Ladies and gentlemen, So Good is pleased to announce the premiere of “So Good Presents: Meat Madness.” In this tournament style, 32 meat face-off, So Good readers will vote on what is the greatest meat over the next 25 days.   The bracket of all 32 contenders appears below.  We have 4 regions. The “Red” Meat Region, the Poultry Region, the Pork Region and the Seafood Region.

(Click on bracket to see a larger, easier to read version)


There are no rules and no criteria other than to answer the question: “What is the #1 meat?” You can base your vote on taste, cost, convenience, prestige, flavor…anything you want.  Just like the NCAA tournament, when a team from the East coast will randomly get sent into the Western bracket, there are a couple minor exceptions with our regions.  For example, Rabbit has been placed in the Poultry Region and the “Red” Meat Region contains a few reddish meats that technically aren’t actually red meat (Lamb, Veal, Venison).

Obviously March is the time of year when people do brackets for everything – and So Good is no exception. I don’t know if something like Meat Madness has been done before, but this is certainly the debut offering of such a tournament on So Good.  There are similar brackets going on right now, such as Washingtonian’s Burger Bracket to determine the best burger in DC.

On Wednesday we will begin voting on our first round match-ups. Two first round match-ups a day for 8 days, then we move on to the second round.  Finally, thanks must be given to one of my readers, Jenelle, who suggested this idea to me 4-5 months ago.  I’ve patiently been sitting on the idea until the NCAA tournament arrived (which was really tough because I LOVE the idea of  a Meat Madness bracket!).

Click “Read More” to see each Region up close and read a little analysis of some of the early match-ups we have to look forward to.

We have four regions, “Red” Meat Region, Poultry Region, Pork Region and Seafood Region. Let’s take a look at each one.

First up, the “Red” Meat region.  Steak (1), Lamb (2), Ground Beef (3) and Veal (4) are the top 4 seeds in this bracket, and I think there is no doubt that Steak and Ground Beef are forces to be reckoned with.  Will Lamb be able to protect its #2 seed? Or will Corned Beef present a threat in the midst of Lent?  Veal and Buffalo could be an interesting first round match-up as well.


The Poultry region presents us with a wide-range of tasty birds – plus Rabbit.  The top four seeds are Chicken (1), Turkey (2), Duck (3) and Rabbit (4).  Will the more widely used and readily available Chicken and Turkey prove impossible to stop? Or will advocates emerge for more tasty alternatives?


The Pork Region sees a bevy of 8 different meats all coming from the same animal.  The top 4 seeds are Bacon (1), Sausage (2), Prosciutto (3) and Ham (4).  Yes, I am aware that Prosciutto IS Ham, but we are going by the English definition here.  According to Wikipedia, “in English the word is almost always used for an aged, dry-cured, spiced Italian ham that is usually sliced thin and served uncooked.”  Bacon has proven to be the darling of the food blogosphere in the past year, but this bracket is stacked from top to bottom. Potential upsets abound with extremely strong lower seeds in Pulled Pork (5), Pepperoni (6) and Ribs (7).


The Seafood Region is just that – seafood.  The top 4 seeds are Lobster (1), Scallops (2), Salmon (3) and Tuna (4).  Like the Pork Region, this region has depth – Crab (6) and Shrimp (5) look like potential first round sleepers, and Clams (8) and Mussels (7) both certainly have their supporters.


Voting on first round match-ups will begin on Wednesday.  Use the comments on this post to predict potential first round upsets, your pick to win the title, or any debates over seeding.  Let the Meat Madness begin!

110 Responses

  1. Cary

    Lamb vs. Corned Beef is BRUTAL. BRUTAL.

    Both so good for different reasons. This is awesome.

  2. rossitron

    oh man. this is brilliant. you have no idea how happy this makes me.

    one thing i noticed right away is the absence of my favorite fish: trout. then i noticed there there are only two fish in the region and realized that the selection of tasty fish would be endless. there’s really no way to fix that. salmon and tuna are good to have in the mix as top performers from the “fish” league. however, i just had a shark sandwich the other day, and it was awe inspiring. if i could write-in trout and shark, i would.

    just some of my thoughts up front on the current matchups/seedings:

    the poultry bracket is interesting. chicken is at the top, IMHO, because it omnipresent. it is, however, nowhere near my choice for favorite bird to eat. that would be duck. chicken cannot hold a candle to the brilliance in my mouth that duck can create. buffalo wings, though, buffalo wings. hmmm… i don’t know.

    bacon is the heavyweight (facepalm) in the pork region. i’d be surprised if it doesn’t win that bracket. it would probably perform in subsequent rounds as well. i can’t see it losing to the seafood champion. perhaps if it was up against the red meat champion… which might happen in the finals.

    haha, meat bracketology is fun.

    dare i ask, when is veggie madness?

