Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


"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

"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. You'll see conventions challenged, techniques elucidated, and myths busted, and you'll have a wildly fun time in the process. 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, Managing Culinary Director, Serious Eats, author of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science

"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

"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

"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

"Meathead has clearly explained the science of live-fire cooking from fire and smoke to marinades and brines and lots more. This book will not sit pristinely on the shelf but will remain a cherished reference and I predict it will be lovingly battered and greasy from years of serious use." Bruce Aidells, Author 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." Jaden Hair, Publisher of 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.

"Meathead dives in with one of the deepest, most introspective books on the why and how of handling meat and BBQ." Chef Adam Perry Lang, Restaurateur and best selling author of Serious Barbecue, BBQ 25, and Charred & Scruffed

"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

— From Meathead


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,, "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.

About the Author

MEATHEAD (CRAIG) GOLDWYN is the president and founder of, 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.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780544018464
ISBN-10: 054401846X
Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: May 10th, 2016
Pages: 400
Language: English


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