Our Favorite Gifts for Meat Lovers
We all know some particularly meat-crazy folks for whom there is no greater gift in the world than a well-cooked steak or rack of barbecued ribs. Our collection of gifts for meat lovers includes a few edible items—jamón ibérico and real slow-smoked brisket from Louie Mueller in Texas, for two. But if you’re shopping for someone who loves both meat and puttering around in the kitchen, why not invest in their omnivorous future by giving them the tools with which to make their own tasty morsels? We’ve got equipment in a whole range of price points and needs, from a simple carving knife to a fancy electric smoker. Here are just a few select options—no, choice finds—no, prime present ideas! They’re all gifts of the finest grade—you’ll see.
An Immersion Circulator
So you’ve got a friend who does a lot of messing around with meat, but doesn’t yet own an immersion circulator? Pick them up an Anova. It may seem kind of fussy or just plain unnecessary, but the results speak for themselves: Though there are other reliable ways to cook a two-inch-thick steak perfectly, there certainly is no easier way.
But that’s not all a circulator can do. From the most tender brisket and superlative carnitas to excellent sausages, sous vide cooking offers up a whole lot of potential to improve your meat-eating life, with just a little know-how and guidance required. It’s useful for cooking seafood and even vegetables, too.
An Electric Smoker
An electric smoker is a piece of equipment that’s perfect for anyone who loves the heady smoke of barbecue, yet lacks the outdoor space to do it the old-fashioned way. Our friends over at AmazingRibs.com recommend Char-Broil’s WiFi-enabled digital electric smoker for a couple reasons, mainly because they find it delivers about as well as an electric smoker can on the performance end, at a relatively low price. One of the great advantages of this specific smoker is its ease of use, which makes it ideal for someone who’s just getting into smoking things like jerky and bacon.
A Meat Grinder
Grinding your meat yourself is the surest path to cooking great burgers at home, but it also opens up a wonderful world of homemade sausages, kebabs, meatloaf and meatballs and meatloaf-steaks. (Listen to me when I tell you to make that last recipe. It is insanely good. Like, I literally lost my mind when I ate it.) This grinder does a fine job of grinding meat, sure, but if you’ve ever used an old-school meat grinder, then you’ll know that its true defining feature is the suction-cup base (solid as a rock!). For those lucky people out there with a KitchenAid stand mixer, we recommend getting them the food grinder attachment, though, really, the manual one is considered a tad better ’round these parts.
A Carving Knife
A nice knife is a welcome gift for any cook, and that’s as true of a carving knife as it is of a paring knife, a chef’s knife, or a Japanese boning knife. After assessing all the carving knives on the market, we found our favorite to be this Wüsthof. If we’d been around back in the day, this West Wing bit with Charlie and President Bartlet would’ve been a whole lot shorter.
An Attractive Carving Board
You can’t carve a roast without a knife, but you also can’t carve a roast without a carving board—practically speaking, anyway. At the very least, a pretty board adds to the celebratory ambience of serving up a big ol’ hunk of meat to your guests. A key feature of this board, aside from its ample size, is that it’s made out of relatively lightweight teak, which means it’s perfect for displaying your prime rib or crown roast to the adoring and hungry hordes before slicing.
Books, Books, Books
Just ’cause they love meat doesn’t make them a meathead. Or does it? The answer has been greatly complicated by the existence of Meathead Goldwyn’s eponymous book, Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling, which is, for lack of a better description, the only book you’ll ever need to gain a firm grasp on the whys and wherefores of cooking meat over fire. It’s kind of like The Food Lab for live-fire cooking. Speaking of, any meat aficionado who doesn’t already own The Food Lab could use it, too, since Kenji’s book goes into plenty of depth on techniques for cooking steaks, chicken, chops, and more.
For the more adventuresome meat-eater looking for a change of cooking pace, might I suggest Fergus Henderson’s The Complete Nose to Tail: A Kind of British Cooking? The recipes are as good as they are (sometimes) outré, but keep in mind that we all used to eat a lot more of the off parts of animals—the tails, the ears, and the snouts—and that, while there’s more than one way to cook a liver and several ways to cook kidneys, there really is only one way to eat a duck heart, and that’s fried in butter with a little vinegar and set on a nice bit of toast.
Finally, for the true meat fanatic who wants to know everything about how to get the best of their favorite food and feel good about it, we recommend Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat. There’s very little about meat of any kind that is not contained within its covers.
But Wait, There’s More!
We’re not done. You can find plenty more gift ideas for the meat lover right this way »