Ask Meathead Goldwyn when he started getting interested in food, and he’ll talk about watching his father grill flank steak in the backyard. He’ll talk about watching Julia Child between journalism classes at the University of Florida. But it wasn’t until his manhood was challenged that he really got serious.
“Somewhere along the line, my neighbor started crowing about how good his ribs were,” he says. “I started pounding my chest, the testosterone rose, and we had a cook-off.”
The cook-off was a draw, but it started meathead barbecuing for real, taking any kind of food you can cook over fire, testing, tasting, and testing again. Fast forward to now, and you can find him with a back deck full of grills, an encyclopedic knowledge of techniques and equipment, and the most popular barbecue site on the planet.
The site is more than just a recipe repository (although the recipes are varied, detailed and clear); it covers the whys as well as the hows: why searing doesn’t seal in the juices, why the brown crust is the best part of the steak, and why you need a high-quality instant-read digital thermometer.
It’s not just barbecue, it’s science. You’ve got to love a cooking website with an advising physicist.
You’d think it’s obvious why a guy who makes a living with a barbecue is called “Meathead,” but the name predates the obsession. His father called him that back in the days of Archie Bunker, and it’s a reflection of his politics, not his reverse-sear ribeye. But it suits him.
Story by Tamar Haspel, a food writer in Marstons Mills, Mass.