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Guest Post by Nick Joseph

The Meat Lover: teased by friends for needing meat with every meal, scorned by an entire community of vegans with bones so brittle they break when they laugh too hard, and tormented by doctors for having high cholesterol levels.

Meat Lovers are usually a bit more robust than others, and in a heartier way: they laugh harder, drink darker beers and finer wines, and are just a plain joy to be around.

After all, what’s more fun than hanging around someone who’d rather have a turkey leg in their hand than a cell phone?

Gregarious as they are, though, the Meat Lover is actually a sensitive soul, and is by very definition your good friend. They don’t like seeing you down, they hate sad movies, and if you ever need anyone to come to your defense, they’re usually the first in line.

But, the Meat Lover is a special breed. While they love all meat, to them, nobody does meat better than they do; they love nothing more than standing over a blazing hot grill or temp-controlled smoker on a Weekend Afternoon, smelling the smoke as the fat douses the coals beneath. That’s their Six Flags; their Mardi Gras; their… vacation and dream all wrapped into one.

They’re really not hard to please, so you can get them pretty much any gift come their birthday or anniversary. But, why not give them a gift that is near and dear to their hearts? Something that’s not a belt, or a package of undershirts, but a gift with some real meaning? Something like:

1. A MEAT GRINDER

Telling the Meat Lover in your life you trust them with grinding their own meats for sausages and hamburgers is unadulterated carnivorous flirtation: they’ve always wanted to grind their own meats, but were afraid to tell people, worried they’d be teased for going ‘too far.’

There is no ‘too far’ for a Meat Lover; they want to get down and dirty with their own meats, exploring as many new ways to cook and prepare them as possible, and getting them a grinder is your telling them, ‘Hey: Go for it!”

And with the grinder, be sure to include varying Meat Grinder Plates(the disks with the little holes through which the ground meat passes), a stuffing tube (the thing they use to push their cubed meat through to the grinding worm that drives the meat to the knife and plate), and some hog casings packed in salt.

Yes, fresh casings are preferred, but kept in salt, they last longer, and it will take some time for the Meat Lover to build the courage to actually try grinding their own meat.

2. A CHART SHOWING FROM WHERE THE CUTS OF MEAT COME

Meat is more than food to The Meat Lover, it is a passionate fascination and hobby; in fact, ‘Meat Enthusiast’ may be the more appropriate term.

Much like the grinding mentioned above, the Meat Lover will eventually entertain the notion of one day buying an entire side of meat and cutting it to their own liking. You can’t fight it; that’s just the natural progression of things.

Giving them a meat chart will allow them something to reference in case they ever decide to take that next step.

Plus, they don’t put this thing on their Christmas lists or tell anybody about it because they’re afraid people will think they’re crazy. If you give them one of these, this will be you telling them you understand, and they will forever love you for it.

3. A GIFT CERTIFICATE TO THE LOCAL BUTCHER SHOP

Getting your Meat Lover a fifty- or sixty-dollar gift certificate to the local butcher is better than giving a kid free range at a candy store.

True, gift certificates are usually the most impersonal thing you can do for someone, the equivalent of saying, ‘Here, you go get it.’

But with a gift certificate to a local butcher shop, they can go and get cuts of meat from right off the animal and talk to their Meat King – the Butcher – about different ways to prepare their fresh cut.

No other place offers Meat Lovers the opportunity to talk shop like this, and they are sure to get more out of it than a simple shopping trip.

Plus, there is the added bonus of the chance that the Butcher will… offer them a tour of the shop.

Showing them the process from pasture to plate is every Meat Lover’s Valhalla, and something they’ll never forget.

Even if they used to be Butchers themselves, the Meat Lover misses that job, as nothing else offers that kind of satisfaction to them.

Heck: it might even bring a tear to their eye.

4. A GOOD MEAT THERMOMETER

Internal temperature is everything to meat, as it determines its texture and the consistency of its fat content. All those different meat preparations – rare, medium-rare, etc. – are all separated by just a few degrees.

If someone says they like their beef steak medium-rare, they want it between 135 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit; let that sucker slip up to 141 degrees, and you’re playing with Medium Land, and a dinner of half-smiles and resentment.

A good meat thermometer takes out all the guesswork, and when inserted into the meat, leaves only a small, insignificant hole. Why’s that important? Well, Mister Vegetarian, that’s important because cooking seals in the meat’s juices, and the trick is to keep them in there without letting them escape.

If you cut into your steak to check its doneness, you break that seal, and allow the juices to escape. A simple hole poked into the top won’t free too much moisture, and it will give the cook an idea of precisely when to remove the meat for serving.

Affordable and practical, this is a ‘Can’t Miss’ item for any Meat Lover.

5. FLEUR DE SEL

French for “The Flower of the Sea,” this salt is simply sublime. Cultivated from the ocean, sea water is dried out in large salt pans and a salt begins to form. Fleur de sel is quite literally the cream of the salt, as it is hand-harvested from the top of the salt layer before it sinks to the bottom of the pan.

Salt

While it can be used in cooking, it is at its best when used as a garnishing salt over freshly grilled meats. Since it is already pretty moist, it won’t dissolve easily on the meat, leaving a slightly crunchy yet ever-so-lovely saltiness on the palate of the person lucky enough to be eating that steak.

The Meat Lover knows this, and is (or will soon be) well aware of its effects. While some Fleur de Sel salts are gray in color, some can be pink, and others are a wonderful snow white.

Whichever one you get them doesn’t matter; when using a pinch over freshly grilled or broiled steak, each will take the meat from sublime to ethereal.

So, there you have it: 5 things you can get any Meat Lover in your circle of friends that will make them feel special, and endear you to them forever.

(And get you a nice steak in the process…)

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