The latest arrivals include Smokestak and Smokey Tails in Shoreditch (the latter co-founded by DJ Seth Troxler), and Little Smoke, near Liverpool Street. And now the steaks, sorry, stakes, have been raised by Flat Iron in Shoreditch, which boasts the ne plus ultra of barbecue gizmology: a colossal, two- metre-wide, custom-built spit-roaster capable of cooking an entire cow’s leg.
Why this primeval obsession with meat and fire? “Barbecuing is the original way we cooked anything,” Rankin says. “It’s the longest-surviving cooking technique, and more fun. Do you want to sit in front of a sous vide with a timer, or sit next to a big, open flame, grilling meat?” Grrrr!
After a spell at Pitt Cue, Rankin co-founded Smokehouse. A year later he opened the brunch venue Bad Egg, near Moorgate. Last November, he took the smokehouse to the next level with Temper, his first solo venture, in Soho’s Broadwick Street. Temper has set itself apart, in that it doesn’t serve individual cuts of meat. “We buy in whole animals from farms, butcher them on site and use everything. Buying by cut doesn’t seem sustainable.”
Rankin predicts that our barbecue culture will evolve away from America, and head to Asia, with Thai barbecue causing a stir after the opening of Ben Chapman’s Soho restaurant Kiln, inspired by the country’s roadside clay pots, in which meat is blasted with heat and simply served.
Looks like smokehouse culture won’t be burning out any time soon.
Eat yourself smarter
Eat seaweed, expand your mind and lose weight. It seems too good to be true. We’ve heard the rumours that the aquatic plant, which can be green, red or brown, is the ultimate superfood: the “new kale”. It’s low in carbs and calories; high in vitamins; and is an excellent source of folic acid, which can improve memory.