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Where’s The Beef? This meat maven will help you manage your way through Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

February 24, 2013
With BBQ Pit Master Chris Lilly

With BBQ Pit Master Chris Lilly. The meat Gods were clearly shining down upon us.

When it comes to meat, my two favorite festivities of the fest are The Q and The Burger Bash.  This is where the carnivores convene to consume a collection of carne.

Cue, “The Q”. Short for BBQ, this kickoff party features more than 40 of the top BBQ chefs from across the nation, grilling up their signature dishes ala ribs, brisket, chicken and pork butts, complete with smoky side dishes.  Enter, the great Chris Lilly. It was Chris Lilly’s unparalleled “Barbecue Beef Short Ribs and Iron Skillet Mac & Cheese” that was my most magical meat moment of the weekend. And by moment, I confess it was multiple moments as I went back for fifths.

Chris Lilly's Barbecue Beef Short Ribs Iron Skillet Mac & Cheese

Chris Lilly’s Barbecue Beef Short Ribs Iron Skillet Mac & Cheese

Other highlights included (but were certainly not limited to): Tim Love‘s Smoked black buck Antelope crepinette, oak lentils, pickled leeks

chef tim love antelope the q

Tim Love’s Smoked black buck Antelope crepinette, oak lentils, pickled leeks

Todd English‘ Steamed Bun of Hoisin Glazed Short Rib, Roasted 5 Spice Tenderloin, Sweet and Sour Cucumber Slaw; Ben Ford‘s Grilled Lamb Chop smoked eggplant & tomato chutney; and Duskie Estes & John Stewart’s Pig face poutine, confit fries, tabasco gravy

Although BBQ is my all-time favorite feast, let’s bring on…

…The Burger Bash!!! With 34  burgers to bite into, as a veteran, I fared quite well. I know how to strategize my sampling, unlike amateurs who get full within the first few stations.  And we must also keep in mind, that there’s a Godiva afterparty to eat through. Priorities.

Although I absolutely concur that the carnivorous King of the night was Bobby Flay’s Green Chile Burger complete with crunchy chips, there were many other meat masters worthy of the title. Both Chef Linton Hopkins’ burger from Holeman & Finch, and Michael White’s White Label Burger were absolutely mind-blowing.

Most people after consuming a barrage of burgers would uh, put a fork in it; but I’m not like most people. I waddled right on over to The Dream Hotel for the Godiva party, because the ONLY thing I love just as much as meat…are sweets.  Now give me some sweet meat, and we are in serious trouble. Candied bacon anyone? Yep, had that too. Pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith is a genius. #WomanVersusFood

Candied Bacon...brilliance

Candied Bacon…brilliance

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