  3. Youppi

    Here are my first round predictions, and I’ll be voting this way too. (PS – thanks Eick, this is better than the NCAA…)

    “Red Meat” Region:

    * Steak over Roastbeef – Both are good in sandwiches, but there aren’t ‘roast beef houses’. Steak wins, easy.
    * Buffalo over Veal – Sorry, buffalo is healthier, and veal is mean. Buffalo gets the win.
    * Ground Beef over Venison – Everyone loves meatballs and burgers, lets not complicate matters. Ground Beef wins.
    *Corned Beef over Lamb – My first upset. Perhaps being from New York skews my view on this, but c’mon! Corned Beef has got to pull this one out!

    Poultry Region:

    * Chicken over Pheasant – No Contest.
    * Rabbit over Ostrich – Bunny is Money.
    * Duck over Cornish Hen – This match up was like shooting ducks — eh, you get it.
    * Turkey over Quail – No upsets in this bracket, people don’t eat Quail for Thanksgiving.

    Pork Region:

    *Bacon over Pork chops – Please. Might as well send Bacon to the final four.
    * Pulled Pork over Ham – Ham is generally gross.
    * Prosciutto over Pepperoni – You did this on purpose, Eick. I love pepperoni, but prosciutto is hands down better.
    * Sausage over Ribs – I love Ribs, but sausage with breakfast, on pizza, in pasta, ‘make your own’… Sausage wins.

    Seafood Region:

    *Lobster over Clams – I like Clams, but Lobster has got to get to Round 2…
    *Tuna over Shrimp – Shrimp comes up just ‘short’ on this one. I would say more people are allergic to it, than to tuna. Plus, it’s a no-go for jews.
    *Crab over Salmon – Soft Shell, Cakes, Soups; Crab was waiting for Salmon, so it could sneak into the next round. Hands down the better of the two.
    *Scallops over Mussles – Everyone on Top Chef loves Scallops. Case Closed. Also, it makes for a better matchup (crab vs. scallops)

  4. the fish enthusiast

    Fish aren’t properly represented here. There’s more in the world than just Tuna and Salmon. Too many mollusks, not enough varieties of fish. Don’t forget to buy some fish. Fish, its yummy.

    -The Shadow Fish Lobby

  5. Eick

    When you see the brackets, it’s ridiculous how stacked the pork region is. Most of those meats might win a first round match-up in any other bracket.

  6. Eick

    @takeaways. Well, Ostrich is in there as a 5 seed. Unfortunately with a 32 meat field, cuts had to be made, and crocodile was sent straight to the NIT along with things like kangaroo and tons of different kinds of fish.

    I could have come up with a 64 meat field, but frankly so many of the opening round match-ups would have been pointless, so I decided to keep it to 32.

  7. Hillary


    In terms of tough choices for me…scallops and mussels are my favorite seafoods, do I really have to knock one out in the first round? Grrr… 😉

  8. Takeaways

    Ah yes I somehow failed to spot the Ostrich on the map. It’s only natural you had to make a selection. Apparently Camel meat is going to become popular in Australia, where they have an overpopulation of those guys. Might even become more popular than Kangaroo haha!

  9. Zach S.

    and not one mention of human?

    Babies. They’re fun to make, they’re fun to eat.

    Hands down it’s Bacon. You can put it on any of the other meats and immediately make it that much better.

  10. Mike

    First off, i have to quarrel with rabbit in the poultry category, but no goose? and how about foie gras specifically?

    and in pork, there’s no jamon iberico! i know that bacon is still the odds-on favorite, but if you’ve tasted jamon, you know that it is the most delicious meat in the world.

    finally, since the NCAA bracket usually has 65 spots to begin with, how about a little something crazy to entice the internet weirdos in the red meat category: a win-and-in matchup between roast beef and HUMAN FLESH.

  11. kalidaemon


    Red meat:
    Steak (1)
    Ground Beef (3)
    Corned Beef (7)

    Fowl are foul. No winners.

    Bacon (1). No contest.
    Ham (4)
    Proscioutto (3)
    Snausages (2)

    Clams (8)
    Tuna (4)
    Salmon (3)
    Scallops (2)

  12. jesuisbete

    Bacon is tasty but it’s not really a stand-alone meat, more of an accoutrement. I can’t see it winning it all. While there’s a lot of room for upsets I’m betting on veal coming out victorious out of the red meat region.

  13. lindner

    oh, man … sausage vs. ribs is very tough call. i’m backing mussels as a cinderella story.

  14. Nathan

    I have to agree that the Lamb vs. Corned Beef is completely unfair. I’ll choose luscious grilled rib chops if I have to, but I’ll still tell corned beef that it wasn’t personal.

    My real problem is with ‘steak’ as a category unto itself. I mean jeez; you should be putting hanger steak up against flank steak…rib eyes against a fillet…porterhouse against tenderloin. Steak deserves its own bracket.

  15. Topchef

    I have done quit a few brackets before, but this has to be one of the toughest. I mean come on pork in general is the reason I get up in the morning. Rabbit, Roast beef, lamb, scallops…etc they are all winners in my book.

  16. dasmueller

    Wow. A really tough one. I can see some problems here. Can we have a meal using all of the groups ? Proscioutto wrapped scallops along w a nice rare grilled steak served w some risotto using chicken broth to bring in the 4th group. Its too tough to call. I think we need to try em all ! This is making me thirsty. Think I will grab a glass of wine and see what I have for leftovers until I can chow down on the champ.

