U.S. Navy SEALs will cook venison steaks as the ninth annual Meatopia gets under way on Saturday on Randall’s Island Park.
The East River urban oasis has been turned into a theme park for carnivores featuring Carcass Hill (starring cuts from a half-ton steer) and Offalwood (look for scrambled brains and eggs).
The SEALs are cooking at the Meatopia County Game Reserve.
Started by Time magazine food columnist Josh Ozersky in 2003 as a publication party for one of his books, Meatopia became an annual private culinary gathering and went public in 2010.
Tickets are $140 with some of the proceeds going to the Washington-based Armed Forces Foundation, which supports wounded military personnel and their families.
Ozersky moved the summer event to September after Meatopia lost money last year when 100-degree-plus temperatures deflected all but the most dedicated carnivores.
“Even if the event loses money, we’re committing $10,000 to the foundation,” said Ozersky, who was introduced to the Armed Forces Foundation by merchant Pat LaFrieda, Meatopia’s meat sponsor.
Meatopia also will donate unused food to the nonprofit City Harvest, a nonprofit that redistributes about 115,000 pounds of food each day to emergency programs in New York.
The chef lineup includes Marea’s Michael White serving grilled pork cheeks, and Takashi Inoue operating on marinated beef belly, tongue and heart.
“I didn’t want people to just eat barbecue,” Ozersky said. “I want people to cook and enjoy all the different parts of the animal.”
Grill master Adam Perry Lang will serve charred beef short ribs in The Quarter. In Carcass Hill, April Bloomfield (Spotted Pig, Breslin Bar & Dining Room) will grill a whole hog Kansas City style.
Ozersky added a best-butcher competition backed by Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM:US), Meatopia’s presenting sponsor. Three live bands will perform.
“There are a million people who have interesting things to say about public life, but I don’t think anyone else is as eloquent about sausages as I am,” said Ozersky, whose books include a history of the hamburger and this year’s “Colonel Sanders and the American Dream.”
During Meatopia, Ozersky expects to sample Uruguayan chef Santiago Garat’s whole lamb cooked over a fire. Lamb is his favorite.
“My last meal would be lamb fat, and if possible, I’d like to have shredded hash browns that have been cooked in the lamb fat,” Ozersky said.
(Tickets are still available for Meatopia at Randall’s Island Park on Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. for V.I.P ticket holders and 5 p.m. for general admission. Information: http://meatopia2012.eventbrite.com.)
(Muse highlights include Jason Harper on cars, Lance Esplund on art.)
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