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Neil Rankin

French-trained Scotsman who’s fused Korean, Malaysian and American BBQ techniques at John Salt and now-opened Smokehouse (guess what they do, really well) in Islington. 

Meatopia dish: I am afraid I cannot disclose it yet!

Favourite cheap cut of meat? Ox cheek.

What would you do with it for your last meal? Smoke it then fry it up with some nice gravy and creamy, buttery mash with a bottle of good red wine.

What’s the best way to sex up a steak? Lots of salt and eat it with your hands.

Turn a steak once or lots on the barbecue? Lots and lots.

Secret to a great barbie that anyone could do? Don’t bombard your meat with heat. And don’t leave it till the end to rest it.

What’s your happiest meat memory? My first taste of great beef. I think it was Dexter, which I cooked at home with my wife – changed everything for me.

Can you explain vegetarianism? Yes I can, it’s a movement of people who prefer side dishes.

A meat dish you love that’s a bit of a hard sell? Pig’s head. In fact any head of any animal is pretty good.

Your favourite drink with meat? A good burgundy and some Dexter beef and I’m anybody’s.

You don’t make friends with salad, but what’s your fave meat side? Good tomatoes with a touch of salt or chips. You can’t go wrong with chips and béarnaise.

Tom Adams

Chef and co-founder of Soho restaurant Pitt Cue Co, which has a charcoal grill and two smokers as the kitchen’s hub.

Meatopia dish: Smoked pig’s head and trotter sausage.

Favourite cheap cut of meat? I wouldn’t say ‘cheap’, but I think a pig’s head is a pretty special thing. When we get a pig in from the farm the head is always one of the things we get most excited about.

What would you do with it for your last meal?

  We have smoked pig’s jowl on the menu a lot, so I’d go with that. Or a whole smoked head with loads of pickles and salad.What’s the best way to sex up a steak? A great piece of beef shouldn’t need to be sexed up. Add salt and grill. Serve rare.

Turn a steak once or lots on the barbecue? Lots of times. 

Secret to a great barbie that anyone could do? Use amazing meat. Good quality produce is the deal breaker.

What’s your happiest meat memory? Butchering my own pigs that I reared for the restaurant. And then eating them.

Can you explain vegetarianism? It can’t be explained. I have no issue at all with vegetarianism, and a great deal of modern meat production would push me towards it. Fortunately there are still lots of people out there doing it right.

What’s a meat dish you love that’s a bit of a hard sell for others? I love grilled heart, others not so much!

Your favourite drink with meat? A Pitt Cue ‘Pickleback’ (a shot of bourbon, followed by a shot of pickle juice). Then wine, lots of it. And a straight bourbon to finish. 

You don’t make friends with salad, but what’s your fave meat side? A great salad with homemade dressing is underrated. Provides a welcome contrast to the main event. 

Meatopia, September 7, 12pm-9pm. 
Tickets from £45 (includes two dishes and two drinks) to £89.25 (six dishes, six drinks, express queuing and goodie bag). Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, E1W 2SF  
meatopia.co.uk  
Tube | Tower Hill;  Shadwell 

Photos: From Smoke (Rizolli, £25) by Jody Horton


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