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Books about Meat

I have been slowly learning how to cook meat over the past year or so and am looking for suggestions as to which book(s) I should get on the subject. So far I have been using the Good Cook's series meat books, The Art of French Cooking and the Zuni Cafe cookbook. I've also got Charcuterie. I think I'd like to buy The River Cottage Meat Book, but there are so many books called "Meat" that I'd like to get some opinions on the really good ones.

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  1. The River Cottage Meat book really was life changing for me. Very compelling. My other favourites are James Peterson's new one as well as the one by Bruce Aidells.

    While sort of basic I like Molly Stevens braising book - http://www.amazon.ca/All-About-Braisi.... Just keep in mind it is a little simple. Lastly, I like Jean Anderson's Falling Off the Bone - http://www.amazon.ca/Falling-Off-Bone.... Again, it is simple but has some great recipes.

    5 Replies
    1. re: chefathome

      Received the River Cottage for Xmas and have been dabbling here and there. So far I mostly love it for overall meat education...What are a couple of your favorite recipes from this title?

      1. re: eight_inch_pestle

        I really like the Roast Belly of Pork with Apple Sauce on page 226 - love cracklings. The Roast Lamb on page 239 is another favourite. I also like the Loin of Lamb Stuffed with Apricots and Pine Nuts on page 242. My husband's favourite is Steak and Kidney Pie on page 286. Gorgeous recipe. Citrus Braised Lamb Shanks on page 300 is well worth it, as is Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives on page 313. I haven't tried the Mole yet but it looks delicious.

        Stir-Fried Indonesian Pork is yummy (we like to use lamb). If you have venison, the Venison Steak au Poivre on page 357 is awesome. Duck Breasts with Pineapple, Chile and Soy on page 366 is another favourite. Man, once I go through the book there are many favourites! OK, on to Barbecued Rosemary Lamb with Salsa Verde on page 404. Yum. We both adore the Pork Rillettes on page 447. We've also had success in preserving duck legs on page 451. The Boston Baked Beans on page 484 is the one I go to for beans.

        There are some great condiments in the back including Creamed Fresh Horseradish, Salsa Verde, and Homemade Ketchup.

        1. re: chefathome

          Thanks for the great list! We did not love the Indonesian pork, but then I didn't brown the meat very well so that may be on me. And lamb could be a game-changer.

          I actually have a frozen beef kidney that needs to be used, so will definitely give that pie a try soon. Thanks again!

          1. re: eight_inch_pestle

            You are more than welcome. When someone else is as excited as I am about cooking I am thrilled. There are some lovely books in there, that is for sure.

            Would you mind posting back if you make that kidney recipe? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

            1. re: chefathome

              Most definitely. Will be a couple weeks. I'm doing the corned beef tongue first, for St. Pat's.

    2. I'd go with the River Cottage book. It's great on the "how to" side of things, which is what I usually reference it for. And some good recipes as well.

      1. My vote would be for either the River Cottage Book or the James Peterson book. Or, better still, both.

        1. A complement to a meat book would be a good grilling book (such as How to Grill or The BBQ Bible, by Steve Raichlen). Not solely meat-centric, but such books are mostly "meat-filled", since meat/poultry is what's likely to wind up on your grill. You might want to consider a grilling book if you branch out(side) to grill.

          I have How to Grill, as well as Real Grilling (Jamie Purviance)--I've made some marvelous dishes from each of them.

            1. re: skippy66

              Aidell's Complete Meat Cookbook is one of my main meat cookbooks.

            2. Barbara Kafka's book Roasting is classic and has much to say about meats, although it also deals in poultry and veggies. She's a high-heat advocate, for the most part:


              1. I'd be interested in knowing how the book Primal Cuts compares to the River Cottage book, at least recipe-wise.

                1. Wonderful. Thanks everyone, I have decided on the River Cottage Meat book for now, the Peterson book next and from then on I'm sure I'll get more and more (and more) as I go.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rainbowbrown

                    Good choice. Report back on your take on these books and the next and the next and the next...

                  2. I second the recommendation of Bruce Aidell's and Denis Kelly's book. It is the kind of cook book I prefer, one which teaches method and technique. To me, it's important to know how to handle ingredients - the methods and temperatures - while you can freestyle the seasonings quite a bit. This is especially true when dealing with cuts of meat that can be quite costly.

                    1. I purchased River Cottage Meat and Peterson's Meat both last weekend and while I have looked through and been pleased with Peterson's book, I have mostly been ignoring it because I've been far too caught up in the River Cottage book. I really love this book. It covers exactly what I wanted a meat book to cover. The fact that it goes into so much detail about the cuts of meat and about game and offal is wonderful. Also I really like the chapters on preserving and meat thrift. What is covered in this book are the sorts of things that I was hoping to learn about. And the recipes all look great. I can't wait to try the steak and kidney pie and homemade salt-pork. I have the opportunity right now to buy a half a lamb from a local farmer and the book is really making lean towards doing it.

                      Thanks again for the advice. There are still more books mentioned here that I'm sure I'll get to.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rainbowbrown

                        Enjoy! You are in for a real treat.

                        The beef in stout is delicious, and because it's such a stripped-down dish, it's a great way to practice the slow-cooking principles outlined in the book. He definitely got me braising at a lower temp (the tremulous simmer) and working to ensure all the meat stays covered one way or another, and the combination has improved our eating.

                        The cinnamon cream sauce from the pork tenderloin with mincemeat stuffing is what the author would call "posh" and "cheffy." My girlfriend called it "brilliant" and "to-die-for." I will note that while HFW doesn't call for reducing the sauce, it's incredibly thin if you don't. I reduced it a great deal, until the sauce only came together slowly after I dragged a wooden spoon through the middle of the pan (I finished the sauce in the same 3-qt. saute pan I used for the pork, instead of in a small saucepan as the recipe suggested---I prefer reduce in a wide shallow pan and I prefer not make extra dishes I'll have to wash later). I also didn’t use lemon, and took the dish from England to the PNW (where we live) by adding minced rosemary and swapping homemade peach jam for the red currant jelly. There's something special about rosemary and cinnamon and peaches with cream.

                        Also, since I made this on a weeknight, I only pan-roasted a beautiful pork tenderloin in some butter and rosemary instead of stuffing the meat with mincemeat. And while I'm not interested in mincemeat anyway, I'm sure the sauce would pair beautifully with a tenderloin stuffed with sage and mushrooms and hazelnuts/pistachios or some such.