If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll already know about Eat with Ellen’s love of all things meat. If you haven’t, then let me warn you. This blog isn’t always ideal reading material if you’re vegetarian. We’ve had steak at Miller & Carter, burgers at the Rose Villa Tavern, ribs at Nosh & Quaff, and a trip to the Grillstock festival in Bristol.
And when it comes to meat-loving – this post is another prime example. We’ve actually been to Meatopia before. Last year was our first year at the famous festival at Tobacco Dock, and only the second year of the event’s UK version. It started in the States 10 years ago – the creation of food writing legend Josh Ozersky. It was originally meant as his own meat-loving birthday party and grew to become a full ticketed event.
It’s a festival of ethically-sourced meat, cooked over wood and charcoal by some of the world’s best chefs. Not to mention the drink, demonstrations and music. 2015 may have just been the third UK event, but for those who organised it, it was a particularly poignant occasion, because Ozersky died this year. Meatopia was a salute to him and his creation and he definitely wasn’t far from people’s thoughts. I’ll let you watch the video at the bottom of this post to hear more about Josh himself and what he meant to everyone, but it’s safe to say that the fabulous day we had was a great memorial to a man who was renowned the world over.
On to the meat. If you haven’t read my previous post on Meatopia and don’t know how it works, basically each day more than 20 chefs create a signature dish cooked over fire. No gas, no gadgets, just coals, fire and all that primal caveman stuff that makes us love a barbecue. You buy meat bucks for a fiver each (yes, it’s not cheap, so don’t go expecting that) and each dish costs a ‘buck’. In the meantime you enjoy the bars, bands, DJs, and demos on offer.
So, after we watched the weekend open with touching tributes from master of ceremonies Christian Stevenson, AKA DJ BBQ (yes I have spoken about him before), and food critic Jay Rayner (who you’ve also heard me talk about before), we got going. We had plenty to look forward to on the Saturday, with 25 chefs cooking 9 different types of meat in all sorts of ways. To save our bucks, my meat-loving gang clubbed together so we could try as many different dishes as possible.
So, here we go. Some of it is a bit vague – yes I enjoyed the drink as much as the meat – but I reckon these pictures will give you a bit of a flavour for what we enjoyed. We munched on lamb fillets cooked directly on coals from Hang Fire Smokehouse, tender goat from Cabrito Goat, and a huge stack of different pork cuts, delicately titled ‘A Fistful of Pigs’, from Flamin’ Liberty. Bourbon glazed Tomahawk surf-n-turf from Heddon St Kitchen was rather impressive, with a few lucky punters grabbing the bone itself to munch on as they wandered around.
Twice-cooked duck with a pineapple and shiso relish from Flesh & Buns had a nice tang to it, while Picanha with Farofo and Lardo di Colonnata Dip from Andre de Luca had a beautifully intense flavour.
For me, the favourite of the day was Hus Vedat’s Anatolian Spiced Flat Iron Steak with Babaganoush and Freekeh (an ancient grain that appears to have been making a bit of a comeback). The tender meat, with the smokiness of the aubergine and the Arabic spices was a brilliant combination. Really delicious.
Now, as I said, some of it is a bit hazy, so I’m not going to write reams and reams, just let you browse some delicious pictures. Needless to say, we had a brilliant day at Meatopia. We ate some great food, feasted our senses on the sights, sounds and smells of delicious meat cooking over fire, grills and coals, and had a ball. Needless to say, we’ll be back.
What a great day. If you want to hear a bit more about Josh Ozersky and Meatopia from some of the main men themselves, check out this video…
We paid for everything we had at Meatopia. Only some of them knew I was a blogger – including DJ BBQ!