National Meat Month is celebrated in January every year. This month-long celebration of meat is an opportunity for people across the country to share their favorite meat dishes. Restaurants may feature special dishes throughout the month to celebrate fresh cuts of meat and their signature preparations. National Meat Month is an opportunity to celebrate the rich diversity of meat and meat-based dishes found across the country, as well as the robust meat industry that feeds the majority of the population.
History of National Meat Month
People have been eating meat since prehistoric times. With the domestication of animals, humans were able to incorporate more meat into their diets. Domesticated animals like chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, cows, and buffalos became the primary sources of meat in human diets. Other common sources of meat include horses, deer, and camels — depending on the region.
Meat commonly refers to the flesh of animals. This also includes sea animals like fish, dolphins, and whales. While meat may be eaten raw, it is primarily eaten cooked and seasoned since meat spoils quickly if not processed and stored correctly. High-quality meats like beef can be eaten lightly cooked. Poultry needs to be fully cooked to be edible. Fish is frequently served raw, like in East Asian preparations of sashimi and nigiri.
The primary type of diet is an omnivorous diet, where people eat meat and vegetables. Some people may choose to be vegetarians, who eat no meat at all, or vegans, who do not eat anything that comes from an animal including milk, eggs, and honey. Diets are determined by several reasons including culture, religion, health, and personal preferences.
Meat is high in necessary amino acids like protein, vitamins B12 and B6, phosphorus, riboflavin, and iron. Eating meat has several health benefits. However, like every other food, overconsumption can have negative effects.
National Meat Month timeline
Humans domesticate animals, like sheep and cattle, soon after the development of agriculture.
William Pynchon, a man from Massachusetts, is the first American in the ‘packing’ business, which involves packaging meat.
As the country expands, the demand for meat increases and leads to the development and establishment of cattle ranches to the west of the Mississippi River.
The modern meat industry is highly industrialized and uses technology and equipment in the raising, keeping, and slaughtering of animals, as well as the packaging and processing of meat for consumption.
National Meat Month FAQs
Is meat bad for your health?
Too much meat can affect your cardiovascular health.
Is meat bad for the environment?
The commercial meat industry is one of the largest polluters of the environment, but smaller, more sustainable practices of animal husbandry do exist.
Has the fat content changed?
The fat content of meat available for purchase is determined by consumer demand. Since the 1980s, the percentage has dropped as people became more aware of the health issues caused by animal fat.
National Meat Month Activities
Eat a regional burger
Nothing is as American as a burger. Celebrate this iconic food dish by finding a diner that specializes in your region’s burger, and grab a bite or two!
Find a good butcher
With meat, the quality is important for flavor and safety. Walk across to your local market to find a great butcher who can get you the best quality meat that your money can buy.
Have a cookout
Get your friends together and have a cookout to celebrate all things meat. Get everyone to bring along their favorite cuts and sides, and you will have an incredible feast to celebrate with!
5 Facts About Meat That Will Blow Your Mind
Chicago was an important center for meat
As the meatpacking industry developed, Chicago became an important center and peaked in the 1950s.
Meat consumption increased after the 1960s
This increase in meat consumption has been associated with significant imbalances of fat and cholesterol in the human diet.
Three of Oklahoma’s agricultural products are animals
Cattle, pigs, and chickens are the three major agricultural commodities produced in Oklahoma.
Meat production numbers in the billions
In 2017, the U.S. registered a meat production of 52 billion pounds.
Chicken is the most eaten meat
Apart from chicken, Americans also eat a great deal of beef and pork.
Why We Love National Meat Month
We love to eat meat
We think meat is delicious. There is nothing like a deliciously juicy burger when you are hungry! We love the opportunity to eat as much meat as we like.
We want to find great restaurants
National Meat Month is a great opportunity to go hunting for great food. Restaurants and street vendors pull out all the stops, and we are looking forward to finding some new restaurants to eat at.
We want to learn more about meat
There are a lot of conversations about meat. From the best ways to cook and eat it, to the potential health and environmental impact. We want to learn more about meat and how to eat it.
National Meat Month dates