cover image How to Cook Meat

How to Cook Meat

Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby. William Morrow Cookbooks, $35 (480pp) ISBN 978-0-688-16199-6

Here is a well-rounded and wonderfully thought out bible of beefsteak. Schlesinger and Willoughby (The Thrill of the Grill, License to Grill, etc.) begin with a single premise: that it is imperative to match the method of cooking to the cut of meat you have at hand. Dry heat, like grilling, is choice for the more tender cuts while moist heat, like stewing, is best for the tougher stuff. This holds true for beef, veal, lamb and pork, all of which are represented in their own in-depth sections. With this dictum, the authors go off on a fascinating tour of all things carnivorous. The lengthy and highly instructional introduction delves into such minutiae as how fat stimulates our salivary glands to produce the sensation of juiciness. Then come the more than 200 recipes. The beef chapters run the gamut from a joy-of-gnawing dish called Flintstone-Style BBQ Beef Ribs with Hot, Sweet, and Sour Bone Sauce to a Kuala Lumpur-inspired Gingered Beef Stew with Red Onion-Lime Sambal. And the lamb section includes not only the domesticated Double-Thick Lamb Rib Chops with Slicked-Up Store-Bought Mint Jelly Sauce but also North African-Style Braised Lamb Shanks. Nothing goes to waste since the authors employ a surprisingly large number of offal recipes. There are, of course, a basic sweetbread and calf brains, but these shy in comparison to Lamb Tongues on Toast and the virtually unmentionable Head Cheese Reuben. Most every recipe is accompanied by useful sidebars that detail the cut of meat to use, offer alternative cuts and even tell you how the dish holds up as a leftover. With humor, clarity and expertise, these two renowned food writers have created a requisite text for any serious meat lover. (Oct.)