Few Southern exports are more beloved than barbecue–besides the folks who smoke it. Meatopia is an annual New York City gathering of these carnivorous contemporaries (pitmasters, butchers, and meat-minded chefs) celebrating the consumption of cruelty-free, hormone-free and antibiotic-free meat. This event is the brainchild of Josh Ozersky, a James Beard Award-winning food writer and unapologetic carnivore who recently parodied PETA with META–Meatopians for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. But what began as a humble block party has parlayed into a genuine protein-palooza, complete with live music, cooking and butchering demos, free flowing beer taps, and other events.
This year marks the event’s ninth year—and the South got its due. The 2012 Meatopia theme was “Meatopia: City of Meat,” and The Fatback Collective —a group Southern chefs and pitmasters devoted to bringing barbecue beyond Southern borders—was one of the highly-anticipated headliners. While Meatopia favors all forms of meaty fare including quail, turkey, and belt-busting portions of beef, The Fatback Collective menu was an homage to hogs, with Whole Roasted Mangalista Pork Rack, Barbecued Fatback Farms Whole Hog, and Cochon Butcher Boudin on the menu.
Among the barbecue brethren of the Fatback Collective—including Sean Brock, Ashley Christensen, among others—is Ryan Prewitt of Link Restaurant Group (as in Donald Link). We decided to follow Ryan on his gastronomic journey through Meatopia, from the first fire forged, until the last ember died.
The amount of antacids to follow remains unknown.
8:45 a.m. – A sad breakfast sausage at the hotel.
9:45 a.m. – Fatback Collective pitmaster Rodney Scott’s cracklins.
10:30 a.m. – Spicy pickle chips in a massive rainstorm.
11:30 a.m. – Boudin from Cochon Butcher.
12:30 p.m. – More cracklins.
2:30 p.m – Cracklins.
2:45 p.m. – Pork rack taste test. It’s good.
3:45 p.m – Grilled tomahawk chop with chimichuri from Marc Forgione.
4 p.m. – Pork ribs marinated in fish sauce, coconut water, and chili paste from Scotty Smith – listed as “East-West” BBQ Spare Ribs.
4:30 – Ribeye roast cooked like a steak from Adam Perry Lang. It involves a baseball bat and a hot grill. Use your imagination. Smoked beef ribs on the side.
5 p.m. – Pork finger meat from Naomi Pomeroy.
5:15 p.m – Smoked pork rack and white BBQ sauce from the Fatback Collective.
5:30 p.m. – Boudin. Love this stuff.
6 p.m. – Whole cow from Pat LaFrieda. Enough said.
6:10 p.m – Uruguayan whole roasted lamb from Santiago Garat with lard biscuits.
6:45 p.m – Rotisserie duck from Chef Zak Pelaccio.
7 p.m – Boudin. I can’t stop.
8 p.m. – Smoked brisket from Franklin’s BBQ. Awesome.
10:30 p.m. – Korean fried chicken wings and beer in Korea town.
Meatopia was held on Sep. 8 from 5 to 9 p.m. on Randall’s Island in New York City
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