It's almost Father's Day, which means it's time to scrape together those pennies and get the guy who is partially responsible for bringing you into this world a token of your affection. Wouldn't you rather that gift also resulted in turning his hockey puck burgers and burnt chicken legs into tasty, tasty dishes? (Not that I know anyone who used-to-but-certainly-no-longer cooks like that — love you, Dad.)
Below, ten cookbooks that will help your dad become the meat master he was always meant to be, whether he's grilling a whole cow or honing in on its grizzlier bits.
The StandardThe River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. (Buy on Amazon.)
Sure, he's British, so maybe he doesn't entirely get the whole barbecue thing, but Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's encyclopedic knowledge of almost every type of meat cooking process makes this book a classic. Both as a reference and for its recipes.
The Basic Grill GuideBBQ 25 by Adam Perry Lang. (Buy on Amazon.)
For the Dad who's just getting started: Perry Lang's accessible volume has 25 recipes for the most basic grilling projects: steak, hamburgers, pork chops, that kind of thing. And all in a durable, slim volume that's actually meant to be used.
The Indulgence ManifestoFat by Jennifer McLagan. (Buy on Amazon.
The subtitle of this ode to fat calls it a misunderstood ingredient, and McLagan spends 240 pages trying to convince readers to forget the health food hype and enjoy the occasional piece of Bacon Baklava.
The Extra Bits BibleThe Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson. (Buy on Amazon.)
Are the typical grocery store cuts of meat getting your pops down? He's probably long overdue for a few lessons in gizzardry from Fergus Henderson in this classic cookbook.
The Wannabe Butcher's CookbookPrimal Cuts by Marissa Guggiana. (Buy on Amazon.)
This nearly-300 page cookbook asks America's best meat men for the best recipes, and butchers across the country weigh in on everything from "Damn Good Hot Dogs" to a porchetta that feeds 20.
The Cookbook My Dad Is Using to Learn How to BarbecueLow & Slow by Gary Wiviott. (Buy on Amazon.)
This guide will take you from a lowly beginner to fairly advanced level of barbecuing. Contains five detailed master recipes ("lessons") with several variations apiece, as well as some killer sides and desserts.
The Grill-a-Whole-Cow CookbookSeven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way by Francis Mallman. (Buy on Amazon.)
For the dad who's not content with just one fire, Seven Fires explores the world of traditional Argentinian open flame cooking. And, yes, has a recipe that calls for "1 medium cow, about 1,400 pounds, butterflied, skin removed."
The Meaty Guide to LifeEat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin by Kenny Shopsin. (Buy on Amazon.)
A cookbook to read cover-to-cover, Kenny Shopsin's book expounds on the eccentric New York restaurant owner/chef/madman's culinary philosophy and shares his recipe for a chicken fried burger.
The Guide to a Proper Cajun Crawdad BoilMy New Orleans by John Besh. (Buy on Amazon.)
Because sometimes outdoor cooking means seafood. John Besh's volume runs the gamut of Lousiana cooking, from étouffée to a backyard crawfish boil, and his recipe for roux mentions drinking two longnecks.
The Ultimate Geeky Meat (and Everything Else) CookbookModernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold, Maxime Billet and Chris Young. (Buy on Amazon.)
Is your dad a big nerd? Are you super rich? Modernist Cuisine is pretty much the ultimate guide to all things sous vide, in addition to covering everything else on the planet. There's also a guide to perfecting regional barbecue styles; author Nathan Myhrvold has done competitive barbecue in the past.