Meet the Meatmen


It used to be that in order to attract girls all a guy had to do was pick up an electric guitar. But these are back-to-the-land times, and now a sharpened meat cleaver is as likely to possess rock-star status as a Fender Stratocaster. While no one was looking, butchery has morphed overnight from a nearly lost art to a blazing urban phenomenon, with “slaughter parties” at apartments in Brooklyn and slicing demos at dive bars countrywide. Where once old butchers hoped for young apprentices to carry on the tradition nearly wiped out by factory farming, it seems that now they have nothing to fear. The art, if current trends continue, will survive.

This weekend, the Bay Area’s best and brightest stars of the new butchery movement appear at Primal, a celebration of early cooking’s revival. With Taylor Boetticher of Napa’s Fatted Calf Charcuterie and red-hot Ryan Farr from San Francisco’s 4505 Meats, butchers will give a side-by-side demonstration on how to break down a complete pig, cow, goat and lamb into cuts of meat. Afterward, chefs will create and cook meaty creations over a hickory, applewood or almond wood flame for attendees, and a 100-pound pile of bones will be roasted to collect marrow served on artisan breads. Wine, wine, wine washes it all down, down, down.

With an emphasis on heritage breeds and whole animal utilization, Primal is the antithesis of the factory farming exposed in films like Food, Inc., and a reminder that the best food is locally grown and prepared not by machines but human hands. Fifteen different wineries and nine different butchers and chefs—including Jeremy Fox, from Michelin-star vegetarian restaurant Ubuntu, preparing heirloom vegetables—get out the knives and slice raw flesh on Saturday, Nov. 7, at Chase Cellars’ Hayne Vineyard. 2252 Sulphur Springs, St. Helena. 3&–7pm. $65&–$100. 404.849.3569.

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