The Book Is Coming On May 10, 2016
"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 three w's in a row. But print is not dead yet, Dr. Spengler!
As much as I love the internet, I'm here to tell you that jumping around from link to link is not a great way to learn something.
Humans are linear learners and learning is so much easier from a book with a beginning, middle, and an end. 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. It will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on May 10, 2016. You can preorder now with the buttons below.
With more than 400 pages and more than 400 of my photographs, 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. Like this website it emphasizes concepts, science, technique, tips, tools, and mythbusting, devoting almost half the pages to learning. The second half is 118 recipes demonstrating the concepts.
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 L—pez-Alt is the Managing Culinary Director of my favorite cooking website, SeriousEats.com, author of the best seller, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. He was kind enough to write this about 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."
Prof. Blonder and I are 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.