The UK's biggest and best festival dedicated to meat has some pretty out-there dishes this year
Imagine if there was a theme park for meat. A whole venue dedicated to the delights of grilling, barbecuing, roasting, smoking and frying, with a load of chefs from all over the world creating menus and dishes all focused around the one ingredient?
Well, guess what? It exists. Well, once a year it does. Meatopia is back for its third year on 19th-20th September at London's Tobacco Dock to give everyone a one-way ticket to meat heaven.
Essentially, if you don't leave there with the meat sweats, they've done something wrong.
One of the #meatbosses behind the event is Richard H Turner, who's not exactly a newbie when it comes to throwing a steak on a grill. In his time he's been the executive chef at Hawksmoor and director of both Pitt Cue Co and fancy butchers Turner & George, as well as publishing two books and constantly travelling the world to find the greatest undiscovered chefs, ingredients and dishes.
We decided to grill the meat man on what we should be getting excited about at his upcoming orgy of meat.
1. Goat shawarma
"I'm really excited by this – I did a tour of the Middle East recently to research it and it’s just extraordinary. There definitely seems to be a trend for Middle Eastern-style barbecues, like Berber & Q, which has opened up recently in east London. This is because the Middle East is rich pickings for barbecue – we're always looking for a new slant on barbecuing and for me, at the moment, it's really up there."
2. Clinched meat
"Hawksmoor are doing a giant tomahawk steak – an on-the-bone rib steak – which will be clinched. That means you cook it at a low heat, high up on the barbecue and when it’s cooked through slowly and is very tender, you chuck it into the coals. When you close the gap between the flame and the meat, you get a very different cooking process and the outside of it is caramelised intensely, which makes for a more flavoursome, crunchy crust to the beef. The charcoal sticks to the meat, so you have to bash it off before you eat it. It’s very tasty and is a completely different flavour from a normal steak.
Not everyone knows how to do it – it sounds simple, but it’s actually quite a skill. I’ve been practising in various different countries for a few years and it’s taken me a little while to get it perfect, so there's a lot more to it than it sounds like. I had to teach myself how to do it."
3. Goat offal
"This dish is goat offal, which is spit-roasted over charcoal – there will be liver, kidneys, heart. If it’s supposed to be in there, it’s on there. Mind you, I can’t do testes or eyes, but everything else I’m happy with."
"This is a cut of meat we'd call the rump cap, but the Brazilians call it picanha. André Lima de Luca is a Brazilian chef, and he’s coming over to cook it. While I was in Brazil he cooked me this at his ranch – it's a particularly Brazilian cut, we don’t use it so much over here and it's got quite an unusual preparation as it's double-cooked. So Andre seals off the picanha, then he slices it, then he grills it again. It's amazing."
5. Reindeer-heart ceviche
"This is from a chef from Finland called Matti Hurttia. I’m yet to try it – but I’ll gird my loins for it."
Vegetarian? Yeah, you might want to give this event a miss.