It’s 1pm on Sunday afternoon and Andre Lima De Luca has already sold out. Luckily I’ve been at Meatopia since 10.30am, and the Brazilian meat maestro’s Delmonico steak with wasabi salsa verde was my breakfast.
Now I’m onto a silky bone marrow crÃƒÂ¨me brÃƒÂ»lÃƒÂ©e; the creation of Angie Mar from The Beatrice Inn in NYC. It tastes of brown sugar and wood smoke, and is strikingly served inside a length of the bone from whence the marrow came.
With its burnished mahogany sugar crust, it’s garnering even more attention than the full sleeve of meat-themed (temporary) tattoos I’m sporting, supporting the London Log Company. Outside in The Woodshed, head honcho Mark’Lord Logs’ Parr is gleefully’inking’ anyone who visits his pop-up Tatts 4 U parlour. ‘Sausage fingers’ are one of the most popular requests.
In subsequent days, the transfers prove to take leave from my body far faster than the smoky aroma that’s pervaded my every pore. Much like one of the butterflied lamb carcasses Argentine demi-god Frances Mallmann cooked over custom London Log Co. kit, I’ve been steeped in smoke. And little wonder – like those majestic beasts, I arrived on Friday night.
Since then, we’ve seen swords! (Yosma’s Hus Vedat mincing meat for adana kebabs); science! (Matt Williams of Oxford Charcoal explaining his craft); deer-skinning! (Hunter Gather Cook’s whole-carcass demo); offal! (Black Axe Mangal’s Lee Tiernan getting his goat on); and two of the’Seven Fires’ outlined in Frances Mallmann’s eponymous book-cum-bible.
We’ve also drunk quite a few G&Ts courtesy of Mark Marmont and Team 58 Gin, and quite a lot of beer whilst soaking up knowledge from Melissa Cole and friends in the Craftopia hall. After extensive sampling, I can quite safely say that I’ve seen the future, and it’s London Brewing Company’s pHushia (preferably consumed alongside a bucket of Fatties’ bacon caramel corn).
There’s been thrills, spills and marvellous meat at the DJ BBQ-hosted Cutting Room stage, pickleback-slamming in Dickie’s American Bar, wine-and-steak pairing with John Torode and McGuigan Wines, a right old knees-up with The Gents in The Slaughterhouse pub, naked cheffing in the Bandstand, and lifelong bonding over brisket.
We’ve learnt there’s no use crying over spilt gravy (the result of Keith ‘The BearBQ’ Burrowes’ DIY Smokestak brisket bun X Blacklock bone marrow gravy mashup), because some kind soul is sure to come along and share their last Meatbuck with you. It’s just that kind of event.
Forget Christmas, it’s Meatopia that’s the most wonderful time of the year. Until next time, over and out.