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Afield: A Chef's Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish Hardcover – September 18, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


2012 IPPY Bronze Award in the Cookbook category (Independent Publisher Book Awards)
ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year Award Finalist (TBA)
2013 James Beard Foundation Book Awards, Nominee Finalist

"Griffiths may be an ideologue, but his recipes adapt well to the work of the unarmed home cook hoping simply to feed friends beautiful, flavorful food in the chill of early winter. His anise brine mutes the wildness in feral boar. But it also augments the flavor of commercially raised pigs, increases the clarity of their flavor, acts as the best sort of kitchen cheat."
— Sam Sifton, "How to Tame a Wild Pork Chop" featured in The New York Times Magazine
"I don't really see myself plucking doves anytime soon—rather I tend to feed them—but I greatly admire Jesse Griffiths and his work, especially Afield. It's solid and real, not something stylish and trendy. It's clear that Jesse takes this work very seriously. That would be enough, but I have to add that the photographs are especially evocative."
—Deborah Madison, author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors

"After the Larousse Gastronomique, this book will become my new bible. Afield is part of the new generation of culinary books. Actually, it's more than just a culinary book, it's a North American chef d'oeuvre. Enjoy!"
—Martin Picard aka "The Wild Chef," author of Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack

"A kindred spirit and fellow hunter, angler and cook, Jesse Griffiths has created a book that not only highlights the glories of Texas' abundant game and fish, but is also just as relevant and as useful wherever you can find doves and deer, crabs and crappies. It is one of a very few modern cookbooks that does justice to America's wild game and fish."
—Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook

"Jesse Griffiths practices what most of us only preach when it comes to sustainable eating. Afield shows us that hunting is as much about compassion, respect and knowledge of animals, and the land as it is about the preparation. Much praise goes to Jesse for making the art of hunting and cooking game approachable."
—Carla Hall, co-host of The Chew

"From his love of hunting and fishing, Jesse Griffiths has created a rare and beautiful book."
April Bloomfield, chef and author of A Girl and Her Pig

Advance Praise "Of all the members of The Butcher's Guild, Jesse is one of the most intrepid and iconoclastic. Gracefully teaching sustainability and holistic cooking in Texas, he has become the young grandaddy to a new generation of chefs and butchers. His prose and approach are as warm as a campfire on a Texas dove-hunt."
—Marissa Guggiana, author of Primal Cuts and Off the Menu; co-founder of The Butcher's Guild

"The recipes are spot-on (I cook; my son is a chef), the photography is gorgeous, and the philosophy is a welcome breath of non-self-righteous rationalization."
—James R. Babb, Editor, Gray's Sporting Journal

"This book is inspiring. Jesse captures the energy of the hunter gatherer in a refined and approachable way. This book makes me want to eat Snipe and smoke my own catfish."
Jamie Bissonnette, chef and butcher at Coppa and Toro in Boston

"Jesse Griffiths knows what's important about food...that it's fresh, local and allowed to speak for itself. He's an old school chef with deep respect for the land, his farmers and purveyors and the food they produce and it shows through his cooking."
—Dave Pasternack aka "The Fish Whisperer," according to the New York Times; author of A Young Man and the Sea

"For all who want to take increased responsibility for meat eating and plan to hunt it themselves, Afield is the book to follow. For all who may aspire to hunting, it is the book to read closely for a real sense of the experience. For those who already know the pleasures of the hunt, but may not know how to maximize the pleasures of the table, Afield is the book to cook from."
—Deborah Krasner, author of GOOD MEAT

"The magic, and why I think Afield is a special work, is that it fully portrays a way of living and thinking that allows us to return to a more simple way to be measured and respected. And it does so without lecturing or pandering. It reminds me that by living a more principled life, I can make my world a better place and I can use food and cooking to do it. This book is a beautiful piece of work, and after you read it, and cook from it, please get outside and get dirty with it. Wherever you are, the great outdoors is waiting for you, afield."
Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods, from his introduction to Afield (Andrew featured Griffiths breaking down a feral hog on the Bizarre Foods Austin episode that aired on August 13, 2012)

"It's not news that we're rethinking how we eat. Between money issues, and the conglomeration of differing ideas about where we should get our food and what we should do with it, I'm surprised we've not seen a book like Afield before now. Then again we've not had a Jesse Griffiths stepping forward before now. With this book he reaches beyond those who have always hunted. He lives that idea of working with what is around you and hunting naturally comes out of that for him. Hunting is not for all of us, but this book has much to teach about working with meat, cooking game well, and for some us, it offers a gentle, thoughtful introduction to a way with food that seemed foreign in the past. It could be a marker for the future."
Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of public radio's national food show, The Splendid Table®, from American Public Media (Griffiths' segment will air in mid-September)

"If things get tough on Planet Earth, you'll want Jesse Griffiths at your side, or at least, his educational and entertaining book, Afield! Read Jesse Griffiths' Afield for inspiration, and then get out to the wilderness and bring home a wild hog, or at least a few fish! Then flip through the pages of this beautiful book to learn what to do with your catch. Jesse Griffiths is an omnivore's inspiration — one of Texas' greatest supporters of and educators on local foods of every kind — he's just as good with vegetables as he is with game. Afield is Jesse Griffiths and his cohorts at their finest. If you don't have a gun or a fishing pole, just delve into Afield for a great armchair experience!"
—Carol Ann Sayle, organic vegetable farmer, Boggy Creek Farm, Austin, TX

 “Griffiths takes you inside the moment with him, into his head, as he searches for a downed doe or sets the hook in a catfish’s mouth. It’s impossible to miss Griffiths’ reverence for the lives he literally consumes.”
—Kim Pierce, Dallas Morning News
“Everything you want to know about hyper-locavorism can be found in this book of stories, recipes and how-tos that will take you from couch potato to wild boar hunter in no time. Well...maybe a little time.”
—Jesse Kapadia, Food Republic
“Lots of the recipes - for turkey, duck, fish, crab, and rabbit in particular - could be happily used by cooks with no intention of actually harvesting it themselves from anywhere but the butcher shop.”
—Molly Watson, About.com
“Calling Afield a mere cookbook would be…like calling the Grand Canyon a large ditch. A philosophical journal, a field guide, a visual work of art – all of these would be fitting descriptions of the new book. Half of [the photographs] will inspire you to never eat anything processed again, while the other half will make you want to grab your rod or gun and head out into the wild right away.”
Bearings: A Southern Lifestyle for Men
Afield is at once anecdotal and educational… In a country where gun ownership is more associated with NRA zealots than food sourcing, Griffiths wants to open up people’s minds to living off the land once again.”
—Veronica Meewes, CultureMap Austin
“Afield will inspire you to do—to roll up your sleeves and catch a flounder, clean a rabbit, field dress a feral hog, butcher a deer, cook up a squirrel, and make your own sausage—all in the name of a good meal.”
—Sarah Hebbel-Stone, FarmPlate
“Part recipe collection, part Hemingway-esque adventure read, [Afield] comes from one of Austin’s fiercest talents.”
—Paula Disbrowe, Daily South
“Yes, it’s a cookbook, but more specifically, it’s an impeccably written, extensively photographed manual that takes people through the hunting process from land, lake, and sea and right back into the home kitchen.”
—Layne Lynch, Texas Monthly

"For a reader who knows the magic of a duck blind at sunrise, the writing is evocative; for the novice, it offers additional insight into why hunting and fishing are favored pastimes for millions in this country."
—Kerry Luft, Chicago Tribune

"Griffiths forges a new approach to the sustainable movement through a compelling narrative on the benefits, both mental and physical, to catching your own dinner."
—Michele Harris, Erickson Tribune

“A practitioner of the new hunting-cooking movement, Griffiths also happens to be a gifted writer who captures the drama and romance of moving through a creek slowly so as not to spook the fish or gutting and scaling whiting directly into Gulf waves while surf fishing… [It’s] Hemingway-esque.”
—Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle
“[Afield] is one of the better game cookbooks in recent years, equally accessible to avid hunters and fishermen and those who are just starting out, as well as those who are debating whether to begin.”
—Kerry Luft, Latino Times
“We have come a long way from our days as hunter-gatherers, yet there is still deep satisfaction in catching a fish and cooking it yourself…Jesse Griffiths has tapped into that primordial urge.”
—Michael Hoinski, Texas Monthly

About the Author

Chef JESSE GRIFFITHS embodies the forefront of the new hunting-cooking movement.  He has gained national praise for his strictly local butcher shop and supper clubs (Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Country Living, Garden & Gun) and his series of practical hunting schools are the first of their kind.  In less than a year, they have drawn students from around the country and have gained attention from The New York Times, Texas Monthly, and others. Jesse was nominated as Food & Wine's The People's Best New Chef in 2011, and is the owner and chef of Dai Due with his life/work partner, Tamara Mayfield.  The couple received Austin's Local Hero award in 2010.

JODY HORTON is an Austin-based food and lifestyle photographer. His work has appeared in Garden & Gun, Esquire, Food & Wine, Southern Living, Texas Monthly, and the New York Times. He is a frequent contributor to Texas Monthly, Garden & Gun, Edible Austin, and Southern Living. Find more of his work at www.jodyhorton.com.

ANDREW ZIMMERN, regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the food world, is a James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, food writer, and teacher. He is the co-creator, host, and consulting producer of the Travel Channel's hit series Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Welcome Books; 1St Edition edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599621142
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599621142
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.2 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
First, Let me say that this a beautiful book in terms of content, recipe quality, photography, etc. I am an avid cook, forager, hunter, fisher, outdoorsman, and most of conservationist. I am also a person mildly obsessed with cooking, sausage making, knife skills, and all other aspects of "completing the circle." My family and friends process our own game, eat the odd bits, and plant oak trees (both metaphorically and literally). I have spent a large portion of my life not only hunting, foraging, and fishing, but working in restaurants. From the front of the house to the back, I have worked virtually every job in a restaurant. With that caveat...

