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Where to Start With Meathead's Book?

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    Where to Start With Meathead's Book?

    As a novice but aspiring pitmaster with a few burns already under my belt on my Weber charcoal kettle, I was more than pleased to receive Meathead's textbook as a Father's Day gift.

    This is one substantial book that I will work through over time. However, if I can receive some suggestions as to where I should start, i.e., what are the first chapters I should be reading, that would be much appreciated.

    In addition to Meathead's book, and perhaps as an introduction for a newbie, you should also read "Barbecue, Fire and Smoke" by Henrik "Hank" Oscarsson

    Amazon Link:

    Barbecue, fire and smoke: Henrik Oscarsson, Henrik Oscarsson: 9789163933455: Amazon.com: Books


    • Backroadmeats
      Backroadmeats commented
      Editing a comment
      Henrik how did I not know you wrote a book?? Now the question is how do I get a autographed copy?? By the way mine shipped today... Anxiously waiting delivery!!

    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Backroadmeats! I could have sent you one signed. Oh well, now it’s on its way 🔥👊

    • tamidw
      tamidw commented
      Editing a comment
      Henrik awesome! Didn’t know you had a book. Will have to check it out. 😊

    Depends what you are trying to accomplish and where you are starting from.

    For me understanding temp control of the cooker, the different types of heat, and how to use indirect heat were all game changers for me. Reverse searing steaks, chops, etc. Using the grill as an oven. Once you get that everything changes.

    When I had the basics down concerning how to master my cooker I then was able to move on to low and slow ribs, butts, and brisket.


      Depending on how new you are and how much you've read, I'd recommend starting with he first 2 sections, The Science of Heat and Smoke. Those give you background into how MH thinks and the assumptions he uses as well as just being a really good grounding in how things work. Then skip around.

      One thing - MH uses 225F as the basis for his recipes. This is NOT SACRED. Aaron Franklin uses 275. This, too is not sacred. 225 will lengthen cooks and for some things like brisket that just flat out take time, the difference in cook time between 225 and 275 can be several hours. Most of us feel there's no real taste or quality difference in cooking anywhere from 200 to 300 so feel free to experiment.


      • ecowper
        ecowper commented
        Editing a comment
        But you know what is sacred? I use 250F :-)

      I really cant say much to add on where to start. I would say that this is one that you should never finish. Keep it handy and reference it often.


        Honestly, you should start with page one. That’s what I did. I don’t want to speak for Meathead, but I feel okay with saying that he wrote it the way he did for a reason.

        And there’s a reason that there is an Amazing Ribs book, and an Amazing Ribs website. Websites are meant to be jumped around in, and hyperlinked back and forth. Books are meant to be consumed as written. Don’t think of it as a collection of recipes and advice; it is as a whole. It is one thing, meant to be read as written. Each chapter follows and builds on the information from the previous chapters. You don’t want to hit “shuffle play”, because a later chapter might depend on you knowing something from earlier.

        Enjoy it!


        • 58limited
          58limited commented
          Editing a comment
          That is what I did, I read it from page one to the end, learned a lot and changed the way I cook.

        I’m just gonna say…..page 1…seriously. A lot of it is recipes, so it actually is a fast read, but a wealth of knowledge to refer back to. Perhaps a few stickies on pages that you have extra interest in and you are set!

        enjoy the book. I don’t know how many I have bought for friends and I always refer to it for something, recipe wise. It’s full of goodness!


          Bulldog Page 1 always works best for me. There is usually a reason it is first, with a logical progression thereafter. Read thru the book, then go back to the areas that interest you the most. The nice thing about a book is that verything else is always there for later reference.
          Last edited by Clark; June 21, 2021, 06:41 PM.


            +1 and 2 and 3 for Page 1!


              Read and understand the science, then find something you're comfortable cooking with and try his method and recipe, then modify to your tastes and skill from there Down the road I would suggest trying things you are uncomfortable with, or even cooking your way through the book.


                Page 1 gets 5 votes as of this post. I think we may have winner, yup, begin at the beginning.


                • barelfly
                  barelfly commented
                  Editing a comment
                  You need to create a poll!!!

                Page 1


                  I like to start at the last page and read backward, but that's just me - want to make sure I know how it ends in case i go dirt nap before I finish!


                  • CaptainMike
                    CaptainMike commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I just saw this after I hit "Post" I think this is at least the second you and I have done this.

                  • latenight71
                    latenight71 commented
                    Editing a comment

                    You know what they say . . . great idiot bufoons think alike. Or wait, something like that.

                  • CaptainMike
                    CaptainMike commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Farkin'A brother!!

                  I say start with the index and work backwards. Seriously, start at the beginning and pay special attention to the fire management section. I've been an outdoor cook for a very long time and MH's methods changed how I do that that fo' eva!


                    I got the book a couple of years ago and I had been smoking meats for 20 years. I started with page 1 and read it all. I learned a lot that I didn’t have a clue about, I’m a bit of a nerd so getting into the science behind it was really fascinating to me. I still use some of the recipes and a lot of the techniques learned from the book. But definitely start at page 1 and really try to soak in what you’re reading and put it into practice and you will be a better q’er.



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