This year, Meatopia — the event dedicated to cooking as much meat as possible — at the New York City Wine and Food Festival was especially significant, as it was held in memory of the late Josh Ozersky, the Esquire editor-at-large who died suddenly earlier this year.
Ozersky, Meatopia’s “carnivorous visionary,” was the festival’s original creator, and host Michael Symon reminded guests that they should participate in the event as Josh would have: by eating meat “until your face is blue and having three more drinks than you should.”
Chef JJ Johnson, of The Cecil in Harlem, noted that his own dish —veal short ribs in a sorghum glaze — had been a conscious tribute to Ozersky. “When I think of Josh Ozersky’s Meatopia, I think it should be sticky, sweet, fatty, and really good, Johnson told The Daily Meal. “So that’s what I’m trying to deliver.”
At Hill Country Barbecue, chef Charles Grund Jr., echoed the desire to create something special for this year’s celebration. The chef’s beef short ribs with spicy chile was created with a more complex rub than might typically be served at Hill Country, and featured three chile peppers: jalapeño, habanero, and poblano.
As with every Meatopia, however, most guests were drawn to witness the “Whole Animal Court,” which this year featured a whole cow, expertly smoked by butcher Pat LaFrieda of Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors.