By Bob Uphues
Fourth of July is going to be a strange one this year over at the Goldwyn household in Brookfield.
Meathead Goldwyn -- he insists on the name – is Brookfield's barbecue whisperer, the man behind one of the most popular barbecue websites in the world, cookbook author and all around food raconteur.
On your ordinary Fourth of July, Meathead would be manning the grill, smoking up slabs of the ribs that launched his site amazingribs.com for the many members of his and his wife's extended family.
"We had to call it off [this year]," Goldwyn said, referring to the COVID-19 crisis.
Figuring he wouldn't be the only one grilling out for just his immediate household in 2020, Goldwyn has just published a one-stop reference for making a perfect slab of ribs yourself – whether you own a grill, a smoker or just want to make some in an oven or slow-cooker.
Last month, he dropped "Amazing Ribs Made Easy: Everything You Need to Know about America's Favorite Food: Pork Ribs" an e-book that will walk you through the process of cooking ribs like a pro.
It's co-authored by Clint Cantwell, senior vice president of amazingribs.com. Cantwell, who lives in Memphis, formerly ran the Kingsford charcoal website, said Goldwyn.
"He's a talented recipe writer," Goldwyn said. "It was a real team effort getting this together."
The book is available for Kindle and can be ordered from Amazon for $3.99. It checks in at 119 pages and serves as something of a rib compendium containing a lot of information pulled from amazingribs.com, but organizing it in easy-to-follow book form.
"Much of it is from the website, but the trouble with websites is there's no beginning, middle and end. There's no flow," Goldwyn said. "This roundup is in an organized fashion and easy to read on an electronic device."
Like his 2016 book "Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling" – which is among the top 100 best-selling cookbooks on Amazon – Goldwyn focuses on teaching, not just offering a recipe collection.
And unlike his website and earlier book, this latest volume focuses solely on pork ribs. He walks readers through the various rib cuts and why each needs to be approached differently. He talks about the science of salting and how to properly prepare ribs for cooking/smoking as well as the differences between cooking your ribs on a gas grill, over charcoal or in a smoker.
It's only after those basics that you get to the recipes, which include his "Last Meal Ribs," which served as the foundation for his website, to competition-style ribs, his classic Kansas City-style barbecue sauce and even ribs cooked indoors with a Chinese or Mexican flair.
"Amazing Ribs Made Easy" is Goldwyn's second e-book for what he calls his "Deep Dive Series" that zero in on one specific type of cooking. The first e-book, published in January, was "Sous Vide Que Made Easy: How to Deliciously Marry the Grill and Smoker with Sous Vide."
"Our first one was for a very narrow audience," said Goldwyn. "This one [about ribs] should have much broader interest."
Other Deep Dives books in the works will focus on steak and chicken.
"If people like them, we'll do a whole series with them," Goldwyn said.
One of the results of the coronavirus pandemic, is that interest in home cooking is way up and people are looking for information on how to broaden their culinary knowledge.
"Our website is booming, because people are stuck at home and they're cooking," Goldwyn said. "We're up around 60 percent."