I am looking for a good scientific text about grilling and barbecue.

I am looking for something that scientifically goes into the thermal decomposition process of wood when heat is applied to it, what chemicals are exactly responsible for color and flavor, etc. and how we can use that information to produce better flavor and texture during cooking.


4 Answers 4


I certainly could be wrong, but I doubt a text of the caliber and specificity you're looking for exists. But perhaps it will in 2016... http://amazingribs.com/meathead/the_book.html. He's the only source I've encountered who applies science to barbeque and I think he does it very well. It may not be as academic as you're looking for but have a look around his site and see if it fits your needs.


Although it isn't extremely detailed, there is some good information on this topic in Nathan Myrhvold's Modernist Cuisine: Vol. 2 Pages 7-17 are dedicated to grilling and there is some relevant information in the sections on smoking in both Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 as well.

Harold McGee's food science classic On Food and Cooking has most of the information on this topic that can be found in Myrhvold's tome at significantly less cost. Most of the information specifically about wood and flavor production can be found at the end of chapter 8 "Flavorings from Plants"


Look up anything by Alton Brown. He is the Food Network godking of food science.


He has a great article here:


Alsofound an interesting book:

Illustrated guide to grilling and barbecue:


This hefty volume features a didactic tone that corresponds to the mission of the magazine of the same name, bringing scientific scrutiny and rigorous testing to home cooking with extremely detailed recipes and illustrations.

Hope this is what you're looking for.


Harold McGee

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

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