Meat! and Fire! at Primal Napa Valley [events]


Photographs: Cammie Nguyen / Eat Me Daily

Primal, an event celebrating "fire cooking, meat, and the art of butchering," certainly held up to its promise at Chase Cellars at Hayne Vineyard in St. Helena, Napa Valley yesterday. Two stages shared the spotlight at Primal: the first was a structure built to hang a cow section, the second for a full pig, lamb, and goat. Each animal was butchered while hanging, then taken to the sanctimonious table and then broken down into smaller pieces to be delivered to their next destination, an enormous fire pit. Primal emphasizes full animal utilization, so on the menu was a wide array of parts from whole roasted goat to beef hearts, pork livers to lamb heads.


The Primal fire pit collaboration. Photograph: Cammie Nguyen / Eat Me Daily

The good news about meat over an open flame? It’s tender, fresh, smoky, piping hot, and damn good. The bad news? Well you have to wait. And wait. Then wait some more, testing the patience of the carnivorous attendees. Ask anyone in the slider line. Whether purposely or not, the chefs weren’t supplied with serving or eating utensils, so the result was famished fervor as guests clamored toward the plates of food, ripping apart whole animal cuts and parts with their bare hands and satisfactorily licking their fingers before coming back for more. Truly primal.


Pre-butchered lamb. Photograph: Cammie Nguyen / Eat Me Daily


The crowd enjoying meat among the vines. Photograph: Cammie Nguyen / Eat Me Daily


Butchered pig with butt remaining. Photograph: Cammie Nguyen / Eat Me Daily


Roasted lamb heads. Photograph: Cammie Nguyen / Eat Me Daily


Whole roasted goat. Photograph: Cammie Nguyen / Eat Me Daily


Hanging goat with fur intact. Photograph: Cammie Nguyen / Eat Me Daily


Pre-butchered goat. Photograph: Cammie Nguyen / Eat Me Daily

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