Terra Plata's Beef Tongue
The mastermind behind the whole event and the only female chef doing a main course, Tamara Murphy showed why she's remained a famous face in the Seattle restaurant scene for over two-and-a-half decades. Grilled beef tongue on flatbread, with a tzatziki-esque cooling sauce and a side of preciously-tiny pickled vegetables.
Oysters form Taylor Shellfish
Oyster and seafood marketing guru (heard of Copper River salmon?) Jon Rowley and buddy Dave Smead open the festival each year with oysters roasted under burlap. Just before the rest of the food is served, the oysters come off the fire, dumped on a table for every to shuck for themselves.
Blind Pig's Goat
Chef Charles Walpole treated his goat as he treats all food at his restaurants: simply and deliciously. The goat-heavy taco was garnished with vegetables and a healthy kick of salt.
Liver from Mulleady's Pub
People weren't rushing to line up at the liver station, but that was their loss. Travis Jones and David Amar were quietly turning out a liver duo that was an offal game changer. Three animals' worth of liver (one of them was bison!) informed two dishes: a caul-fat wrapped crépinette over cabbage, and the underdog liver parfait. Don't knock it until you've tried it—it was one of the best things I've eaten all year.
Salmon from Adam's Northwest Bistro & Brewery
The most refined dish of the night, turned out by Adam Hoffman, offered no visual cues to the frenzy of fire in which all the beasts were cooked. Glass noodles beneath, green herb sauce on top, and a lily-gilding serving of salmon roe made this dish seem more likely to be on fine china than a compostable takeout box—which only made it taste that much better.
Bathtub Gin's Meat Cocktails
The Belltown speakeasy-style bar brought out a trio of meat cocktails that thrilled the carnivorous crowd. A favorite was the Rum Rabbit Rum (top right), featuring rum, garlic-braised rabbit, aged rum, smoked agave, angostura bitters, pineapple, and a porter float.
Bin on the Lake's Whey-Fed Pork
Premiering the Beecher's Cheese whey-fed pigs that are coming soon to a few Seattle restaurants and stores, Dylan Giordan wrapped his pork in a crespelle (something like a thick crepe) along with caramelized onions, grapes, and salsa verde.
Sardines form Coastal Rovers
Johnny Fishmonger, as he's known, is a seafood genius. Teamed up with a group of friends, including Tiberio Simone of La Figa, self-described "pleasure artist" (I'll let you Google that), he turned out sardines smoked under what seemed to be someone's old corrugated tin roof, with a side of fennel.
Chicken from Ron Jones Glassworks
Don't go looking for this restaurant—it doesn't exist. This is a stand built purely out of a passion for great food and beasts cooked over fire. Perennial Burning Beast favorite, this year Ron Jones turned out curried chicken with sticky rice and Asian-style pickles.
Lamb from Man Pies
Another Bellingham challenger, Man Pies offered up an easy-to-eat skewer of roasted grass-fed lamb, a Parmesan 'puff' (like a gougère), radish, and a summer vegetable ragout-style sauce.
Il Corvo's Beef
One of the showier cooking styles, Il Corvo's Mike Easton strapped a small calf up Argentinean asado-style and roasted it. It came in taco form, wrapped in a flatbread called pan de chapa, and sauced with chimichurri.
Sky City's Vegetables
Everybody has to be the rookie at some point; this year's newcomer was Sky City, whose truck-tire sized pan of vegetarian paella made an admirable attempt to give vegetables their due at a festival of meat-infused gluttony.
Goat Mountain Pizza Company's Sheep
Perhaps to be contrary, Goat Mountain cooked not goat, but sheep. While the pizza wasn't traditional (think a crispy-crusted, open-faced focaccia sandwich), the savory sheep meat with cheese was a big hit. The tiny, precisely-salted chocolate chip cookies up for grabs were the perfect size to go alongside.
Duck from Where Ya At Matt
Matthew Lewis and his food truck's crew pulled off a spectacularly elaborate dish for the crowd. Their efforts were rewarded with third place—ducks were wrapped in banana leaves, then buried in the ground to cook. When they came out, the legs were confited, and pieces of the leg, breast, and a slice of duck sausage were all served up with some peach salsa.
The Copper Hog's Ram
One of the handful of Bellingham restaurants throwing their hat in the ring, this gastropub caught everyone's tastebuds, coming in second place with blueberry ram sausages grilled on a giant metal contraption. The ram flavor stood out with exceptional flavor, bolstered by the blueberries, atop flatbread and a serve-yourself topping bar of pickles, jams, and mustard seed.
Staple & Fancy's Elk Dog
The winning dish, by Branden Karow of Ethan Stowell Restaurants' Staple & Fancy, was a hot dog. An elk hot dog, that is, on a homemade brioche bun, topped with mustard, caramelized onions, and a blistered shishito pepper.
Dessert from Trophy Cupcakes
Trophy Cupcakes served up an interactive dish. Each diner was handed a handmade marshmallow to grill over the oil-drum fire, which the Trophy staff then smooshed on top of the bacon cupcake using a graham cracker as topping: voilà, bacon-s'more cupcake.