"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."
“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
About the Author
MEATHEAD GOLDWYN is the founder, barbecue whisperer, and hedonism evangelist behind AmazingRibs.com, the world's most popular outdoor cooking website. His articles have appeared in numerous publications and he was previously syndicated wine critic for the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. He has taught at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago and he has judged food, wine, beer, and spirits all around the world. He lives with his wife in Chicago.