Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling

Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling

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by Meathead Goldwyn
     
 

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For succulent results every time, nothing is more crucial than understanding the science behind the interaction of food, fire, heat, and smoke. This is the definitive guide to the concepts, methods, equipment, and accessories of barbecue and grilling. The founder and editor of the world's most popular BBQ and grilling website, AmazingRibs.com,

Overview

For succulent results every time, nothing is more crucial than understanding the science behind the interaction of food, fire, heat, and smoke. This is the definitive guide to the concepts, methods, equipment, and accessories of barbecue and grilling. The founder and editor of the world's most popular BBQ and grilling website, AmazingRibs.com, “Meathead” Goldwyn applies the latest research to backyard cooking and 118 thoroughly tested recipes.
 
He explains why dry brining is better than wet brining; how marinades really work; why rubs shouldn't have salt in them; how heat and temperature differ; the importance of digital thermometers; why searing doesn't seal in juices; how salt penetrates but spices don't; when charcoal beats gas and when gas beats charcoal; how to calibrate and tune a grill or smoker; how to keep fish from sticking; cooking with logs; the strengths and weaknesses of the new pellet cookers; tricks for rotisserie cooking; why cooking whole animals is a bad idea, which grill grates are best;and why beer-can chicken is a waste of good beer and nowhere close to the best way to cook a bird.
 
He shatters the myths that stand in the way of perfection. Busted misconceptions include:
 
Myth: Bring meat to room temperature before cooking. Busted! Cold meat attracts smoke better.
 
Myth: Soak wood before using it. Busted! Soaking produces smoke that doesn't taste as good as dry fast-burning wood.
 
Myth: Bone-in steaks taste better. Busted! The calcium walls of bone have no taste and they just slow cooking.
 
Myth: You should sear first, then cook. Busted! Actually, that overcooks the meat. Cooking at a low temperature first and searing at the end produces evenly cooked meat.
 
Lavishly designed with hundreds of illustrations and full-color photos by the author, this book contains all the sure-fire recipes for traditional American favorites and many more outside-the-box creations. You'll get recipes for all the great regional barbecue sauces; rubs for meats and vegetables; Last Meal Ribs, Simon & Garfunkel Chicken; Schmancy Smoked Salmon; The Ultimate Turkey; Texas Brisket; Perfect Pulled Pork; Sweet & Sour Pork with Mumbo Sauce; Whole Hog; Steakhouse Steaks; Diner Burgers; Prime Rib; Brazilian Short Ribs; Rack Of Lamb Lollipops; Huli-Huli Chicken; Smoked Trout Florida Mullet –Style; Baja Fish Tacos; Lobster, and many more.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/15/2016
Readers will be delighted to learn that a man who willingly calls himself Meathead can still be trusted with a collection that has science in the subtitle. Goldwyn, whose day job is running the website amazingribs.com, explores the complexity of heat, meat, and smoke in the first half of his book, with a sense of humor sharper than his nickname suggests and a stack of scientific research provided by physicist Greg Blonder. Then he offers more than 100 recipes to take to the grill. Much of the discussion involves myth busting widely practiced techniques such as letting meat rest after cooking and searing steaks to seal in their juices. There is also instruction on how to achieve the ultimate goal of “golden brown deliciousness,” which takes into account both caramelization and the process of how meat browns, known as the Maillard reaction. The recipe section begins with numerous sauces and rubs. One might think that Goldwyn combined parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme just so that he could call it Simon & Garfunkel Rub, except that he makes wide use of it in dishes as varied as stuffed pork loin roast, buffalo chicken wings, and grilled duck breasts. Instruction and technique permeate much of the recipe section. The specifics of simmering brats in beer are charted in the excellent guidebook, and there is an 18-page master class on dealing with a whole hog. Agent: Sally Ekus, Lisa Ekus Group. (May)
From the Publisher

"Readers will be delighted to learn that a man who willingly calls himself Meathead can still be trusted with a collection that has science in the subtitle. Goldwyn, whose day job is running the website amazingribs.com, explores the complexity of heat, meat, and smoke in the first half of his book, with a sense of humor sharper than his nickname suggests and a stack of scientific research provided by physicist Greg Blonder. Then he offers more than 100 recipes to take to the grill...[an] excellent guidebook."
--Publishers Weeklky

“This is the book barbecue nerds have been waiting for. Myth and lore abounds in the world of cooking, and nowhere more so than in the primal arena that exists when humans put open fire and meat together in the great outdoors (or suburban backyard, as the case may be). That’s good news for anyone who, like me, longs to understand the science of grilling and barbecue; the thermodynamics of heat transfer under that kettle dome, the chemistry of the smoke ring, and what makes a char-grilled steak so g*&@%# delicious.
            Meathead's gift lies not just in factual accuracy, but also in being able to distill complex subjects to their most essential, applicable core in a manner that is a genuine pleasure to read. You'll laugh out loud at his metaphors. A good technical writer will leave you feeling like you know more than when you started. A great one can leave you feeling like more than a passive bystander. It'll make you feel like an active participant, like you've been on a voyage of discovery for yourself. Flipping over each page to discover what lies on the next will remind you of the very first time you peeked under the cover of your grill and breathed in the alchemy that occurs between smoke and meat. You'll see conventions challenged, techniques elucidated, and myths busted, and you'll have a wildly fun time in the process.
With hundreds of pages on techniques, theory, equipment, and background science before you even get to the recipes, this is a book that is squarely aimed at cooks who don’t just want a single good rack of ribs coming off their grill, but who want to understand what makes them good and how to repeat it time after time. Soak in enough of the background technique and you won't even need a recipe. You have all the tools you need to develop your own. I love to grill but I'm not barbecue guru. After reading Meathead, I'm gonna be pretty darned good at faking it though.”
— J. Kenji López-Alt, Author of The Food Lab
 
 “An amazing compendium of barbecue knowledge.”
— Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, Austin, and Author of Franklin Barbecue
 
 “Barbecue nerds will delight in Meathead’s detail-oriented research. Busting myths and blinding us with science, Meathead is a must for the collection of any serious barbecue cook.
— Mike Mills and Amy Mills, 17th Street Barbecue and authors of Peace, Love, & Barbecue
 
“Barbecuing is a subject that arouses strong opinions, and you won’t find many that are stronger than Meathead Goldwyn’s. The difference is that he has the evidence to back them up. Anyone from a backyard burger king to a competition smoker is likely to learn something from this book.”
— Russ Parsons, Author of How to Read a French Fry
 
An indispensable barbecue book. It is at once comprehensive and engaging and will become a cornerstone reference book in my barbecue collection.”
— Jim Shahin, Washington Post barbecue columnist
 
“As a former scientist, I am thrilled to see a cookbook that is more than just a collection of recipes. Meathead has clearly and simply explained the science of live-fire cooking from understanding the role of fire and smoke to how marinades and brines work to flavor and enhance meat and lots more. Many old myths are debunked as well, using science, not heresy. I predict this book will be lovingly battered and greasy from years of serious use.
— Bruce Aidells, Author of The Great Meat Cookbook
 
“I'm embarrassed to admit how many cooking myths I thought were true. Meathead and his team of scientists and food fanatics, backed by science, sever barbecue fact from fiction to make us better cooks. Learn what’s happening at every stage of cooking, from marinating to the last flame lick on the grill.”
— Jaden Hair, Publisher of SteamyKitchen.com and author of The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook and Steamy Kitchen's Healthy Asian Favorites
 
“Recipes can get you cooking; proper techniques can get you cooking well. But only understanding the underlying science can make you a smarter cook. And that’s what makes this book required reading.”
— Barry Sorkin, Owner and Pitmaster, Smoque BBQ, Chicago
 
A wonderful book filled with years and years of trial and error with many meats and techniques. A compilation and study of everything that affects your meat’s taste and texture.”
— Charlie McKenna, Chef Owner of Lillie’s Q, LQ Chicken Shack, and Dixie in Chicago
 
A game-changer reminiscent of the scientific wisdom of Harold McGee and the masterful techniques of Jacques Pépin.”
— Paul Virant, Executive Chef of Perennial Virant in Chicago and author of The Preservation Kitchen
 
The ultimate compilation of the science of barbecue. One would be hard pressed to have a single question or curiosity that is not answered within the pages of this book.”
— Linda Orrison, President, National Barbecue Association, 2015–2016
 
"This is a go-to book in my cookbook library." — Rick Gresh, Executive Chef,Virgin Hotel Chicago
 
By far the most comprehensive barbecue book I have seen.” — Dave Raymond, Creator of Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce
 
The bible against which all other barbecue cookbooks will be judged. His truths will set you free.” — Michael Sanson, Editor, Restaurant Hospitality Magazine
 
“When asked 'why,' never have to say 'just because' again. Meathead demystifies the science of great barbecue.  When the smoke clears, you’ll taste the difference.”
— Chris Lilly, Pitmaster, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, Decatur, Alabama
 
Meathead chops years off your learning curve with this encyclopedia of barbecue knowledge.” — Chris Hart, author of Wicked Good Barbecue
Library Journal
05/15/2016
Goldwyn is the founder of AmazingRibs.com, a website dedicated to barbecue delicacies, techniques, and equipment. In this impressive debut, the author disproves widely believed cooking myths, critically examines countless tools, and explains cooking concepts in plain, often humorous language. He draws on the skills of many well-known experts—including J. Kenji López-Alt (The Food Lab), Harold McGee (On Food and Cooking), and Nathan Myhrvold (Modernist Cuisine)—to strengthen this volume, which contains more than 100 classic recipes, including East Carolina mop sauce, suckling pig, Texas beef brisket, and smoked oysters. VERDICT This highly recommended food-science focused guide to grilling and barbecue will satisfy amateurs and professionals alike.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780544018464
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/10/2016
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
1,393
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author


MEATHEAD (CRAIG) GOLDWYN is the president and founder of amazingribs.com, one of the most popular online barbecuing sites. He writes for Serious Eats. His articles have appeared in the Huffington Post, WIne Spectator, and more. His photos have run in Time and Playboy. He judges BBQ cookoffs from Kansas City to Memphis.

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Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MixMasterTee 11 months ago
Best BBQ book I have ever come across. It contains everything you need to know and explained in detail about barbecuing, smoking meats and grilling . I tried the reverse sear method on some thick cut steaks and the results were outstanding.