5 Meat Cookbooks We're Obsessed with

February  6, 2015

You know how some people are obsessed with stamp collections or fantasy football teams? Well, we're obsessed with cookbooks. Here, in Books We Love, we'll talk about our favorites.

Today: The Piglet is coming, which makes us want to talk about meat and cookbooks. Specifically, meat cookbooks.  


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“Beef. It’s what’s for dinner” is a misleadingly simple statement. Between the cuts of beef and the ways to prepare them, the options are ostensibly endless. Open up your meat options to lamb, pork, poultry, and game, and making dinner may take a little while. 

Because of this, we’re so thankful for the resources that teach us how to cook our favorite cuts, introduce us to the obscure ones and other bits we shied away from at the butcher, and provide us with reliable and exciting recipes. These 5 cookbooks, while not all exclusively about meat, have surprised, educated, and given us a bit more confidence as we strut down the meat aisle.


In The Charcuterie: The Fatted Calf's Guide to Making Sausage, Salumi, Pates, Roasts, Confits, and Other Meaty Goods by Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller
Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller run the meat emporium The Fatted Calf in San Francisco. In In the Charcuterie, a 2014 Piglet Community Pick, they’ve distilled all their meat knowledge into a book that makes making sausage, salumi, and confit actually possible at home. And if you need to ease into making your own charcuterie, there are also recipes like meatloaf and a pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin to make for dinner any night. Never has a whole hog looked so pretty or approachable.

The Meat Hook Meat Book: Buy, Butcher, and Cook Your Way to Better Meat by Tom Mylan
This book has the word “meat” in its title twice, so you know it means business. It’s for those who want to know about how meat is sourced, and how to buy, butcher, and cook it.

More: Author Tom Mylan’s death row meal, surprisingly, doesn’t include meat.

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts by Frédéric Morin, David McMillan, and Meredith Erickson
The Piglet-winning book isn't a meat cookbook per se, but it's quite meaty: The authors suggest making lentils like baked beans, then serving it with a pork chop -- and if you've never cooked with offal or foie gras and you want to, this is probably a good place to start. Another stand-out part of the book, acccording to co-author Meredith Erickson, is the instruction on cooking a strip loin, doneness chart included.

How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques by Steven Raichlen
Steven Raichlen knows the ins and outs (and tools) of grilling, and How to Grill is his necessary, accessible cookbook that can teach anyone the fundamentals of grilling. We appreciate the abundant step-by-step images and all the different marinades and rubs, some of which our VP of Product Karl Rosaen has had in his marinade rotation for years.

More: Get Steven Raichlen's genius recipe for Salt-Crusted Beef Tenderloin Grilled in Cloth.

The 2nd Ave Deli Cookbook: Recipes and Memories from Abe Lebewhol's Legendary Kitchen by Sharon Lebewhol and Rena Bulkin
For those looking to make their favorite Jewish comfort foods, this is a good place to start: It includes not one but six different versions of chicken noodle soup, in addition to recipes for gefilte fish, chopped liver, pastrami, schmaltz, and all the nosh you want from your local Jewish deli. The recipes are tried-and-true -- after all, the 2nd Avenue Deli has been around for nearly half a century -- and dearly loved in Social Media Manager Rachel Christensen's family.

More: After all this talk of deli food, we can tell you want a brisket recipe.

Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes by Jennifer McLagan
Fat is misunderstood, sure. You could also say feared. But instead of spending her pages debunking every myth about fat, Jennifer McLagan approaches the topic with elegance (as she's done for other maligned topics, including offal and bitterness). Her recipes explore and expose the flavor inherent in fat. We’re talking about bone marrow in red wine butter sauce, burnt butter biscuits, and crackling brittle. As Managing Editor Kenzi Wilbur put it: Fat!!!

What cookbook do you reach for when you have a great piece of meat to cook?

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Any Night Grilling is your guide to becoming a charcoal champion (or getting in your grill-pan groove), any night of the week. With over 60 ways to fire up dinner—no long marinades or low-and-slow cook times in sight—this book is your go-to for freshly grilled meals in a flash.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Jason
  • Tim
  • Ali Slagle
    Ali Slagle
Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.


Jason February 7, 2015
The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall! My roommate two years ago got it from his boss when he was working on a farm and it's the best book about meat i've ever read in terms of recipes, attitude, and overall knowledge about the animals you're preparing. Highly recommended
Tim February 6, 2015
It's ironic that you listed How to Grill in your cookbooks on meat because that was the book that taught me about grilling veggies and fruit.
Ali S. February 6, 2015
It's true! Steven Raichlen's books can teach you how to grill (almost) anything.