On the 24th and 25th Feb, the legendary Meatstock festival descended on Auckland. The entire suburb of Epsom was shrouded in a thick, sumptuous blanket of BBQ smoke –making even the leafiest greenies salivate.
Cranking the flames even higher than last year, meatheads, butchers, food fanatics and backyard bruisers descended on Woodstock’s sister event like moths to a Mesquite flame. Immediately noticeable was the sheer tonnage of delectable food samples on offer with everything from the classic pulled pork to coal roasted brisket being handed out left right and center. This was a worthy improvement in previous years along with low wait times at popular food shacks. By lunchtime, booths were crammed full of festival-goers hoping to get a taste of greatness before vendors ran dry. The mammoth pulled pork Ciabatta from Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen stood out as one of the highlights.
The cloudless weather made for an excellent afternoon in front of the main stage where House of Shem and Marlins Dreaming belted out soulful melodies and a grand ole dollop of bass to help push that gristle down the windpipe. Crowds swarmed the lawn to devour their findings while others camped out in the shade with an ice-cold brewski. From 2 pm onwards, punters gravitated towards the legendary New Zealand Butcher Wars where contestants battled it out to carve, dress and present an entire half lamb and half pork in half an hour. Under immense pressure, each butcher held his own as they rapidly sliced their way to victory at the small cost of a potential thumb.
The collective professionals that comprise Meatstock have expanded their Butcher-shop with more BBQ sauce dabblers and craft beer connoisseurs. Adding a certain spice to the mix, the constantly growing vendor list keeps everybody on their toes as sometimes the right drink, mixed with the right meat, can become the next signature hit for restaurants on the scout. A certain appreciation for the art of cooking the perfect steak or rack of ribs seeps out of every tent present and it’s that dedication which keeps visitors returning each year to witness, and sample the impressive, and mouth-watering creations.
The only downside to Meatstock is the insanely long countdown to next year! By then, everyone’s meat-sweats should have ceased. Hopefully.