Best Cookbooks of 2016 by
"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, may I present 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 Food Lab, the 2015 International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook of the Year.
You can order now with the buttons below.
With 400 pages and more than 400 of my photographs plus color 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. And along the way we shatter the myths that stand in the way of perfection. But wait! There's more! When you buy the book you get a free 90 day membership in our Pitmaster Club!
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 theory of barbecue and grilling. The price can easily be justified if it keeps you from messing up one dinner.
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.
The Science of Heat
The Science of Smoke
Software (Meat science, vegetables, salt, herbs, etc.)
Brines, Rubs, Sauces
Read the foreword by Kenji Lopez-Alt
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 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
"Only one outdoor cooking book this summer? Make it 'Meathead.'" Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune
"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
"Quite simply the best book about outdoor cooking." Barney Desmazery, BBC Good Food
"If you cherish the ancient ritual of fire and meat, this book is essential to your very existence." Larry Noak, Leite's Culinaria Recipe Tester
"Your cookbook continues to serve us spectacularly well and for that reason we of course included it in our best cookbooks of the year. thank you again for such wonderful content that makes our lives—and those of our readers—easier and better on an everyday basis." Renee Schettler Rossi, Editor-In-Chief, Leite's Culinaria
"Meathead meticulously takes apart everything from grill marks to beer can chicken, before building it all back together with foolproof advice, myth-busting tips and actual knowledge. As brainy as Food Network's Alton Brown, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of "Serious Eats" and author of "The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science," and the team behind Cook's Illustrated, Meathead is obsessed with testing everything down to a molecular level — and imparting that knowledge to fellow meatheads." Joseph Hernandez, Chicago Tribune
"Goldwyn knows his stuff and is willing to share. He spends so much time on the whys and how-tos (it's not at all boring, trust me) that the recipes don't begin until halfway into the book. Only one outdoor cooking book this summer? Make it 'Meathead.'" Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune
"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
"Using a rigorous, test-based approach to explain why rubs shouldn't have salt in them, why searing meat doesn't 'seal in' juices, and why pink chicken can be safe to eat (sometimes)." Epicurious
"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
"WAY more than a cookbook and has the wonderful trait of making time fly by when read." Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis, Director of Culinary Excellence, Yale
"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
"The premier cookbook of the year." Greg & Marlene Burch, KSCO-AM Radio, Santa Cruz, CA
"A unified theory of cooking with fire." Erica Marcus, Newsday
"This book has made me a better griller!" David Manilow in a really good 6 minute TV interview on "Chat Please" on WTTW-PBS in Chicago
"I've had Meathead for two months and not a day has passed that I have not referred to it. It's loaded with all the information you need to make a decision about which type of grill or smoker will suit your own unique needs, guides us through grill and smoker set up, fuel types (wood, gas, charcoal, etc.), and methods of cooking, and gives us the how tos and the what fors that are so often glossed over or simply overlooked in other books. There's so much information, I discover something new at every glance, including the scientific side of things imparted by the great Prof. Greg Blonder, who busts generations-old barbecue myths and provides actual facts as opposed to wives tales. Did I mention that Meathead contains recipes? These are good, solid recipes for nearly ANYTHING that benefits from the marriage of fire and smoke. I love his Bacon and Onion Jam. I use his Meathead's Memphis Dust and his Last Meal Ribs all the time. If you cherish the ancient ritual of fire and meat, then this book is essential to your very existence." Larry Noak, Leites Culinaria
"What makes Meathead particularly noteworthy is how well he uses John Belushi-like humor to make all the science go down easy." Joe Ray, Wired Magazine
"Even the advanced ideas can be executed at home without too much hassle. Bonus points: There are tips for grilling at camp and beach sites... all the information you need for better barbecue and grilling is there." Ali Slagle, Food52.com
"Foundational in understanding how to make barbecue... Don't be scared of the science. Goldwyn writes plainly and with humor... Nor is the book dense with text. Lots of photos and illustrations break up the words, which themselves are broken into digestible tidbits. 'Meathead' with its exacting experimentation, gives novices and pros alike a lot of information to up their game." Jim Shahin, Washington Post
"What if I told you some pink poultry is safe to eat? Amazingly, it's true. When I spoke to Prof. Greg Blonder, a physicist and co-author of 'Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling', he explained why some pinkness will never fade." Joe Sevier, Epicurious.com
"The first 200 or so pages of the book could be viewed as a 'textbook,' for lack of a better word, but it explains many elementary theories and concepts that can help both beginning and more experienced barbecuers." Patricia Talorico, Delaware News Journal
"I've always been skeptical about the miraculous claims of the beer can. The chicken that came off the can never tasted that much better or worse to me than the average barbecued bird. And I thought I was alone in my doubt, until I came across the award-winning, delightfully named Meathead Goldwyn, editor of amazingribs.com and author of the new grilling book, Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling. Along with his co-author, Greg Blonder, Ph.D., Goldwyn debunks a slew of time-honored but wrong-headed ideas about outdoor cooking—including the infamous beer can chicken." Adina Steiman, Epicurious.com
"Meathead Goldwyn covers literally everything you might want to know — and actually should know — about that science of grilling and barbecue. It is science and he invokes the skills of Ph.D.s to unravel mysteries... Every page here resonates with ideas to guide to great food results...This is a book to buy now, read, get ready, and use forever." Suzen O'Rourke, Cooking by the Book
"Goldwyn dispenses with the hogwash in a highly readable style, including recipe headnotes that are funny and personal. The end result is a book that gives you great recipes, but also shows exactly why the recipe works the way it does." Grant Butler, The Oregonian
"Everything you know about grilling is wrong, but thankfully, messiah of meat Meathead Goldwyn is here to help. Since founding AmazingRibs.com in 2005, the self-avowed barbecue whisperer has inspired a legion of fans to up their flame game by debunking grilling and barbecue's old husbands' tales (Meathead's phrase). Armed with tried-and-true know-how — all backed by years of science-focused tests — the grand pooh-bah of grilling just released his namesake book in time for summer. In "Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling" the Chicago author enlisted several scientists and physicists (Greg Blonder, Ph.D., of Boston University is also credited) to test (and retest) dozens of methods, techniques and common conventions. Showing his work with a blend of charts, graphs and photography, Meathead meticulously takes apart everything from grill marks to beer can chicken, before building it all back together with foolproof advice." Joseph Hernandez, Chicago Tribune
"If you enjoy succulent meals from your grill or smoker and would like to know what's the science behind the cooking 'Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling' is a book you want to have... The recipes – even riffs on the classics – are spot-on. Goldwyn also includes a bevy of product reviews and recommendations." Mike Stines, PhB, of the Burn Blog on Fiery Foods
"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." Publisher's Weekly
"Meathead Goldwyn さんは、世界で最も有名なバーベキューサイト「Amazing Ribs」の編集者で、科学的な観点から調理法などを紹介する『Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling』を上梓した、いわばバーベキューマスター。その彼が、「バーベキューでやってしまいがちな10の勘違い」を科学的に説明しています." Saoriinaba, Tabi-labo.com