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The Complete Meat Cookbook: A Juicy and Authoritative Guide to Selecting, Seasoning, and Cooking Today's Beef, Pork, Lamb, and Veal Hardcover – November 5, 1998

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Editorial Reviews Review

"Frankly, we love meat." Thus spake Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly, their first words in The Complete Meat Cookbook. "This book," these well-informed authors tell us, "is written for those who share this carnivorous inclination." As the authors of Hot Links and Country Flavors, Real Beer and Good Eats, and Flying Sausages, these guys know meat. And their mission in life is to share what they know. With gusto.

The divisions are obvious: beef, pork, lamb, veal. But packed into each chapter is more information than any single reader might think possible. There's history and anthropology; there's anatomy and kitchen chemistry. And all of it is aimed at what the authors call the "new meat." It's a leaner product--less fat than ever before. So to get the succulence and the flavor that resides in memory (coming from a time of fattier cuts) sliced and onto the plate, today's cook has to use a different, more informed approach. You will find that guidance in this book. How to select and buy, how to prep, how to intensify the flavor, how to cook, how to store: it's all here. There is no other book like it.

Heavily illustrated, The Complete Meat Cookbook opens with a section on meat basics, including a little meat eating history and a terrific doneness chart. Then there's a long section covering all the basic cooking techniques and which cuts of which meat work best with each technique. Once the book breaks out into sections by kind of meat--beef, pork, lamb, veal--the depth of information focuses and intensifies, and the recipes roll right along for more than 600 pages.

Myth busting (like, don't salt meat before cooking, it will dry it out: wrong) is highlighted throughout the book. And each recipe is labeled for ease, speed, budget consciousness, serve to company, etc. The recipes take into account the world of meat eating. This is no Eurocentric text--it is, as the title proclaims, complete. If you are going to eat meat, do it right. This is the book to show you how. No cookbook bookshelf is complete without a copy of The Complete Meat Cookbook. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

The leaner cuts of meat now on the market require extra attention to ensure they don't toughen and dry during preparation, and with that in mind Aidells?owner of Aidells Sausage Company?and Kelly (both coauthored Hot Links & Country Flavors and Flying Sausages) offer more than 230 recipes certain to attract meat-fanciers. They address how to buy meat, flavor it and cook it; specify the temperatures at which various meats should be cooked; and advise using a digital instant-read thermometer to check degrees. Recipes are identified as Fit for Company, In a Hurry, Cooking on a Budget, Great Leftovers and other categories, and they range from familiar?Philly Cheese Steaks, the Classic Hamburger and Grilled Lamb Chops?to nicely inventive: Braised Beef Shanks with Coconut Milk, Ginger and Cumin shows a Pacific Rim influence, while Sauteed Pork Chops with White Wine and Vanilla Sauce adds an even more unusual twist. Master recipes are followed by variations, as in the basic Roast Rack of Lamb and one flavored with Black Bean-Mustard Coating or a Fresh Herb Crust. Complete is a fit adjective for this highly recommended book. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1st edition (November 5, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395904927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395904923
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 7.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,226,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Paco Calderón on June 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everything -and I mean EVERYTHING- you need to know about meat: from where does it come from to how to carve it, this book is a complete marvel! Do not confuse it with any of those "barbecue bibles" that tell you stuff you either already know or couldn't care less (i.e. lots of no-brainer tips or cookout recipes for weekend grilling-chef dads). This is not a cookbook, this is a TREATISE (also very entertaining reading)!
This book is for experts, made by experts! It describes the animals, their meat, its flavors, textures and consistency, the cuts, their handling, the cooking techniques for each and everyone of them and, needless to say, some not-your-usual-dinner exotic international recipes that'll water your mouth (it even features "cochinita pibil"!).
Too bad it only covers beef, veal, pork and lamb! It should also include game! But ...nobody's perfect! All in all, A MUST!
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Jadepearl VINE VOICE on December 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is worth every dime. It stands next to Madison's _Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone_. I have yet to come across a recipe that has failed me.
The information is clear and concise. The only flaw I would argue is that the recipes are not all pure basic recipes but use ingredients that the average cook of 30 years ago would not necessarily have possessed e.g., zinfandel. But if you read the information correctly a cook can figure out the basics by either reverse engineering or just plain doing (an assumption is made that you know it is okay to salt and pepper the meat).
The pot roast recipe alone is worth it and so is the knowledge of brining.
My only wish is that they, the authors, do a poultry book.
Speaking as a person who eats at the California Culinary Institute often I would argue that the meat recipes are better than at the academy. Once you read this book you will have a very discerning knowledge of meat at home and professionally.
Highly recommended.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
`The Complete Meat Cookbook' by leading meat authorities Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly is a wonderful reference cookbook for all and any foodies who really cook. The pair have written three other books, primarily on cured meats before issuing this general work.

One symptom of the depth of Aidells' authoritative knowledge of meat cookery is the fact that he singlehandedly changed a long standing attitude about cooking meat and using salt. The conventional wisdom was that salt on raw meat before cooking drew out moisture from the meat and made it dry. Aidells demonstrated that salting the surface of beef before searing greatly enhanced the flavor of the cooked meat. This event was quoted, without necessarily giving credit to Aidells himself, on more than a few Food Network shows, most notably by Sara Moulton and the culinary world has changed ever since. The stature of that demonstration may be measured by the fact that the combined efforts of Harold McGee and Alton Brown, both with major forums in books and TV shows for their opinions, have not been able to stamp out the myth that searing meat `seals in moisture'. The difference, of course, is that a good sear has other positive benefits, so the myth is an empty talking point and culinary declaimers have no reason to change their cant, since getting people to do something good, if even for the wrong reason, is beneficial in the long run. But enough of this rant on small matters.

The Aidells / Kelly book can and should be compared directly to a similar book by an equally prestigious pair of authors, Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, who published their book, `How to Cook Meat' two years later, so they would have the advantage of reading the Aidells / Kelly book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book based on the reviews here at Amazon. I was not disappointed! I made the Tejano style lamb and the Flank Steak roll-ups for my annual barbecue and got more raves and recipe requests than I can remember in my 22 years of meat cookery! This book should be in everyone's library.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Basehart on July 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
For anyone who eats meat, or just eats meat on...ahem...rare occasions, you simply must get this book. I found myself sitting down and reading it cover to cover like a novel. Fascinating information on meat production and why we need to approach today's cuts differently than our parents did. The recipes are fantastic and it is very well illustrated. You don't need any other book to discover how to best cook meat. My only complaint with it, and a very minor one, is that sometimes the way the recipes are laid out don't flow easily, what with different "flavor steps" and so on; I prefer a read-straight-through recipe. I recently tried out their Coca-cola barbecue sauce and was blown away by it. The way they do Mexican-style flanks steaks and cheaper cuts of meat are wonderful. Get it. You'll be glad you did.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Erica Klein on February 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've owned this book for a total of about 2 months and it has already become an irreplaceable staple in my kitchen. Every recipe I've tried has been reliable and delicious, and I've learned so much already from the instructions on how to choose, buy, and prepare difference kinds of meat. The sheer number of recipes in this book is almost mind-boggling, an effect made more profound by the incredible variety of tastes, ethnicities, and techniques represented. It'll probably take me years to try every recipe, and I doubt I'll ever get bored.

They should have called this book "The Meat Bible". Because it surely is.

HIGHLY recommended.
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