January is known as National Meat Month.
It’s a great time to pause and take a look at just how much America loves its meat, as well as uncover new ways to enjoy and celebrate it. In fact, during 2012, over 52 billion pounds of meat was consumed in America, for an average of 270.7 pounds consumed per person. Compare that to the worldwide average of 102.5 pounds per person consumed yearly and it’s easy to see where America stacks up.
“Meat is a tradition for many people, as well as a great source of numerous vitamins, minerals, and protein,” says Ryan Fichter, Executive Chef at both the Bodega Spanish Tapas & Lounge and Thunder Burger & Bar. “People may want to expand their horizons this month to see what else is out there, beyond what they are used to eating.”
Here are 5 ways to celebrate National Meat Month:
1. Try something new. Most people tend to stick to eating beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and fish. This month, vow to expand your culinary horizons by trying something new, such as a buffalo or ostrich burger. Seek out exotic meats and sample them, to see if you may want to dine on them more often.
2. Host a potluck. Host a potluck that is focused on everyone’s favorite meat dishes. This will give everyone the opportunity to sample different types of recipes. Have the guests bring a card that has the recipe on it, for those who would like to serve the dish at home.
3. Exchange recipes. Hold a meat recipe exchange. This is similar to the potluck, only you are not having everyone make the dish. This can be done online or in person. Everyone will share their favorite interesting meat-based recipe.
4. Dine Out. There are usually more exotic and interesting meat dishes available when you are dining out than what people are willing to cook at home. This month, opt to dine out at least once to try one of those exotic dishes.
5. Make a family recipe book. This is a great month to gather up all your favorite meat-based family recipes and put them in a collection. That way, future generations have a recipe book filled with family favorite dishes.
“Whether you try one of these ways to celebrate the month or try some other way of your own, have some fun with it,” added Fichter. “Meat is a part of most of our lives, so let’s celebrate it during the month of January. Both of our restaurants will be offering a variety of savory and exotic meat dishes, all month long.”
Try these marinades for your home made meats:
All marinades listed here should house the meat/protein for at least 2 hours, but overnight is best and recommended by Chef Ryan.
1 Large Onion, chopped into chunks (for blender)
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Thumb-sized Piece of Fresh Ginger, peeled and sliced
1 Orange, juiced and zested
14 Cup Soy Sauce
1 T. Black Pepper
Place all ingredients into a blender. Puree and pour over meat.
This marinade is well-suited to lamb and beef – or just about any red meat!
1/4 Cup EVOO
1/8 Cup Sherry Vinegar
1 Shallot, peeled and minced
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Pinch Saffron
1 T. Smoked Paprika
Mix all ingredients together, pour over meat.
ONION-MUSTARD & HERBS MARINADE
1 Vidalia Onion, finely sliced
4 Sprigs Italian Parsley
3 Sprigs Thyme
1 Sprig Rosemary
2 T. Dry Mustard
1 tsp. Course Ground Pepper
2 T. EVOO
Cover meat with dry white wine. Add remaining ingredients and marinate for 2hrs or overnight.
Bodega offers a variety of traditional Spanish dishes, including several varieties of paella, cold and hot tapas, and dishes featuring squid, shark, octopus, cuttlefish, scallops, monkfish, quail, lamb and more. Bodega, located at 3116 M St. NW, offers a happy hour, a weekend brunch and patio seating during nice weather, and serves lunch and dinner daily. For more information on Bodega, visit www.bodegadc.com.
The menu at Thunder Burger features a variety of wild game, including elk, bison, and boar, yet every week they offer “Wild Wednesday.” On that day, beginning at 4:00 p.m., they offer an exotic new flavor that they have searched the globe for. Ranging from alligator ribs and kangaroo sliders, to turtle fritters and boar sausage, many people dine that day to experience something new. Burger is located at 3056 M. St., NW in Washington D.C. Information and reservations can be obtained online at www.thunderburger.com.