Looking for a meaty Christmas gift that doesn’t require refrigeration? These great meat-centric cookbooks are drool-worthy, and sure to please any hardcore carnivore.
The plant-based revolution may be upon us but that doesn’t mean animal eaters should be left in the dust. While demand for meatless sensations like Beyond and Impossible keeps growing, to quote the late great Marvin Gaye, “Ain’t nothing like the real thing.” For those who still have a craving for all things flock, fowl, bovine, and porcine be it grilled, smoked, cured, stewed, or fried, we’re here for you. Below we’ve collected some of our favorite cookbooks that showcase carne in all its glory.
Related Reading: The Best Gifts for Meat Lovers
“Franklin Steak: Dry-Aged. Live-Fired. Pure Beef” by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay, $15.37 on Amazon
Though Aaron Franklin’s brisket prowess is world-renowned (there’s a reason you’ll always find a multi-hour line outside his eponymous meat temple), he also knows how to work wonders with other parts of the cow. His latest cookbook offers a crash course in all things steak, offering tips on choosing the right cut, dry-aging at home, beverage pairings, and, of course, techniques for cooking inside or in the the great outdoors. “Franklin Steak” will have you questioning the need to splurge at a steakhouse. (Amazon’s stock is currently low but you can find this at Walmart and other retailers too.) Buy Now
New York superstar chef Angie Mar shines a light on her carnivorous creations at scenester haunt The Beatrice Inn with a collection of recipes steeped in West Village cool—Polaroid pictures are among the book’s many stylish touches. The food in “Butcher and Beast” tends to skew towards unabashed decadence including Bone Marrow Creme Brulee and Wild Boar Tagliatelle with Chile and Winnimere Cheese. Though you’re likely cooking these dishes at home, you’ll still be inclined to dress for the occasion.Buy Now
Pitmaster is a distinction that’s often tossed around willy-nilly but if anyone’s worthy of the title it’s Sam Jones. With “Whole Hog,” the man behind the legendary Skylight Inn shares his wealth of Carolina ‘cue expertise. Pig preparation, from recipes for Jones’s signature chopped pork to lessons on how to build your own pit, may be the focus here, but you’ll also find dozens of other recipes for Southern standards like cornbread, smoked turkey, and biscuit pudding.Buy Now
Celebrity chef Michael Symon offers an education in all things barbecue with his latest book. Through interviews with various experts, the former co-host of “The Chew” highlights regional grilling and smoking techniques from across the country along with the history behind them. “Playing with Fire” is great for novice cooks but also comprehensive enough for pros looking to broaden their expertise.Buy Now
Brazilian churrasco, which features a wide array of meats piled onto sword-sized skewers and cooked over an open flame, might just be the pinnacle for carnivores. Now thanks to chef Evandro Cargenato, a native gaucho and culinary director of famed churrascaria Texas de Brazil, you can learn what it takes to nail that perfect picanha, charred chorizo, and luxury lamb chops on the grill. Buy Now
Chef Bill Kim shares his expertise in Korean BBQ by way of Chicago with this 2019 James Beard Award nominee for best cookbook. As the title suggests, Kim’s mouthwatering recipes revolve around his seven master sauces which provide the core to dishes such as Kori-Can Pork Chop, Honey Soy Flank Steak, and other Seoul-ful grilled specialties. Buy Now
It’s been nearly 15 years since Michael Ruhlman first introduced this instant classic (which was revised and updated in 2013) and it remains essential reading particularly with charcuterie’s accession as a menu must at restaurants across the country. Full disclosure: These recipes require a good deal of time, skill, and patience, but if you want to take a DIY approach to pâtés, confits, sausages, and other meats of the air-cured and dry-cured varieties, you won’t find a better guide. Buy Now
“Jerky: The Fatted Calf’s Guide to Preserving and Cooking Dried Meaty Goods” by Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller, $14.39 on Amazon
If your familiarity with jerky is limited to a bag of Oberto, let Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller expand your horizons. The James Beard Award-nominated authors span the globe in this all-encompassing exploration into the art of drying and curing meats. You’ll not only learn how to make your own jerkies using a wide variety of techniques, you’ll also find dozens of recipes that will help you incorporate them into broader preparations such as Gingery Cabbage Slaw with Smoky Beef and Herbs and the Mexican breakfast classic Machacado con Huevos.Buy Now
I’m not sure what the actual first name is on Meathead Goldwyn’s birth certificate, but his current moniker is without a doubt the one he was born to have. “The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling” proves why this is the case, offering everything you need to know about the relationship between flesh and flame. If you’ve ever wondered why certain dry rubs work best with particular cuts of meats or the purpose behind a brine, Goldwyn has an answer for you. Beyond the why, there’s plenty of how-to and the recipes here are so good, they could even bring a smile to Archie Bunker’s face.Buy Now
For Everyone Else on Your List
Header image courtesy of Amazon.