‘If you’ve ever cooked a steak medium-well instead of medium-rare, a chicken that ends up dry and tasteless, a stew that’s stringy or a rack of ribs that’s fallen off the bone… then this is the book that will make your life that little bit better…’ Thus Neil Rankin, a major player in London’s new wave of Barbecue restaurants, in the Intro to Low and Slow, a straightforward, un-fussy, some might say, blokeish, guide to cooking steaks, roasts, braises and barbecue. If you’ve been seduced by the Texan fire pit ethos, then this is the book for you. A whole section is devoted to wood, charcoal, types of barbecue, rubs, sauces and sides. It’s serious meat (pork or lamb shoulder, 8-hour wrapped brisket, ox cheek) by someone who knows his trade. But Rankin also includes green stuff: char-grilled hispi cabbage, Korean slaw, coal-baked aubergine salad. It’s not a book for wimps or those not prepared to put in the time – but if you’re a serious meat-eater, Low and Slow will do it for you.
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 low oven drying time so the crackling cooks faster. Timings are for a 1.5kg (8–10cm) boned and rolled loin joint, which will serve 4–6 people.
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
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, £25) Photography by Paul Winch-Furness, www.eburypublishing.co.uk
Best of the rest of the barbecue books
Deep South by Brad McDonald, Quadrille £25
Southern food by Mississippi-born McDonald who launched the much acclaimed restaurants, Lockhart and Shotgun (The Times 2015 best new restaurant in the UK)
Grill Smoke BBQ by Ben Tish, Quadrille £25
Wood fire, grills and smoke the Italian and Spanish way – fish, veg even pudding by the chef-director of Salt Yard group (Ember Yard, Salt Yard, Dehesa and Opera tavern)
Fire and Smoke by Rich Harris, Kyle Books £16.99
120 barbecue recipes ranging from prawns and scallops with chilli and lime to hay-smoked lamb, pulled pork to roast cherries with vanilla