It’s been a busy month for Brookfield resident Craig – hold on, the name’s Meathead – Goldwyn. But you’d expect things to be a bit hectic if you were a best-selling author.
Since the end of May when he started the tour in support of his new book, aptly titled Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling, Goldwyn has been in a whirlwind that has taken him from the National Restaurant Association show at McCormick Place to New England to New York City.
As of Monday morning, the book, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, was No. 83 on the Amazon best seller list, No. 6 on their list of best-selling cookbooks and No. 1 among food science books. In addition to the in-person appearances, he done guest spots on half a dozen radio programs and has done online video spots for WTTW-TV and Food Network.
“I’m exhausted,” the 67-year-old Goldwyn said during a phone interview from his Prairie Avenue home as he prepared to fly out for an appearance in Washington, D.C., on June 23. “I’m meeting a lot of interesting people.”
One of those interesting people was none other than celebrity chef Jacques Pepin – it turns out the two share the same publicist, Carrie Bachman — with whom Goldwyn spent a three-hour dinner in New York City at Chefs Club, a restaurant operated by Food and Wine magazine.
“It was a lovely meal,” said Goldwyn, who has lived in Brookfield since 1990. “He told a bunch of stories and signed a couple of books.
“He matched me drink for drink.”
Meathead is the culmination of a journey that started more than a decade ago when the very inquisitive Goldwyn wanted to find a book on the best way to cook ribs, and just couldn’t find anything.
Along the way, he also started the website AmazingRibs.com, which has connected him with a vast audience of barbecue-philes. Goldwyn said the website is getting about 4 million page views and 1.5 million visitors per month.
It was through the website that Goldwyn came in contact with Meathead‘s co-author, Greg Blonder. The two exchanged thoughts about the science of grilling and Goldwyn decided to recruit him for Team Meathead.
“I realized I was talking to someone who knew a lot and we started a collaboration,” Goldwyn said.
For example, Goldwyn was perplexed about a phenomenon he encountered while slow-smoking a pork shoulder at 225 degrees. The meat got to about 150 degrees and then just stopped rising in temperature – stalling there for hours.
So in 2010 – the story is in the book – Blonder did some experiments and found out the answer.
“We were the ones who figured it out,” Goldwyn said.
Meathead is not your traditional cookbook. In fact, the first half is more textbook than cookbook, with chapters on the science of heat and smoke as well as on grilling hardware. But the second half of the book includes about 90 recipes, everything from ribs to steaks to fish to vegetables.
“The recipes were selected to exemplify the concepts of the first half of the book,” Goldwyn said.
Dotting the pages are also short entries where Goldwyn debunks some long-cherished myths that have been passed on by generations of backyard pitmasters, from the value of letting meat rest after cooking (it doesn’t make much of a difference) to soaking wood chips in water before adding them to the fire (don’t) to the superiority of beer-can chicken (“a waste of good beer”).
While he’s not through jet-setting quite yet, Goldwyn said the tour will settle down some in July. But he will be making an appearance locally on Thursday, July 14 at 7 p.m. at the Brookfield Public Library, 3609 Grand Blvd. Registration is required, because the room is small and demand for his appearances lately has been high.