With the possible exception of smartphone technology, nothing’s seen more practical advances this millennium than food.
While it’s true that much of that progress involves vegan, vegetarian and low-meat consumption, carnivory has also seen an impressive evolution.
Bacon-wrapped sausage, sausage-stuffed tenderloin, tenderloin burger on a fried-chicken bun — eating in the United States is becoming less a matter of sustenance than a game of meat Tetris.
Perhaps in response to years of demonization by health experts, the whole nation has gone meat crazy.
Of course, some parts of the country are more flesh-obsessed than others.
To determine the hierarchy of meat cities, we convened a caucus of nine experts in beef, burgers and barbecue for their top 10s, and made that half of our final score.
Then we factored in per capita meat consumption, drawing from USDA and Nielsen sales figures and survey responses provided by health assessment platform Sharecare.
Finally, we threw in the number of steakhouses (BBQ and burger joints aren’t tracked), as determined by market research firm NPD Group, and the number of events staged to celebrate seared animals.
The following are our findings.
Some are expected, some may be shocking.
All are canon.
12. Omaha, Nebraska
Nebraska is the nation’s No. 2 beef producer, with 93% of its available land in one way or another used to house, feed or process cattle.
So, between cows and corn, there’s really only room left in the state for the restaurants that serve the two.
Of those, Rick Browne, editor in chief of Barbecue Americamagazine, recommends Johnny’s Cafe, a third-generation family-owned steakhouse near the Omaha Stockyards that’s been in business for nearly a century.
Johnny’s is notable for “a Chateaubriand and a one-pound prime rib that are pricey, but absolutely worth every penny,” says Browne, “and both are aged right in the restaurant.”
Coincidentally, this is also the home of Omaha Steaks, the most iconic name in American steak, if there can be such a thing.
Biggest among Omaha’s annual meat-centric events are Ak-Sar-Ben’s (Nebraska backwards) River City Rodeo and theSeptemberfest BBQ and Rib Eye Steak Cookoff Challenge.
Plus, the city’s indoor football team is called the Omaha Beef.