Cooking is one of the new activities introduced in Red Dead Redemption 2, having never appeared in Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Revolver. Cooking meals allow players to grant Arthur Morgan a variety of enhancements.
Cooking is only possible at camps and it requires recipes, as well as the right ingredients, such as herbs, which can be gathered while exploring the world and meat, which is primarily obtained through hunting.
Arthur will be able to create his own recipes by trying any combination of herbs that can be gathered in the wild. Available herbs include, but are not limited to, Thyme, Wild mint, Oregano. Depending on the combination of herbs, the recipe will be different, and so will the enhancements, which will affect health, endurance and Dead Eye. Before cooking the meal, it's possible to check the enhancements beforehand with a drop-down menu.
Cooked meals don't have to be consumed on the spot, as Arthur can put them in his bag and eat them at any point later. Alongside the type of herbs used for seasoning, meat quality influences cooked meals considerably. Poor quality meat and fish cannot be seasoned and must be consumed raw, leading to worse enhancements.
Thyme is used to reinforce the Dead Eye core, Wild mint reinforces the Health Core and Oregano reinforces the Stamina Core. Such ingredients may be purchased or collected in the wild.
Recipes are available from the very beginning of the game and have no unlock requirements. Cooking for profit isn't a good way to spend your time and crafting materials, as all food items sell for under $1. Plain Big Game is the most valuable with a selling price of $0.75.
Note that cooking in Red Dead Online works the same was as it does in Red Dead Redemption 2's story mode.