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Summer is the best. Whether you’re big on baseball, beer, or bikinis, it has you covered. Easily the best part of summer, aside from the succulent jubblies on display, is the food. Barbecues are arguably more American than apple pie, and the most important part of any cookout is the meat. Cole slaw and beans are all well and good, but if you have weak shit on the grill then your outing is going to be a bigger disappointment than Sandler and Spade’s next project. Since meat is king, this list is set to determine which type reigns over all.
10. Ground Meats (not Sausage or Beef)
Turkey, chicken, pork or any other meat is delicious in its primal state. When people toss it into a grinder, however, it loses its luster. Don’t get me wrong, when it’s cold out nothing gets me harder than a nice pork patty slathered in mushroom gravy on a bed of taters. If we’re cooking with charcoal or gas however, don’t you dare break out a turkey burger and ask me to cook it. It’ll go in my mystery meat freezer and you will be asked to leave hungry.
9. Hot Dogs
I’m sorry, did I strike a nerve? Hot dogs are great when they’re done up proper. Mustard, tomato, or slaw is downright tasty. When we’re talking about its status in the pantheon of meats however, a frank has nothing going. At a family gathering, dogs are for kids. They’re cheap and the little shits can drown them in stuff. When I see people over the age of 18 having what equates to ketchup on a bun, it fills me with sorrow and makes me question whether or not their father is an interior decorator.
It’s an atrocity that most people think turkey is only fit for holidays. Throw it on a smoker that’s near and dear to your heart to enjoy a meat great for slow cooking. Cast aside the cranberries and pumpkin pie for a little bit of homemade salsa or fried zucchini and I promise you’ll change your tune. Turkey needs to be a year-round thing.
The Midwest rejoices. Sausage is easily the best phallic shaped food on the planet. Boil it in beer with a mess of veggies, or toss it on an open flame until it splits. I’m more partial to brats myself, but anything from kielbasa to fresh pork links fit this criteria. If shrimp is the fruit of the sea, sausage is the fruit of the grinder.
Chicken’s a fan favorite. It always has a spot at the table. It’s also the only meat (to my knowledge) that you can stuff a beer can inside and cook to perfection. It’s juicy, it’s flavorful, and it’s the go to meat for people that don’t like meat. White or dark, fried or grilled, a well-cooked chicken makes people flock.
The fact that there’s more variety in this category than at Trixie’s House of Hoes makes me tingly. No matter what you’re in the mood for, seafood rises to the occasion with enough takes on shellfish and regular fish to make your head spin. Of course, some people aren’t so hot on the fruit of the sea. Maybe it’s because they find it “stinky,” or maybe it’s because they’ll die just from touching it. Either way, they’re missing out.
4. Ground Beef
Every man knows that they make the best damn burger on the planet. Maybe you’re partial to sticking onions and other fixins right in the meat, or maybe you just add garlic salt and a dash of Worcestershire. Either way, you can never go wrong with a nice quarter-pound patty. They’re the simplest creations to learn and one of the hardest to master. Gussy them up with whatever you like, from pickles to peanut butter to both, and let yourself drift into bliss.
Everyone knows that pork takes many forms, and all of them are delicious. Want something smoked and savory? Drench a rack of ribs in some Kansas City sauce and don’t wipe your face until they’re gone. Are you partial to heat? Some stuff from the Carolina coast is sure to make a butt that will have your eyes and mouth watering more than Jen Selter’s hot hiney. Pork, as a noun and a verb, is always a pleaser.
When a meat’s flavor is based almost entirely on cook time, you know it’s special. The only other critter that fits as a celebratory meal is an entire pig, and people are more likely to whoop up that new job with a juicy ribeye or a New York strip that cuts like butter. Just let your mind drift to the image of a porterhouse, just past the point of mooing in ecstasy, complemented by a Texas-sized spud and a glass of aged bourbon. If you don’t need to hop off for a tug after that thought, then it’s because you already creamed your pants.
1. Hand-Killed Meat
Whether it’s a bird on the wing or a buck that made the mistake of crossing your path, any animal slain with your own wits and arms is immediately two thousand times tastier. Maybe it’s the diet; not grass or slop, but florae found in a quest to survive. Maybe it’s the thrill of the chase, every bite bringing back memories of the noble creature that rewarded you with its body like a soft eight at last call. It’s probably the fact that you spent your time and resources on the hunt rather than trekking down to a packed market and sorting through scraps. That bison on the wall is your trophy, and its meat is your calling. Enjoy the feast, you badass..
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