Three new cookbooks devoted solely to meat deserve a place on any cook's short shelf.
* "Lobel's Prime Cuts: The Best Meat and Poultry Recipes From America's Master Butchers" (Chronicle Books, $29.95) is written by the illustrious family behind one of New York's most famous butchers. The Lobels understand meat, so recipes such as short ribs braised in ginger beer or baked pork chops in cider are authoritative and sure-handed. "Lobel's Prime Cuts" is best on beef, but other meats are equally well done, so to speak.* "Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork: A Guide to Buying, Storing, and Cooking the World's Favorite Meat" (Harper Collins, $29.95) contains 160 recipes drawn from around the globe. But what makes the book valuable is its encyclopedic treatment of pork: brining, butchering, seasoning, storing, the true story of trichinosis and most of the pig's other meaty mysteries.
* "The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating," by Fergus Henderson (Ecco, $19.95) should draw every cook who is serious about meat. Meat cookery doesn't mean just strip steaks and chicken breasts to this London chef, who specializes in offal dishes. The book is the last word in variety meats, those extra parts that are too gnarly to cook conventionally, and too good to throw away. Henderson's take on trotters and tails, marrow and more may be hard for some to take, but this is the ultimate carnivore's cookbook.