By Allison Levine, Foodable Contributor
Editor's Note: Shortly after this piece was published, we are sad to report that Josh Ozersky, founder of Meatopia, passed away suddenly. Our thoughts go out to his loved ones during this difficult time.
As a meat eater, when you see a description for an event that says, “If you are vegan, stop reading this now – this is not for you,” your eyes will light up. What is better than an event that celebrates all things meat? Nothing. Welcome to Meatopia.
Meatopia is the brainchild of award-winning writer and Esquire’s Editor-at-Large Josh Ozersky. An annual event that was created ten years ago in New York, Ozersky brought Meatopia to Pebble Beach Food and Wine festival this year for an informal evening on the beach.
The rules of Meatopia are simple. Representing every kind of animal, the meat used is meat that we can all feel good about - certified cruelty-free, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free meat. These are animals that have lived well and died respectfully. And, as an all-natural event, the chefs can use wood logs, chunks or lump hardwood charcoal as their only cooking fuels (no gas, electricity or propane is allowed). The chefs are also encouraged to celebrate the entire animal.
Ozersky handpicked eight chefs from around the country to participate at the Meatopia in Pebble Beach. It was an opportunity to showcase talented chefs who are at their creative heights. Each chef was behind the grill, working on a unique dish that they created using lamb, beef, goat, pig, fish or prawns. Meatopia is an event that brings chefs to consumers and makes them and their food accessible to all.
Below is a list of the participating Meatopia chefs and their meat-centric dishes
Chad Colby (chi Spacca, Los Angeles) – Costata alla Fiorentina prime dry-aged bone-in New York
Gabi Quiñónez-Denton and Greg Denton (Ox, Portland) – Certified Piedmontese Boneless Beef Short Rib with Peanut Relish and Cherry-Habanero Hot Sauce
Andre Lima de Luca (Bos BBQ, Brazil) – Picahna with Lardo Dip
John Tesar (Knife and the Highland, Dallas) – Fire Roasted Steamship Round “Souvlaki” Syle
Kevin Gillespie (Gunshow, Atlanta) – Slow Roasted Pork Belly with pickled apples and smoked peanut butter
Jonathan Roberts (PigWizard, Monterey) – Pulled Pork and Coleslaw with Porkcorn
Chef Jose Garces (Amada) - El Cabrito Baby Goat Tacos with Black Beans and Orange Habanero Sauce
Seamus Mullen (Tertulia, NY) – Spit Roasted Whole Lamb with Pedro Ximenez Glaze and cabbage salad
Matt Accarrino (SPQR, San Francisco) – Spit Roasted Passmore Ranch Sturgeon with salsa verde and cracklins
Zakary Pelaccio (Fish & Game, NY) – Grilled Monterey Bay Spot Prawn with Mule Foot Pork and Herbed Rice Salad
While there was not a dish to be missed at the event, there were a few standouts. Zakary Pelaccio’s tender, perfectly grilled, almost sweet Grilled Monterey Bay Spot Prawn might very well have been the favorite of the night.
But the two most unique dishes of the night were Matt Accarrino’s cracklin, made from the skin of the sturgeon and then topped with sturgeon caviar eggs, and Jonathan Robert’s porkcorn. Jonathan took the pork cracklin and added a caramel bacon demi-glaze and Firestone ale to make one of the most addicting highlights of the night. Who knew you could even make porkcorn?