Cooking Meat: Book Review

Peter Sanagan wants to turn meat lovers into cooks and with his new book, Cooking Meat…and he will.

For people like me who cook at home, this book breaks down every cut of meat with great photos and a definition of each item. I had no idea that a bavette and flat iron steak were two different cuts of meat because they look very similar. (I thought they were different names for the same cut to be honest.) It’s things like this that one can appreciate when you are learning.

But this is more than just a cookbook. I consider it a great reference guide on meat. The book is broken down by sections that include: chicken, pork, lamb, beef, game, and offal. The reader is given advice on what to look for when buying meat, the different grades of meat and basic butchery and carving techniques for chicken.

Peter Sanagan worked as as a chef for 15 years in kitchens around the world, including at Le Select Bistro, Auberge du Pommier and Mitsura, where he was Chef du Cuisine. As a chef, you don’t just cook but you’re educated on everything to do with what you’re serving to customers (eg. sourcing, butchering, storing and preparing). Peter eventually transitioned from chef to butcher and business owner. He opened Sanagan’s Meat Locker in 2009 in Kensington Market, home to Toronto’s most eclectic neighbourhood where you’ll find cheese shops, butchers, bakeries, vintage stores, plus restaurants/cafes from a wide range of cultures. His meat locker focuses on local, naturally raised meet sourced from farmer’s across Ontario and he offers store made charcuterie and prepared foods. There is also a second location located at Gerrard and Coxwell.

Another bonus included in the book is the author tells you what each cut is “good for”, whether it’s braising, grilling, pan-frying, pressure cooking, roasting, sautéing or sous vide (one of my favourite ways of cooking). There is even a cheat sheet laid out for you.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with a cut of meat you’d like to try, you can test it out by following any one of the 120 recipes that are included. You can make crispy baked chicken wings or coq au vin, tacos de Suadero, slow cooked lamb shoulder and porchetta. He even teaches you how to make your own sausages (and casings) from scratch! There is a section on family feasts that include making cassoulet, roast turkey with stuffing and a whole roasted pig. Don’t let some of the names scare you because he breaks everything down simply. I was even impressed he included recipes for curried goat and oxtail stew (Jamaican style) in the book as well! You’ll even learn to make your own stocks, broths, sauces, marinades and rubs. I don’t think anything was left out to equip you with the tools you need to cook.

After reading through this book, all you’re going to think of is which recipe to try first. Like me, I’m sure you’ll try a lot of them! Here is the first one I tried!


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