A few weeks ago me and my surly bunch of ruffians went to the biggest meat-aganza I've ever been to. Okay maybe the only one I've ever been to. Burning Beast, the world's funnest and most delicious feast in a field cooked by Seattle's best chefs. In fact there were more than eleven star-studded cooking teams gathered to prepare and master an assigned animal, vegetable and/or sea creature, whole or in parts, using fire, earth, steel and little else... participating chefs included; Dylan Giordan (Serafina), Angie Roberts (Boka), Matt Dillon (Sitka and Spruce, The Corson Building), Garret Abel (DeLaurentis), Dustin Ronspies (Art of the Table), Gabriel Claycamp (The Swinery), Ron Jones (Jones Glassworks), Tyson Danilson (Le Pichet), Jonathan Sundstrom (Lark), Zephyr Paquette (Eilliott Bay Cafe), Jennifer Alphonsine (Circa Alehouse) and others. Although it was the one cold, wet day of the entire month we had a blast. My pal Nigel had all the gear to set up a camp worthy of such an event (including the foldable couch!) and I brought enough beer to wash down three beast fests. Here's how it all went down:
It took about an hour and a half to drive north to Smoke Farm. It is truly beautiful up there. I guess the iffy weather added to the suspense. The creepy black clouds engulfed the mountains and us as we drove to higher elevations. As we entered the farm we were handed giant cards that read DUCK. The woman that handed them to us said that that's the animal we must start with. They did this so when the food was ready everyone wouldn't bum rush a specific chef's tent. First thing we did when we got there was open up a few beers and set up camp. I'm not even going to discuss the weird nest of dirt and branches in the creepy shack behind us that some dirty guy made to sleep in.
Round 1: Once we were settled, we scoped out a plan of attack. First had to be duck. Here's Dustin Ronspies from Art of the Table making duck confit for his duck confit Banh Mis (Vietnamese sandwiches) with homemade spicy pickles. This was probably my favorite station.
Jonathan Sunstrom of Lark & Licorice making roasted goat and cousous with pine nuts and currants and a creamy tzatsiki sauce. The goat was great but the couscous was the star of this dish.
Oyster Bill grilling fresh oysters. Topped with a little hot sauce and lemon, those oysters were delicious. My second favorite thing of the evening.
We also got some taco-esque seafood from Gabriel Claycamp of The Swinery and some grilled veggies from the vegetable tent. The seafood consisted of grilled mackerel, grilled sardines, and geoduck ceviche. I liked the components on their own, but all crammed together like that just made a fishy mess. The veggies were fine but were just plate filler.
Round 2: Since we started our first meal with Vietnamese sandwiches I thought we'd do the same for our second plate. Only this time it was Garret Abel from Delaurentis making Rabbit Banh Mis with pickled carrots. I think it's a rule that you have to serve carrots when you cook rabbit. It's just ironic.
Tyson Danilson of Le Pichet & Monica Dimas of Pike Street Fish Fry did Argentinian style spit roasted beef and cow's liver. It was tasty with a little to chimichurri sauce to spice things up.
Tamara Murphey of Brasa (organizer of the event) had her delicious roasted pig. I wish I could've gotten some cracklings.
Angie Roberts of Boka did a rotisserie roasted chicken with a tropical salsa. It was awesome and probably my third favorite dish.
Matt Dillion of The Corson Building and Sitka & Spruce did a stewed Moroccan style lamb with lemony couscous and it was tasty. I was pretty much beyond wanting to eat ever again by the time I made it to him so I didn't do his dish justice.
Although the weather conspired against us and probably worked against the food. We had a great time. I'm sure the dishes would've have tasted better nice and hot instead of the cold, damp pieces of meat we ate by the time we walked back to our little camp. It was very cool getting to see all of these talented chefs working with the basics to make something delicious. I will definitely attend next year and I will be sure to be better prepared. Hell, who knows, maybe I will even crash it and make a renegade Cuban sandwich tent. That would be fun.