big difference here is that loin can’t be cooked as far as belly, so you have to reduce the end roasting time. But you add an extra lowoven drying time so the crackling cooks faster.Timings are for a 1.5kg (8–10cm) boned and rolled loin joint, which will

step 1: poach
Put the joint in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the water for 15 minutes.The pork should reach an internal temperature of around 55°C.
step 2: chill and dry
Place the pan in the sink under running cold water.When the pork has cooled down so it can be handled, lift it out and dry with a tea towel. Salt the skin, then leave in the fridge overnight, uncovered, to dry slightly and chill.
step 3: dry-bake
Set your oven to 140°C. Cook the loin from fridge-cold for 40 minutes. On a probe thermometer it should read no more than 60°C internally.
step 4: chill
Remove the pork from the oven. Cool slightly, then leave it in the freezer for 2–3 hours, or overnight in the fridge, to chill completely.
step 5: roast
Set your oven to 220°C. Roast the pork from fridge-cold for 30 minutes, placing the meat on a rack with a tray to catch any fat underneath.The skin should puff up like a balloon. If it goes too dark, pull the pork out and turn down the temperature, then put it back in.The final internal temperature should be no higher than 63°C – if it’s lower, don’t worry as the core temp has already been reached during the previous cooking stages.

Extracted from Low and Slow by
Neil Rankin (Ebury Press, £20)
Photography by Paul Winch-Furness

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Whole chicken

1.6-2kg bird, serves 2-4

smoker cooking temperature: 120–130°C

cooking time: 1–1½ hours

end internal breast temperature: 68–70°C (leg temp will naturally be higher)

Give your chicken your favourite rub and set your smoker to 120°C. As the smoker temperature will not be as accurate as the oven, you need to be more flexible with the cooking time than with a roast chicken. Use a probe thermometer to check that the breasts hit 68°C; with touch, this is the point where the breasts just begin to firm up. Don’t cook the chicken longer than this to be safe because it will self-cook a little further once it’s out of the smoker, and you can always give it more time after it’s jointed. That way you avoid cooking the whole thing dry. You can either eat the chicken straight away, or leave it to cool at room temperature for an hour, then roast in the oven at 240°C for 15 minutes to get a crispier skin.

Extracted from Low and Slow by
Neil Rankin (Ebury Press, £20)
Photography by Paul Winch-Furness