The Annual Meat Conference is well known for its 'protein palooza,' an exhibit hall full of protein samples to showcase the latest and greatest. While the event had to take a brief hiatus due to COVID-19, it's back and it lived up to all expectations.

I began working for WATT Global Media in November 2019, so this was my first opportunity to experience this. It reminded me a bit of Greek Easter, where you end up eating more than you intended and leaving feeling gloriously full. (I'll be able to eat again sometime tomorrow, I hope.)

I sampled a range of proteins -- from chicken to beef to pork -- in tacos, sausages, gumbo and all of the cuts imaginable.

A different kind of drumstick

One of my favorite discoveries was Chicken Stixx. The brand's tagline is "chicken drumstick lollipops." To me, it looked like a smaller version of the giant turkey leg you find at Disney World.

Chicken Stixx are pre-trimmed for the cook's convenience and featured drumsticks pushed up on the bone. I'd originally worried that the bone would be too hot to pick up, but I had no problem.

The meat was delicious and juicy all by itself, but I'll admit that I couldn't help topping it with some barbeque sauce from the nearby Wahlburgers booth. I think it would also be delicious with a range of sauces. 

I could definitely see myself eating these again in the future -- and I feel like this would be a great (and less messy) way to serve chicken wings at parties. 

According to the brand's website, Chicken Stixx are available at Costco's throughout the U.S.