  17. babylonfalling

    Roast beef is good, but steak is better. Tough placing for roast beef which could have gone further, but steak is the hands down winner.

    Buffalo? Come on, is anyone going to vote for it? Veal crushes buffalo.

    Ground beef wins for it’s fantastic versatility.

    Corned Beef is disgusting. Lamb rules. Another crushing victory for Lamb.

    I’m making it tough for you. If it’s supermarket chicken there’s no way I’m voting for it. It’s tasteless rubbish. If it’s a free range chicken, then chicken wins. The taste of pheasant is incredible (in the hands of a good cook or else it goes dry), but the versatility of chicken is far superior. I repeat however, if we’re talking supermarket chicken there’s no way in hell I’m voting for it.

    Rabbit in poultry? Does it have wings? I tastes good though and Ostrich tastes like a rusted iron and is dry as desert grit. I’ve even had Ostrich salami and it tastes nasty too.

    Duck beats Cornish Hen. It’s so damn tasty.

    Quail beats turkey. It’s tough eating quail so it won’t go far (lot of work for little meat), but the meat is so tasty and sweet. Turkey- same deal as chicken, if you like supermarket turkey then you need to learn how to eat. It has no taste and is dry. Good free range turkey is edible, but quail is still better.

    Let’s get bacon out of the way early and I’m ready to talk trash on this one. I know people will disagree, but bacon is nothing but fat and salt and is white trash meat. I know they’re fighting words for some folks, but fat and salt are simplistic tastes for simplistic taste buds. If you choose bacon over pork chops, you have an uncultured pallet. Pork chops are so good, so versatile.

    Ham beats pulled pork for it’s versatility (it can be both a meal and sliced meat).

    Prosciutto kills pepperoni.

    Ribs. What a broad category. Lamb? Beef? Pig? Sausage is good stuff and everyone enjoys a good sausage. Are we comparing sausage to bbq ribs? If so, then go sausage. Bbq ribs are good, but they’re a bit greasy. But if we’re talking a nice simple rack of lamb ribs baked with thyme and olive oil, then this beats sausage.

    Lobster vs clams. Come on. Lobster all the way.

    Tuna vs shrimp. Tuna fish in a can? Disgusting. Slightly seared tuna… good stuff. Both suffer from a varying quality and go from very high quality and great freshness to the most disgusting aspects of industrial fish. I guess I’ll go with tuna.

    Salmon vs crab. Good one. Salmon’s good, but like tuna and shrimp I feel like it’s become an industrial product. And good crab is so damn good. Crab wins.

    Scallops vs mussels. No doubt about it- scallops.

    Question- where is the king of all shellfish. Put me in an oyster bar and let me suck down good raw oysters with a bottle of muscadet.

  18. Eick


    You are totally right that it’s a tough call to have steak be it’s own seed. The first version I drew up had different cuts of steak, from filet mignon to porterhouse. Ultimately though, I felt that crowded things out, and I had to drop that idea in order to accommodate the seafood bracket and other meats.

  19. lno

    The problem here is picking who I want to win vs who I think will win. #2 lamb vs #7 corned beef is tough, but lamb will make it to the Elite 8 only to lose to #1 steak. That’s just a given.

    For the poultry… #1 chicken is ripe for an upset. Too bland, too traditional, too simple. #8 pheasant will take it down right away. I’m calling #3 duck the winner there.

    Seafood? A joke. Where’s the whitefish? Clams, crabs, lobster, scallops, mussels, shrimp? Salmon or lobster will take this one.

    The pork will be the toughest. Pulled pork will upset ham, and pepperoni has a shot at proscuitto, and ribs over sausage… but clearer heads will prevail, and that’ll end up with #1 bacon beating #2 sausage. That really should go the other way, but the blogosphere’s love of bacon pushes it over the top.

    #1 steak beats #3 salmon, #1 bacon beats #3 duck, and again thanks to the intarblags, #1 bacon will beat #1 steak.

    But steak or sausage still deserves to win!

  20. suicide_blond

    you’ve cost me a whole days worth of production…my entire staff is filling out their brackets…and debating the outcome of the inevitable bacon lobster match up!!
    great job….

  21. nscates08

    prosciutto will/should destroy peperoni. Go to your local grocer and have them shave off a piece of that fresh prosciutto and see if you can keep yourself from having them shave off a 1/4 pound of this $15.00/lb meat. For those of you voting on price however, peperoni is your vote.

    But I’m predicting an upset that ribs will take sausage. Every summer someone has a “ribfest” going down somewhere in their vicinity. Restaurants and bbq joints come from miles around to out grill, out smoke, out sauce the other using ribs as that messy but delicious vehicle. I predict it contending with bacon in the elite 8.

  22. Miles

    Lamb is great, but corned beef is not disgusting!

    Supermarket sliced lunch meat corned beef is gross….but delicatessen corned beef, done right and Kosher style, or as a brisket….Dee-LISH!


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