7 Great Cookbooks For Animal-Based Eating

It’s all part of the deal with animal-based eating.   We’ve all been there at some point in the journey.  If there were only some cookbooks to make things easier…

Out of ideas for dinner.  Out of ideas for a weekend meal.  Breakfast, lunch. No ideas.  

Of course, you end up going to Wendy’s and ordering four cheeseburgers with no buns.  Quick and easy, right?  Yes. Cheap?  Very.  But you don’t want to do this all the time.  

Sometimes you just don’t have the time for an 8-12 hour culinary project.  

I’ve come up with seven different cookbooks that concentrate on the low-carb and animal-based way of eating.  Not all of the recipes are animal-based, but inherently most of them are.  


Cookbook No. 1: Michael Symon’s Playing with Fire: BBQ and More from the Grill, Smoker, and Fireplace: A Cookbook, by Michael Symon

animal based cookbooks

Food Network personality Michael Symon hit it out of the park with this meat-centric cookbook.  

Symon starts off by going over various smokers and grills, and a guide on which one would be best suited for you.  

He then discusses different techniques for starting and then maintaining heat.  

Symon follows up with many delicious BBQ recipes, divided into five different types of meat, vegetables and sides, and sauces and rubs.  

As one of my favorite people on Food Network, Symon’s work in this title really got my attention.  His creations have always been interesting and I’m thrilled to have come across this.


Cookbook No. 2: Hardcore Carnivore: Cook Meat Like You Mean It, by Jess Pryles

animal based cookbooks


Aussie and self-professed hardcore carnivore Jess Pryles starts off this one with the nuts and bolts of animal-based eating that we should all know.  An in-depth explanation on the science of meat, temperature, as well as salting and seasoning, are explained.  

We then go on to learn how to cut various pieces of meat.  The book also covers how to grind your own meat for burgers, for those who want to ensure the cleanliness of the meat through to the finished product.  This info is practically a must if you want pink or red in your burger like I do.  

Like with Symon’s book above, Pryles also goes over pros and cons of grillers and smokers.  

The recipes are divided into seven categories.   

Cookbook No. 3:  The Book of Steak, by Robin Donovan

animal based cookbooks

Want something beef specific?  Here you go.

Author Robin Donovan dissects the different parts of a cow to provide a really in-depth understanding.  If you want to know how to buy the best beef, this is your book.

This book doesn’t just go over grilling either.  Recipes for roasting, frying, broiling, poaching, and stewing are all included and are sure to fill your mouth with incredible flavors.  

Don’t want just beef?  Fine. There’s a recipe section for side dishes–something for everyone.  

Cookbook No. 4: Eat Happy, by Anna Vocino

This one is the least meat-heavy of the bunch, but I wanted to throw this in for those who may want to try alternatives to the otherwise carnivore-heavy books.  I’d be somewhat remiss to not mention this one.

Written by comedian, podcaster, and voiceover artist Anna Vocino, she adopted the NSNG way of eating after she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2002.  One day a week, she co-hosts the Fitness Confidential podcast alongside NSNG creator Vinnie Tortorich. Tortorich also does the podcast with two other co-hosts on different days, along with other guests.  

A candid book throughout, Vocino starts out with an entertaining disclaimer, telling the reader, basically, to get to know your own body and to concentrate on cooking with real foods above all else.  “You are a grownup.”  She’s right. 

She then goes into detail about her emphasis on no sugars and no grains.  

After a list about what you should have in your pantry at all times, she divides the recipes into seven different categories from starters to main courses to sauces and marinades.  

As an added bonus, Vocino is about to come out recently came out with Eat Happy Too, her punny-titled sequel to the original Eat Happy. 


Cookbook No. 5: Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book, by Cook’s Illustrated

animal based cookbooks

This massive book, by Cook’s Illustrated magazine, boasts a whopping 425 different recipes over 465 pages of content!  

In a preface written by Christopher Kimball of America’s Test Kitchen, Kimball debunks–or at least questions–some things about meat that we’ve always thought to be just…fact.  

Before getting to the recipes, Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book goes over the storage of meat, how to shop for meat, decoding labels on meat, keeping your meat free from germs, ways to season meat, and what type of heat is right for your piece of meat.

It also provides a handy list of cooking, grilling, and BBQ accessories you should have.  

The last 400 or so pages of the book is a smorgasbord of all different types of recipes–from main courses, to side dishes, to any kind of rub or marinade you’ll need.  

The book ends with a conversion chart and a comprehensive index to each recipe and ingredient. 

Cookbook No. 6: Meat: Everything You Need to Know, by Pat Lafrieda and Carolynn Carreno

animal based cookbooks

This book was written by third-generation butcher Pat Lafrieda of Pat Lafrieda Meat Purveyors.

Lafrieda goes over various cuts of meat; some of which provide a tremendous bang-for-the-buck for those cooking on a budget.

All in all, this book features a total of 75 recipes.  Some of these recipes are provided by some of the best chefs in New York City, among others.

Along with the recipes are step-by-step instructions for advanced techniques of cutting meat that even a beginner can understand and eventually master.

For those who like veal, there’s an entire section dedicated to veal, including the history behind it, preparation, and recipes.  Five other types of meat are also covered, with stories and background behind each one as well as some delicious recipes.

Cookbook No. 7: Jerky Cookbook, by Roger Murphy

animal based cookbooks

We’ve gone over six really good cookbooks for non-dried stuff you can eat.

Here’s a good twist.  Jerky.  And none of that store-bought junk that’s full of preservatives and hidden carbs.

While great on paper, jerky is all too often a disappointment.  But not here.

The full title is Jerky Cookbook: Unique Recipes for Unique Jerky, Ultimate Cookbook for Dried Meat, Fish, Poultry, Venison, Game and Other Jerky Recipesand the author, Roger Murphy, really does cover it all.  

After a brief introduction, Murphy starts right out with the recipes.  The recipes are organized in four basic chapters: meat, fish, poultry, and game.

Murphy dedicates the last 23 pages to cleanliness, preparation of the meat, and an important breakdown on smoking of meat in order to achieve perfect jerky.

Which book is the best?

That depends on what you want to accomplish.

Want variety?  Eat Happy is the one for you.

If you think you’ve learned what you need to, but want quality jerky like so many others do, Jerky Cookbook is the way to go.

Steak?  That’s there.  A ton of recipes?  A Food Network star’s perspective?  A butcher’s perspective?  Something hardcore?

It’s all on this list.

Eat up.

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Please feel free to drop a comment in the section below.  Thanks for reading.



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