A meating of minds and stomachs

MoB | Photo Essay: Meatopia, a Carnival of Carnivorism

Culture By Photo by Eric Yang

It’s heaviest rainstorm of the year in New York City. Driving north from midtown Manhattan we can see menacing clouds lurking over Randall’s Island Park, just across the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge from East Harlem. Randall’s Island is home to a major track and field stadium, the Manhattan Psychiatric Center, and the Wards Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. It is also the venue for today’s event, Meatopia, arguably the most important organized affair for preparing and consuming various types of cooked animal flesh — also the only one we know about. The GP team’s consensus regarding rainfall: Hey, more meat for us.

Our photo essay continues after the jump.

Meatopia is the brainchild of Josh Ozersky, food writer and former editor of New York Magazine’s “Grub Street” blog. It began as his birthday party nine years ago. In 2012 it is a ticketed event with roughly 38 chefs from around the world, three bands, one butchering contest, countless animal bones decorating the festival grounds, and a thousand pound steer lifted by forklift onto the “LaFrieda Meat Box,” Pat LaFrieda’s custom all-steel La Caja China-style cooking apparatus.

The rain lets up a bit as it gets dark. We’ve walked from tent to tent, eating Danish meatballs with creamy dill sauce, beef shin bourguignon, Uruguayan-style lamb asado, grilled rib steak with bone marrow butter, mini Balkan burgers, smoked duck neck gumbo, scrapple sliders, a slab of LaFrieda’s steer, and lots more. Inside one tent we find a sausage topping bar, at which the number and complexity of options is staggering. Bewildered and full, we decide to head home. The Month of Beef is a marathon, not a sprint.