Most of the recipes are masterful...5 stars. Wide ranging, not necessarily deep on a per animal basis. This is an overview that every single hunter and fisher should have, period. No questions asked. However, there is a VERY big and VERY glaring miss in this book. This omission is not limited to the author, but is a bigger issue with the budding wild food chefs.

Chronic Wasting Disease

In this book and through several other foodie related, wild game oriented recipes many recipes and techniques have centered around using and cutting the bones of deer, whether they be whitetail, elk, mule deer etc. I wholeheartedly applaud the use of every item available, but cannot begin to tell what an issue this is if you hunt an area where CWD is a possibility. Every single recommendation in these areas is to test the animal and if it comes back positive destroy every ounce of meat and soak everything that touched it in 50/50 bleach / water solution.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is beyond just a cookbook - Jesse Griffiths writes about the hunt before each section (the book is divided into types of game) so that you really get a feel for what it is like, not just hunting but being there, the people, the places. If you do want to hunt the game you will be cooking, he provides step by step directions to dress and clean the game along with photographs, but non hunters can easily use this book as well. If you can source from friends that hunt, great. If not, you can get many of the ingredients and a good grocery or farmers market, and/or convert them to non-game animals (and fish).

Beautifully written and photographed, simple accesible but deliciious recipes. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book and will continue to do so as we cycle through various hunting seasons.
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By Mike C. on October 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book blew my expectations out of the water. Simply amazing. Worth every penny, and every sportsman that I've shared it with has been equally blown away and ordered a copy for themselves.

You will not be disappointed!!
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Format: Hardcover
I got this as a college graduation present from my sister and brother-in-law, because I am a avid hunter and I love to cook. This is an absolute must have for anyone who likes to hunt and cook or a chef that has access to wild game.

The book itself is beautiful, the cover and binding have a handsome classic look and the pictures in it are amazing they showcase the food perfectly and really capture the essence of the hunt.

There are a lot of hunting stories in it, which I loved, and detail instructions of properly butchering and preparing the meat before cooking it. The recipes cover a lot of different types of dishes from nice "finger food" type stuff to full on entrees, each one is well explained and easy to follow.

I'm dead serious this is a perfect gift or addition to a personal collection.

The only problem I have with it is some recipes call for feral hog meat to be preserved without cooking it. There may be something in the book letting people know that this may be dangerous but I didn't see if as I flipped through the whole thing but have not read it cover to cover.
Chronic wasting disease for deer was covered by another reviewer and that should be looked at too.
Feral swine carry lots of diseases that can be transferred to humans through consuming undercooked meat AND by contact with blood, its fine to get their blood on your hands but you don't want it in your blood stream.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a novice to prepping wild food I find the instructions in here beyond valuable. I think the recipes are great even for experienced hunters, and the stories of the hunts are well written and interesting.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this as a Christmas gift for my son, an executive chef. It's not easy buying a cookbook for a chef, but this was different enough that he was really interested in it.
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There's a reason this book has won (and been nominated for) so many awards.

It's well written with entertaining anecdotes of excursions the author has made. The writing and recipes are accompanied by an impressive amount of breathtaking photos of these trips, step-by-step butchering instructions, as well as of the finished product. The variety of recipes (traditional Southern, French, South American, Indian -- and probably even more I'm forgetting) included with each section is sure to convince you to plan that next fishing or hunting trip you've been putting off.

The stories are fun to read, informative, and inspiring. He's been hunting and fishing since he was young, and you can tell he's got years of experience both in pursuing animals and cooking them. He covers pretty much all the most popular fish and game you likely go after: dove & snipe, catfish, whiting, flounder, crab, feral hog, deer, turkey, duck, goose, rabbit, squirrel, bass, and crappie. And as I mentioned above, his step-by-step instructions (equipped with color photographs) on breaking down your kill and butchering it into more manageable cuts of meat are among the best I've seen.

The recipes are all simple enough for even the least-experienced home cook -- many designed to enjoy around a camp fire post hunt or fish. Plus, there's a variety of recipes that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy (fried catfish, wild boar carnitas, turkey potpie) as well as ones reserved for the more adventurous/ambitious crowd (dove terrine, smoked goose sausage, sauteed venison liver). Waste not, want not, as the saying goes; armed with this inspirational you'll start spending much more of your free time out doors in pursuit of free protein.

This book is perfect for beginning hunters/fishers (the butchering instructions alone are worth the cost of the book) on up to even the most seasoned outdoorsman interested in trying out a different way of cooking their favorite wild foods.
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