The Best Meat Cookbooks for Recipe Ideas

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Sliced medium rare cooked beef steak on a wooden board
What Are the Best Meat Cookbooks to Buy?
Reviewed by the BioHackers Lab Team | Last updated: February 19, 2020

If you love eating meat then you’ll appreciate the many ways it can be cooked.I have gone searching online to see what recipe books would be good to use to learn how to cook different meat dishes at home.

You might have started a new way of eating, like the zero carb diet of only meat, or just want to know more about the different cuts of meat, how to cook them and be inspired by some new mouth-watering recipe ideas; you’re in the right place.

Below you’ll find quick, mini book reviews of what are the top 10 recommended books that are all about how to cook all types of meat, the right way.

Top 10 Best Meat Recipe Books to Buy

1. Meat: Everything You Need to Know by Pat LaFrieda

This vibrant tome, dedicated to the craft of butchering, provides recipes and techniques that can only come from a fourth generation butcher like Pat LaFrieda, author of Meat: Everything You Need to Know.

LaFrieda expands your knowledge of meat by explaining the best and most flavorful cuts to purchase (including some you may have never heard of), with step-by-step photographic instructions that make it easy to learn how to cut and prepare each type of protein. While the focus of this book is more on butchering than on recipes, do not overlook them. The recipes come not only from the LaFrieda family archives, but also from some of New York’s top restauranteurs. This book by Pat LaFrieda also shares stories of life in the meatpacking business and his family’s passion for their craft. The book is an excellent resource for someone looking to start a carnivore diet since it gets down to the basics of what meat to select and how to correctly prepare it for optimum results.

2. Meathead: The Science of Great Barbeque and Grilling by Meathead Goldwyn

The key word in this book is science. In Meathead: The Science of Great Barbeque and Grilling book, the author Goldwyn, focuses on not just how to make sure whatever you’re grilling turns out well, but also helps you understand the “why.” In other words, Meathead shares the chemistry behind his cooking techniques.

Through his humorous, no-nonsense writing style, you’ll learn how his methods make your meat turn out so well and how it can be right every time you cook. This book goes beyond a collection of recipes. It explains the role of fire and smoke, how and why marinades and brines work, plus so much more. It separates BBQ fact from BBQ fiction, so you’ll know what works and what doesn’t and why. Goldwyn also shares his insights on how to select the best grills, tools, and how to use them to get optimal results. An excellent choice for a carnivore diet and for someone who wants to know the how and why of grilling and barbequing, this book can help you learn how to do it right – every time.

3. Hardcore Carnivore: Cook Meat Like You Mean It by Jess Pryles

Author Pryles’ favorite meat is beef – the preferred type of protein of the carnivore diet – and the Hardcore Carnivore: Cook Meat Like You Mean It recipe book is a homage to her passion and dedication (nay we say obsession) for beef.

Of course, she covers lots of other proteins in the book as well (including kangaroo, rabbit, and quail) and shares unique and interesting ways to prepare it. With basic information on cuts and prep, you’ll learn what to select when you’re at the store and what to do with it when you get home. Her simple, easy to follow recipes have a “why didn’t I think of that” feel to them can help even the novice chef have success right out of the gate. She provides some science to go along with her recipes to help justify the “why,” but you won’t feel so overwhelmed by the chemistry when all you want is a medium-rare ribeye. In addition to recipes on how to cook meat, Hardcore Carnivore also includes recipes for sides, sauces, and rubs to amp up the interest level. Only about half require a grill to cook on (like a fancy infrared, natural gas or propane gas grill). However, even if you don’t have a BBQ grill (or if it’s just raining or snowing outside), you’ll still find plenty of recipes to choose to cook on the stove and oven inside the house.

4. Meat: A Kitchen Education by James Peterson

If you want to go beyond outdoor grilling and barbequing and deeper into kitchen cooking options then the Meat: A Kitchen Education cookbook is an excellent choice.

Beginning with an overview of a variety of meat cooking methods, like sauteing, roasting, braising, poaching, and frying, this book then provides full-color photo demonstration of traditional preparations for pretty much any meat you can find at your local butcher. Want to truss a chicken? Break down a whole lamb? This book will show you how to do just that. The selection of gluten-free recipes run the gamut between sophisticated and straightforward – a quick turkey cutlet dinner or hamburger cookout to a lamb tagine or long-braised rabbit stew – meaning you’ll find recipes and preparations for a variety of occasions. Winner of the 2011 James Beard Cookbook Award in the single subject category, this book is focused on the idea that we should eat better meat. Peterson imparts his knowledge so you can choose better quality meat and increase your understanding of meat preparation, so you get excellent results. Like many of his cookbooks, Meat focuses on locavore-type ingredients, with thorough explanations of cooking terminology, vibrant photographs help you learn, and easy-to-follow recipes.

5. The Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book: The Game Changing Guide That Teaches You How to Cook Meat and Poultry with 425 Bulletproof Recipes

The Cooks Illustrated Meat Book provides, time and time again, reliable resources for the home cook; this book is no exception.

The Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book focuses on the idea that preparing meat doesn’t start at the stove, barbeque, or smoker – it begins at the store. Therefore, the book begins with how to start shopping for meat, including answering “do you actually need to buy organic?” The book then moves on to how to store meat, including answering “should you put meat in the freezer or the fridge?”, and how best to season meat (marinating, salting, and brining). Organized by cooking methods, the authors also let you know the ideal cuts for each cooking method, why to follow their instructions, and what could happen if you don’t. With 425 vigorously tested recipes covering the everyday meal to those special occasion dinners, this book will give you loads of animal protein dishes inspiration. As a bonus, the book also provides equipment recommendations and hundreds of step-by-step illustrated instructions to ensure excellent results.

6. Michael Symon’s Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers

Iron Chef and co-host of The Chew, Michael Symon, has shown that he can cook with the best and he loves meat. This comes out even more in his book titled, Michael Symon’s Carnivore.

This book shares his wealth of knowledge on the topic of meat, including the basics like steaks, chops, and wings, but also some lesser-known cuts. Not meant to be an opus to the science and technology of grilling, Carnivore provides any home cook the information they need on breeds, cuts, and techniques to help when shopping and when cooking. If you’re serving friends who are not on the all meat diet, there are also low carb or keto friendly recipes for sides that pair perfectly with Symon’s meat recipes, like Feta and Cucumber Salad and Sicilian Cauliflower, which prove to be as impressive as the proteins they’re to be paired alongside. Organized by meat type, this book makes it easy for you to pick a recipe based on your carnivorous cravings. The approach and voice of Symon’s book make it an invaluable choice for cooks at any skill level.

7. Franklin Barbeque: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto by Aaron Franklin

If you’re looking for a book dedicated to the art of smoking meat and barbequing, then the Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto recipe book is an outstanding choice.

Author, Aaron Franklin, started in a small BBQ trailer on the side of an Austin, Texas interstate back in 2009. He has since become a winner of every significant barbeque award and owner of the wildly successful Franklin Barbeque. His debut culinary book goes beyond just how to cook meat. The book has chapters dedicated to teaching you how to build or customize your own smoker, select and cure the right wood, build and tend the perfect pit fire, and how to source the best meat. While not quite a cookbook, but rather a documentary of sorts, this book shares how Franklin Barbeque got started and how Aaron developed his passion for barbequing by diving into the how and why. You’ll get all the details you need on the science and techniques to start or improve your barbeque. If you’re ready to develop your skills as a pitmaster as you adopt the carnivore diet, regardless of your current skill level, this book is an inspiring place to start.

8. The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

If you haven’t yet heard of The River Cottage Meat Book and its author, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, it’s about time you did.

Fearnley-Whittingstall runs a 60-acre farm in Dorset, England, where he has gained extensive experience raising, slaughtering, and cooking animals. Now available in a revised American edition, this book is best for those who have access to a great butcher and are willing to dedicate some time to the craft. The book first focuses on understanding meat, discussing the various cuts of beef, lamb, pig, and poultry and diving into organ meats a bit (brains, lungs, and stomach linings). Then, Fearnley-Whittingstall shares the various ways to cook each meat, with in-depth instructions (so specific some may call them rules) and 150 recipes that showcase each technique. Showcasing a truly rustic palette, the book also includes a section on preserving meats. Not just bacon, but also pigeon and goose legs. Called a manifesto on high-quality, local, and sustainable meat production, The River Cottage Meat Book provides information on production standards and sources for buying and learning about meats in the United States. Don’t be intimidated, though; this book’s recipes and techniques will appeal to the skill level of any home cook.

9. The Meat Lover’s Slow Cooker Cookbook: Hearty Easy Meals Cooked Low and Slow by Jennifer Olvera

Don’t worry! Just because you’re taking on the all meat diet doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck to just frying and grilling meat. If you love slow cooking then check out this slow cooker option with The Meat Lover’s Slow Cooker Cookbook.

Jennifer Olvera’s book shows that you can make delicious meat-centric meals with your slow cooker, which means little active time. In this book, you’ll find over 100 slow cooker recipes your family will love, including sliders, stews, roasts, and ribs. Slow cookers are an attractive choice for those on the carnivore diet. Slow cookers can provide tasty results using low-cost cuts of meat like stew meat, shanks, and chuck steak. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes, this book will easily slip into regular rotation. Olvera also provides recipes for stocks, broths, sauces, and even bone broth; an overlooked part of any carnivores way of eating. There will be recipes you expect (beef and bean chili and Italian meatballs) and recipes you never knew you could make in a slow cooker (Greek lamb with oregano and olives and chicken cacciatore). And best of all, doing all the work up front means you don’t have to do it later, making family mealtime less stressful and more enjoyable.

10. Pitmaster by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart

Because you can always use another perspective on a great barbeque, the Pitmaster cookbook provides an unique guide to help you become a great barbeque chef in your own right.

The book contains instructions for every skill level, whether you’re new to the grill or you’ve been at it for a while. You’ll get access to the basics, like Memphis-style ribs, plus some big-time recipes, like how to smoke a whole hog. Husbands and Hart share specific tips and techniques for proper smoker operations, reviewing a variety of different types and brands. They teach you the difference between distinct regional barbeque styles and tell you about new, up-and-coming styles of barbeque. If you’re looking to prepare a meal for your non-carnivore diet friends, this book also includes side dishes, cocktails, and desserts to pair with each regional style. They also bring in the perspective of guest pitmasters who specialize in that specific type of region or style of barbeque cooking. Consider this a comprehensive beginner’s guide to all things barbeque.

Last updated: February 19, 2020

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