Unleash Your Inner Carnivore at Meatopia

eHow Food Blog

Our resident meat and man food expert Josh Ozersky is throwing a big party in Brooklyn on Saturday: Meatopia, the self-proclaimed “Woodstock of Edible Animals.”

This Bacchanalian blowout will feature 48 of the most talented meat chefs in the country, cooking pretty much every meat under the sun. Several animals will be roasted on spits. Offal will have a healthy presence. It will be nearly impossible to leave without trying something new … but for the faint of heart, there will be carnivore classics like ribs, pulled-pork sandwiches and jerk chicken. (Check out the full menu and list of participants, and do watch the awesome event trailer, which includes a theme song.)

Josh started Meatopia eight years ago as a smaller affair for meat-minded friends (previous themes included “Lamb,  Bam, Thank You Ma’am” and “Slaughter of the Innocent” featuring only baby animals), but this year the event grew up. Josh teamed up with big-deal culinary event producers CREaM, opened up tickets to the public, and signed on sponsors like Amstel Light and Whole Foods Market.

Besides the food and free-flowing beer, there will be complimentary FIJI water, Honeydrop icea teas and fruit juices, and Philadelphia’s Capogiro gelato. A half-dozen farmers be on hand to discuss how the meat was raised, and there will be live music.

Meatopia kicks off tomorrow, July 23, at 5:30 PM at Brooklyn Bridge Park (Pier 5). Tickets start at $85 and are available online and at the door. We caught up with Josh before the madness began to get an insider’s view of the meaty feast.

So… why Meatopia?

I felt that people weren’t eating enough meat, and that the meat that they were eating wasn’t good enough.  I wanted to encourage them to eat better meat that had led better lives and cooked in better ways. I wanted to take all the great meat chefs and put them together in one place and create a critical meat mass.

How has Meatopia evolved over the years?

The first Meatopia was just a book party where I got Katz’s salami, Charles’ fried chicken in Harlem, and chicharrones from Spanish-American place. Then we held it at Water Taxi Beach and had six or seven of the best chefs in town to all do different courses.

It’s now gotten to the point where it’s become a temporary world capital of carnivorous gastronomy. There will be 48 chefs plus an 11,000 pound steer.

Speaking of: I read your blog post on the challenges of cooking that massive beast. Have you settled on a method?

Pat LaFrieda is cooking it in a giant steel box roasted over coals. They’re making a marrow and onion sauce, served on little brioche buns for roast beef sandwiches.

You have clearly eaten your fair share of meat over the years. Has anything ever surprised you?

I was surprised at how amazing Seamus Mullen’s lamb was the first year. He glazed it with Pedro Ximenez vinegar and it really knocked me out. I couldn’t believe how good it was. This year I’m expecting to be a little surprised — it’s the first year there will be dishes I haven’t tried before that were created for Meatopia. But no. Nothing has really shocked me.

You gotta admit, there are some unusual things on the menu … like two renditions of pig’s head.

I’m only turned on and made hungry by that. It doesn’t surprise me — it fills me with a sense of longing.

I feel like I have to ask: What’s the vegan reaction?

The vegans weren’t happy with me this year, went so far as to make the site protestmeatopia.com. They applied to hand out leaflets promoting the consumption of leaves. You know, they really believe in their vegetables. So much by all means let them come out and try to persuade people to not eat the pork, beef, lamb, chicken, goat, sausage, veal, duck, and quail that will be served so appealingly.

Anything else you want to add?

It is going to be hot tomorrow, but it will be cooler by the the river. Come beat the heat by eating the meat.

Follow the event’s progress on Twitter @meatopia. Want more Josh? Watch him grill the perfect burger, cook a rendition on bacon and eggs he got from a pork farmer, rhapsodize on ribs, and more.

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