This Sunday the annual BBQ celebration Meat Week begins. For 8 nights (when meat is involved a week is 8 days, you have more energy to do more living because of all the protein), people that enjoy savoring pigs and cows will meet for meat at barbeque joints in and around D.C.
We spoke with Meat Week D.C. First Mate Mike Bober about this year’s edition. We asked for 8 (Get it? Something to each night.) tidbits to get people excited to absorb smoked flavors and increase their blood pressure.
How Should People Prepare?
“My advice would be eating a lot of salads,” said Bober. “It’s important to lay down a good base.”
Ron Swanson is a fictional character. Vegetables are important.
For Those That Want To Overindulge
Bober recommends checking out the appetizers at the night one location. “Urban Bar-B-Que has some of the most creative items on their menu.” His picks include the Urban’s Soul Rolls (from the Urban menu: “A BBQ “egg-roll” with chopped BBQ, caramelized onions & 3 cheeses. Served w/ Redneck Fondue for dippin’”) and Smothered Fries. If you’re not going to be satisfied with smoked meats, there’s always deep fried everything else.
Don’t Plan On Meeting Your Life Partner
“If you find someone who shares your passion for barbeque during Meat Week, do yourself a favor and lock that down,” says Bober. Though it’s not common, it’s not impossible that you’ll find the love of your life at a food event. “If you like your significant other to be a person with a healthy appetite and healthy sense of humor, it’s not a bad place to do your searching.”
How Not To Get Burnt Out
“When I’m doing Meat Week full out I try to focus on the specialties of each of the participants. I start with the pork at Urban. I focus on brisket at Hill Country. At Pork Barrel your best bet is whatever their special is, they always offer one of the most comprehensive special, maybe go in with the thought of sharing with others.” Simple put, “focus on what’s different.”
When asked if there’s a certain cocktail or beer Bober thinks belongs with Meat Week, he kept things simple. “The week is all about the barbeque so you kinda want to keep the outside flavors to a minimum. Just an American tap beer, your Budweiser, Shiner if you’re at Hill Country, those beers have a smooth enough flavor that they’re not going to amp up your barbeque enjoyment, but it’s also not going to pull you out of the experience.”
We tend to side with Bober, Meat Week is about the meat, not the treats after the meat. “The are others that want to chase the barbeque with sweet and I’m not going to judge. If I’m going to add anything other than smoked meat to my menu during the week, it’s ideally something green and/or growing in the ground.” Once again, Ron Swanson is a fictional character.
Everyone Should Get Along
When asked about Meat Free Week, Bober had kind words. “We welcome them! They started largely in response to use so if we can still exist they can still exist. I don’t know if our ceasing to exist would require then to cease to exist. If their existence is dependent on us, I guess we can say you’re welcome”
“You can enjoy Meat Week and still appreciate Meat Free Week but it doesn’t seem that the opposite is true. We’re very much of an, “each to their own” mindset.”
“The only deeply held conviction that we have is that barbeque is amazing and more people should experience it.”
Meat Week Is Not Just A D.C. Thing
Meat Week begin in 2005 in Tallahassee, Florida by co-workers Chris Cantey and Erni Walker. They like barbeque and quickly found out other people like barbeque. D.C. was one of the first expansion cities. We asked Bober where he would spend Meat Week outside of D.C. “There are probably two. New York City has had a really successful Meat Week for quite a while and the other is San Antonia, Texas. Those guys have a very committed team and they get a lot of local support.”
“Los Angeles does really well because the founders are located there. We also have a lot of respect for the guys in Baltimore. They actually started the year before we did.”
Meat Week begins this Sunday and runs through Super Bowl Sunday. For a complete list of events and participating cities, visit MeatWeek.com.