cover image Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling

Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling

Meathead Goldwyn. HMH/Martin, $35 (400p) ISBN 978-0-544-01846-4

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, 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. Much of the discussion involves myth busting widely practiced techniques such as letting meat rest after cooking and searing steaks to seal in their juices. There is also instruction on how to achieve the ultimate goal of “golden brown deliciousness,” which takes into account both caramelization and the process of how meat browns, known as the Maillard reaction. The recipe section begins with numerous sauces and rubs. One might think that Goldwyn combined parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme just so that he could call it Simon & Garfunkel Rub, except that he makes wide use of it in dishes as varied as stuffed pork loin roast, buffalo chicken wings, and grilled duck breasts. Instruction and technique permeate much of the recipe section. The specifics of simmering brats in beer are charted in the excellent guidebook, and there is an 18-page master class on dealing with a whole hog. Agent: Sally Ekus, Lisa Ekus Group. (May)