When asked why he's bringing Meatopia to Texas, food writer Josh Ozersky has this to say: "Texas is a proverbially, or legendarily, a meat-loving state."
The event, which takes place November 2-3, will bring 32 chefs from across the state and nation to the Pearl Brewery in San Antonio for a festival that celebrates meat in all its forms. Dubbed a "meat-lover's paradise" by the New York Times, this is Meatopia's first foray into Texas.
San Antonio chef Andrew Weissman is preparing a dish "so crazy it might end up in the Meatopia Hall of Fame," says founder Josh Ozersky.
The Beefsteak, an all-you-can-eat ode to Gilded Age excess, kicks things off November 2. Chefs Tim Byres from Smoke in Dallas, Tim Rattray from The Granary in San Antonio, and Mike Toscano from Perla in New York will "collaborate to grill some of the rarest, most celebrated ultra-prime beef in the world." Tickets are $100.
Then on November 3, there's Meatopia, where each chef prepares a different meat dish for attendees to sample. The all-star chef roster includes Underbelly's Chris Shepherd, Austin sensation Paul Qui, former Top Chef contestant John Tesar, Ned Elliott of Austin's Foreign & Domestic and many more.
Ozersky describes them as "talented chefs who get meat (and) younger guys at the top of their game." Tickets are $75 for general admission or $125 for VIP, which provides early entrance and access to a special tent with drinks and food.
"I curate the whole menu, so there's no redundancy," Ozersky explains. He says that there will be 11 different animals available. One example: a San Antonio chef is preparing hoggid, which is a lamb that's between 1 and 2 years old.
Ozersky calls it a "pungent, incredible, beautiful animal" and says that the way Americans eat lamb but not mutton is equivalent to eating veal but not beef. He also says that another San Antonio chef, Andrew Weissman, is preparing a dish that is "so crazy it might end up in the Meatopia Hall of Fame."
Another way Meatopia stands out is its low chef-to-attendee ratio. Only 3,000 tickets will be sold. "One of the things that sucks about food events is standing in line," Ozersky says. "It would be easier to have less chefs, but [having so many] gives Meatopia a special character."
The only downside is that it takes place the same day as the Texas Monthly BBQ Festival in Austin. "Texas is big enough for both of us," Ozersky notes. While the BBQ Festival focuses on a specific cuisine, Meatopia is "a tribute to meat cookery" in all its forms.
As for people who are intrigued by both events, Ozersky predicts that "there's probably some hero that will go to both. I will shake that person's hand and buy him or her a beer. That would be the most hardcore Texan carnivore move imaginable.
"It could well end up as the greatest Meatopia of all time, until next year." If this year's event goes well, San Antonio will be a regular stop on Meatopia's circuit. Get a ticket today.