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Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling

More amazing recipes, techniques, science, mythbusting

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Our Book Is Now In The Top 100 Books Of 8 Million On Amazon And In The Top 5 Among Cookbooks!

"Print is dead." Dr. Egon Spengler, Ghostbusters, 1984

I am a net head. That's how you and I met, right here on the interwebs. In fact, I first started publishing online in the 1980s, long before anyone ever typed www on purpose. Since then we built this website into the largest and most popular BBQ and grilling site in the world. But print is not dead yet, Dr. Spengler!

Humans are linear learners and learning is so much easier from a book with a beginning, middle, and an end than by jumping around from link to link. If you doubt it, here's a stack of dead tree slices that proves it: "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling" co-authored by Yours Truly, Meathead Goldwyn, and Prof. Greg Blonder, PhD, with a Foreword by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, author of the 2015 IACP Cookbook of the Year.

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With more than 400 pages and more than 400 of my photographs plus illustrations, there is new material and new recipes not on this website, and the whole thing is organized so that you can sit down in an easy chair and flow from start to finish.

The book emphasizes concepts, science, technique, tips, tools, and mythbusting, devoting almost half the pages to learning. The second half is 118 recipes demonstrating the concepts. But wait! There's more! When you buy the book you get a free 90 day membership in our Pitmaster Club!

Prof. Blonder and I are very proud of this book and I know it will make you, or someone who gets it as a gift, a better cook, indoors or out.

Chapters

The Science of Heat
The Science of Smoke
Food Science
Hardware
Software

118 Recipes

Brines, Rubs, Sauces
Pork
Beef
Ground Meats
Lamb
Poultry
Seafood
Sides

To become a pitmaster or grillmaster, or even if your goal is to simply improve your cooking, nothing is more crucial than understanding the science behind the interaction of food, fire, heat, and smoke. This book is the definitive guide to the concepts, methods, and equipment of barbecue and grilling. The price can easily be justified if I keep you from messing up one dinner.

And along the way we shatter the myths that stand in the way of perfection. Busted myths include:

MYTH. Bring meat to room temperature before cooking.
BUSTED.
Don't do it. It takes much longer than you think and cold meat attracts smoke better.

MYTH. You should soak wood before using it.
BUSTED. Don't do it. Soaking makes wood smolder and that produces smoke that doesn't taste as good as dry fast burning wood. And all that white stuff is really steam.

MYTH. Bone in steaks taste better.
BUSTED. The calcium walls of bone have no taste and they just slow cooking. The flavor in the marrow comes out in stewed meats, but not in grilled meats.

MYTH. The smoke ring is a sign of great barbecue.
BUSTED.
In fact, it has no taste and you can make a smoke ring without smoke.

MYTH. You should sear first, then cook.
BUSTED. Actually, that overcooks the interior. If you cook at a low temp first and sear at the end, you get more even interiors.

Read the foreword by Kenji

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Managing Culinary Director of my favorite cooking website, SeriousEats.com. His book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science won a James Beard Award and was named Cookbook of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He was kind enough to write this foreword for our book:

"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).

"Luckily we humans tend to be good at specializing and distributing labor which means that because Meathead has gone ahead and done most of the work for us, we won't have to do it ourselves. 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 -- but doesn't have time to do the research themselves. And notice I said "understand," not just "read about," for Meathead's gift lies not just in factual accuracy, but 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 the barbecue nerd. The one who doesn't just want a single good rack of ribs coming off their grill, but who wants to understand what makes them good and how to repeat it time after time, regardless of their starting recipe. 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."

Comments from other reviewers

"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

"An amazing compendium of barbecue knowledge." Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, Austin

"A game-changer. Reminiscent of the scientific wisdom of Harold McGee and the masterful techniques of Jacques Pepin, Meathead is really bringing the heat and smoke on this one." Paul Virant, Executive Chef of Perennial Virant in Chicago, Vie in Western Springs, and Vistro in Hinsdale, Illinois, author of The Preservation Kitchen

"Just when you thought there was nothing more to say about grilling and barbecue, Meathead comes along and tells us that cold meat absorbs smoke better than warm, that BBQ does not have to rest after cooking, and that soaking wood chips is a really bad idea. The King is dead, long live the King!" Christopher Kimball, founder of Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, and America's Test Kitchen

"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

"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

"A go to book for my cookbook library." Rick Gresh, Executive Chef, Virgin Hotel Chicago

"I have more than 250 barbecue books and this sets the bar. By far the most comprehensive 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

"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 of your learning curve with this encyclopedia of barbecue knowledge." Chris Hart, author of Wicked Good Barbecue

"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. Many old myths are debunked as well. I predict it will be lovingly battered and greasy from years of serious use." Bruce Aidells, Author of The Great Meat Cookbook

"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

"I'm embarrassed to admit how many cooking myths I thought were true. Meathead and his team of scientists and food fanatics sever barbecue fact from fiction to make us better cooks, backed by science. 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

"A wonderful book filled with years and years of trial and error with many meats and techniques. A compilation/study of everything that affects your meats taste and texture." Charlie McKenna, Chef Owner of Lillie's Q, LQ Chicken Shack, and Dixie in Chicago

"The lessons in this book will give any novice a leg up, and still hold the interest of those who think they already know it all." Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor

"Full of well-researched science and addictively readable, easy-to-follow explanations, this is my kind of book the best one I've seen on barbecue." Grant Crilly, chef and co-founder of ChefSteps, Inc.

"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 and How to Pick a Peach

Read this nice review from Publisher's Weekly.

 

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About this website. AmazingRibs.com is all about the science of barbecue, grilling, and outdoor cooking, with great BBQ recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, and unbiased equipment reviews. Learn how to set up your grills and smokers properly, the thermodynamics of what happens when heat hits meat, and how to cook great food outdoors. There are also buying guides to hundreds of barbeque smokers, grills, accessories, and thermometers, as well as hundreds of excellent tested recipes including all the classics: Baby back ribs, pulled pork, Texas brisket, burgers, chicken, smoked turkey, lamb, steaks, chili, barbecue sauces, spice rubs, and side dishes, with the world's best all edited by Meathead Goldwyn.

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