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It’s barbecue top tip time with Jordan Ryan, head chef at The Weeping Willow in Barrow





Hello and welcome back. . . Summer is well and truly with us now, lighter evenings, a small amount of sunshine and if you’re like me and suffer with hay fever, a huge amount of sneezing. Nevertheless, it is my favourite of the four seasons for eating - not necessarily my favourite season for produce or writing menus but most definitely for eating as it’s barbecue season. Last time out, we did a nice caramel tart for an after barbecue treat, this time round I’m going to give you a super simple dish - Smoked Barbecue Pork Chop, Rosti Chips and Red Cabbage Slaw.

Now this is also a dish currently on at the Willow. It’s super tasty and super simple and relatively light considering it is pork, which can sometimes be misconceived as a heavy meat and not very lean as there’s a lot of fatty cuts. A pork chop does have that layer of fat on the side, but it’s easy enough to cut off if you don’t want to eat it. With this dish the fat is rendered down nicely, which then gives it the push to crackle, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a bit of crackling?

The rosti chips add a different element to this rather than using your standard chips or fries. They are buttery, crispy and super fluffy - similar to a hashbrown in all honesty, and with the recipe I’ve done, if you wanted to make hashbrowns then you’d simply just grate white onion into the mix and adjust the seasoning.

Thetford Reared Black, Smoked and Barbecue Pork, Rosti Chips and Red Cabbage Slaw
Thetford Reared Black, Smoked and Barbecue Pork, Rosti Chips and Red Cabbage Slaw

Barbecue sauce for me is one of the most underrated condiments. If you do it properly you’ll get a beautiful smokey, spicy sauce that works with so many different dishes, but get it wrong and you can end up with a vinegary potent sauce, which is not ideal. The sauce works with this dish as the acidity cuts through that little bit of fat we have.

The slaw just adds that little bit of colour and texture and again it complements the dish as a whole very nicely. The trick with the slaw is not to put too much mayo in.

Good crackling is not always easy to get, sometimes it’s perfect with little to no effort, sometimes it’s not, so I’m going to give you a few pointers to make sure you get a decent crackling. In general, you want to ensure the pork is dry, so take a tee towel, blue roll, whatever you want really, and pat dry the pork, especially over the crackling area. Once it is dry, if it isn’t already, I’d recommend scoring the fat by making small cuts into the skin no deeper than 1cm but they can be as long as you like. This will allow heat to get in and the moisture to get out. Once you’ve scored the fat, give it a generous helping of table salt. Now I know what the doctors say about too much salt in diets etc, but that being said, salt is delicious and you’ll lose a good amount of it while cooking, so for this don’t worry about what they say. Then you want to make sure whatever you’re cooking it on is on a high heat. If you’re using a barbecue, get it very hot and put the fat straight down onto it, holding it there for 30 seconds to a minute and let it crackle and pop. Do be careful not to burn yourself doing this as it may spit at you. If you’re roasting a joint, cook it at 190C until it is cooked to your desired temperature, then take the crackling straight off while hot and get it back in the oven at 210C for 5-10 minutes and let it do its thing. You won’t be disappointed.

Barbecue grill in the open air
Barbecue grill in the open air

Please give this a try at home for the summer and as always, if you have any questions or if you want to know any more, please do get in touch and send photos.

THETFORD REARED BLACK, SMOKED AND BARBECUE PORK, ROSTI CHIPS AND RED CABBAGE SLAW

Ingredients:

1 pork chop 8-10oz per person

Method:

Dry and score the meat. Cook for roughly 4-5 minutes on each side, turning every 2 minutes to get charred marks on the meat. Once cooked, put a tablespoon of the barbecue sauce on the top of the meat and let it rest with it on.

For the slaw:

1 red cabbage

1 red onion

3 carrots

1 bunch chives

10g Maldon Sea salt

100g mayo

Method:

lSlice the cabbage and onion as finely as you can - if you have a mandolin, I’d use that - then peel the carrot over the top, then add the salt and mayo and mix well, as I said, less mayo the better. Finely slice the chives and mix them in just before you serve.

Rosti:

2kg peeled potatoes

1 block of butter

1 bunch of thyme

200g garlic

50g salt

Method:

Melt the butter with the garlic and thyme until it has clarified, then set it to the side to infuse.

Peel and grate the potatoes into a colander lined with a tea towel and strain the excess water out of them.

Add the potato to a large mixing bowl, add the butter without the thyme and garlic, and add the salt, mixing well. Put in a gastro tray lined with baking paper, then cover with a couple layers of tin foil. Cook in the oven for an hour at 160C.

Once out, press with another tray and something heavy in the fridge for 3-4 hours, overnight is best but 3-4 hours will be okay.

To serve you can either air fry them until they are crispy, deep fry or bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Barbecue sauce:

740g brown sugar

80ml Worcestershire Sauce

40ml cider vinegar

20g English mustard

30g chili flakes

50g honey

20g garlic paste

800g ketchup

Method:

Cook out the sugar and then add all ingredients, except the ketchup, and cook for about 5-10 minutes, making sure you’ve cooked off the vinegar - it’ll go into a thick liquid. When you’ve got this, add your ketchup and cook for another 5 minutes, then taste, if it needs any seasoning a little lemon juice and salt will sort it.

As always, thank you for reading this. I recently was on a local podcast show called ‘Fork Yeah’, hosted by Ben Hutton, chef and owner of Queens Bar & Grill in Bury St Edmunds, speaking all things food related, so feel free to go give it a listen and to some of his other guests to get a different insight into the industry.

Thanks again and I’ll see you next month.

Jordan Ryan is head chef at The Weeping Willow, 39 Bury Road, Barrow Hill, Barrow, Bury Saint Edmunds IP29 5AB

Call 01284 771881

See www.theweepingwillow.co.uk