Franklin Steak

Dry-Aged. Live-Fired. Pure Beef. [A Cookbook]

About the Book

The be-all, end-all guide to cooking the perfect steak—from buying top-notch beef, seasoning to perfection, and finding or building the ideal cooking vessel—from the James Beard Award–winning team behind the New York Times bestseller Franklin Barbecue
“This book will have you salivating by the end of the introduction.”—Nick Offerman
Aaron Franklin may be the reigning king of brisket, but in his off-time, what he really loves to cook and eat at home is steak. And it’s no surprise that his steak is perfect, every time—he is a fire whisperer, after all, and as good at grilling beef as he is at smoking it. 
In Franklin Steak, Aaron and coauthor Jordan Mackay go deeper into the art and science of cooking steak than anyone has gone before. Want the real story behind grass-fed cattle? Or to talk confidently with your butcher about cuts and marbling? Interested in setting up your own dry-aging fridge at home? Want to know which grill Aaron swears by? Looking for some tricks on building an amazing all-wood fire? Curious about which steak cuts work well in a pan indoors? Franklin Steak has you covered.
For any meat lover, backyard grill master, or fan of Franklin's fun yet authoritative approach, this book is a must-have.
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Praise for Franklin Steak

"A thoughtful deep dive into a much-loved American mainstay."

"Whether you’re a grill master or just want to learn about beef, Franklin Steak dives deep into the art and science of cooking steak, making it a welcome addition to any meat-lover’s collection."

Praise for Franklin Barbecue:

"Much in the same way that a barbecue spot isn't exactly a restaurant, and a pitmaster isn't exactly a chef, Franklin Barbecue isn't exactly a cookbook. There are only eleven recipes: the brisket, of course, plus instructions for making pork ribs, beef ribs, a turkey breast, four sauces, beans, potato salad, and a remarkably good coleslaw. That's okay, though. Much like a book of Ono explaining nigiri, or Starita explaining a margherita pie, Franklin's recipes are meaningless without the man behind them. And so the bulk of his book is devoted to him explaining himself, in the good way: it's a book that unpacks his obsessions, his thought processes, his extraordinary focus on detail and technique."
— Eater (Cookbook of the Year)

“Aaron Franklin makes the finest barbecue I’ve ever had, barbecue worth waiting for. His work and his words express a truly rare level of commitment and expertise. With Franklin Barbecue, he shares it all—in a book that, fortunately, you don’t have to wait for.”
— Anthony Bourdain 

“I used to think Aaron Franklin was a genius: There was his rise from backyard dabbler to king of Texas pitmasters; his mind-altering brisket that made normally rational people (myself included) wait hours for the chance to eat it; and his insistence that game-changing barbecue doesn’t come from miracles but rather elbow grease. Then he wrote this book and gave all his secrets away. Now everyone—from me to you to your neighbor who can’t grill a chicken breast—will be able to make award-winning barbecue. He’s not a genius anymore; he’s a god.” 
— Andrew Knowlton, restaurant and drinks editor, Bon Appétit

“The most refreshing barbecue book to come along yet. Rather than preaching about ‘one true way,’ Aaron Franklin guides you through all the wood and smoke so that you can find your own style. And instead of just listing ingredients and rattling off generic recipes, these pages tell the story of a place and a barbecue tradition steeped in history. This isn’t just a book about barbecue; 
this book is Central Texas barbecue.” 
— Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor, Texas Monthly, and author of The Prophets of Smoked Meat
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Franklin Steak


In the past year, whenever we mentioned to someone that we were working on a book about steak, the unfailing response would be, “Steak? How can anyone write a whole book about steak?”

That’s funny, as our sense has always been the opposite: “How can we ever meaningfully cover steak in just one book?”

But those two differing responses basically sum up the current state of steak in America and make a good case for why this book needs to exist. On the one hand, steak is among the simplest, most convenient, and most elemental of all foods. It is beef plus fire. Preparing steak requires very little in terms of money, thought, time, and equipment. But a sublime steak? That requires a fair bit of moola, consideration, patience, and accessories.

Clearly, then, this book is meant as a companion in the pursuit of sublime steak. And to get there, we believe you have to think through the meat from its source until it comes off the grill.

The first section of this book is all about beef. It will help you to know a little bit more about its history, the industry in general, breeds and feeds, and some of the core issues surrounding steak consumption today. We tell you how to find the best possible raw materials from the best purveyors—ranchers, butchers, and more. We talk about the wide and wonderful world of steak cuts, from the usual suspects, like porterhouse and T-bone, to the new wave of “butcher’s cuts,” like hanger and bavette. In the second section, we share some tips and tricks for taking your steaks to the next level, dry aging being the big one. (Spoiler alert: It’s not that hard and, in fact, it’s really fun to dry age at home.) Finally, we get into cooking steak—how to prep the meat, build an effective and flavor-delivering coal bed, and cook the steak to perfection. And to finish up, we offer a handful of ridiculously uncomplicated sides (because simple is best, in our opinion) and a few suggestions on what to drink. Along the way, we try to offer a limited global appreciation of delicious steak and some personal anecdotes of steaks past. Easy!

Hopefully, this information will help when you’re trying to make choices about what kind of steak to buy and how to cook it. Of course, humbly, we answer the question above—How can you cover steak in just one volume?—with the admission that we can’t. There are, inevitably, gaps here. For one, we would have loved to delve far deeper into the timely questions of cattle and environment, and the debate among those who think cattle are heavily responsible for destroying the environment and those who think cattle will be the ones to save it. So many fascinating issues surround the science behind grass and grain feeding, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. But just because we didn’t include that topic here doesn’t mean we’re not interested.

Finally, a note to those savvy about cattle: Yes, we know that technically much of the steak we eat comes from steers. And we know the technical differences among heifers, steers, cows, bulls, and the like. For convenience and flow, though, we chose to use the familiar and eternal word cow when describing the sacred and venerable animal whose sacrifice graces us with steak. With that, happy cooking and may you never overcook your beef!

About the Author

Aaron Franklin
Aaron Franklin is a native of Bryan, Texas, and the co-owner and cofounder (along with his wife, Stacy) of Franklin Barbecue. Franklin Barbecue opened its doors in 2009, and has since gone on to win many awards, including “Best Barbecue in Texas” from Texas Monthly and “Best Barbecue in America” from Bon Appétit. Franklin is also the host of the PBS series BBQ with Franklin. He and Stacy live in Austin with their daughter, Vivian. More by Aaron Franklin
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About the Author

Jordan Mackay
Jordan Mackay is a journalist, writer, and co-author of several award-winning books on wine and food, including Secrets of the Sommeliers, The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste, Franklin Barbecue, and Franklin Steak. More by Jordan Mackay
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