Soul Food Season: Sam Canning’s Top 5 Slow Cooking Cuts
1. Beef Short Ribs
“I just don’t think you can beat beef short ribs.”
What Sam loves about them: Fall off the bone, great fat content, easy, “super, super satisfying”.
Favourite flavours to pair with: Asian flavours with a bit of sweetness. Star anise, five spice, mirin.
Cooking recommendations: 5 - 8 hours on low (140C for 5 hours or turn down to 120C for 8 hours), in a baking tray on a bed of onions with some stock for moisture, covered in foil. They should go crispy inside the foil, but if not take the foil off for the last part of the cooking. Sam says the longer the better - “if I’m cooking them at home I always do eight hours, that’s where it’s at”.
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2. Pork Neck Scotch (Boneless Pork Shoulder)
This is Sam’s go-to cut of pork for slow roasting and is always a winner in the Canning household.
What Sam loves about it: “It has a great balance of fat and lean meat, and the fact that you don’t have to deal with the skin makes it really easy for casseroles and pulled meat.”
Favourite flavours to pair with: Southern style pork and beans - chopped tomatoes and rustic veg, cannellini beans, herbs, red wine and a hint of chilli. “Some people do this with belly, but pork scotch is my favourite personally”.
Cooking recommendations: Cut into chunks or strips and casserole for 3 - 4 hours on about 150C. Don’t stir too much!
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3. Lamb Riblets
Sometimes overlooked in favour of classics like lamb shanks, this delicious cut is criminally underrated and a big favourite for Sam.
What Sam loves about them: “They can be crunchy and have a great crust on the outside, while staying so soft and juicy on the inside” Melt in your mouth, fall off the bone meat.
Favourite flavours to pair with: Kecap manis (a malaysian sweet soy sauce) with rosemary and lemon.
Cooking recommendations: Simmer in hot water for around 30 mins, then remove and let the ribs cool. Marinate in something sweet, and pop into the oven on 180C for 1 hour. Keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t burn (pop some foil over them if necessary) - “you want them to have that almost burnt look, but don’t let them go too far”.
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4. Chicken Marylands (Bone-in Leg)
Marylands are the perfect cut for slow roasting, with all the best parts of a roast chicken - plenty of skin, great fat content and the bones for extra flavour.
What Sam loves about them: “I love the balance of chicken fat and skin to lean meat in marylands. They have the perfect amount of fat, so you can cook them until the meat comes off the bone and the skin goes nice and crispy. The fat renders down during cooking and adds amazing flavour to your roast veggies.”
Favourite flavours to pair with: Lemon! - “At home we make Lemon Chicken with lemon skin, lemon juice, slices of lemon over the top, a few herbs and lots of salt.”
Cooking recommendations: It’s important to note that chicken probably has the lowest cooking time of all the meats in this list. “You can’t really do an all day cook with chicken - marylands have a limit of around 2 hours” Sam recommends scoring the skin, then marinating and salting the marylands before popping them in an oven tray and baking for around 1 hr 45 mins - 2 hrs on 160C.
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5. Confit Duck Leg
Confit duck legs are slow cooked in their own fat and are awesome paired with flavours like orange, cinnamon, bay leaf and thyme.
What Sam loves about them: “I just love the texture of slowly cooked duck leg. It’s so soft, and duck fat has an amazing flavour.”
Cooking recommendations: Seal confit duck legs in a sous-vide bag with seasonings and duck fat, then pop the bag into a slow cooker or pot of water on low for 2 - 3 hours. At the end of this time, remove from bag, rest 10 mins, then sear the skin on a hot pan until crispy.