From Meatfest to MTKMF
The root of the name is in indulgence and manhood. The first Meat Fest was just that, four guys on a beach cooking excessive amounts of steaks, hot dogs, sausage, ribs, and basically any meat they could get their hands on. It was simple and had an element of the absurd to it, something that only four close friends could really appreciate It wasn’t planned and it wasn’t fancy. It came together on its own and was so enjoyable that it was decided that it must be repeated the following July 4th weekend.
In the early years of Meat Fest, meat and man were king. Invites were only extended to “the boys”, vegetarians weren’t welcome, all meat had to be consumed no questions asked, and for some strange reason there was no drinking. The early “fests” had a lot of quirky traditions that were religiously followed. All meat was to be marinated for 24 hours, Iced Tea from the local Hampton Dairy was the only drink available, a standard grill design had to be used, driftwood was the only heat source for cooking (they are convinced that it adds flavor) and most odd of all the stealing of Tom’s socks which would then be turned into torches. Some have since been forgotten, but some are still followed to this day.
By the second year the location was set, a private beach on Long Island Sound that is only accessible by a four-wheel drive vehicle. The secluded location only allowed for the day and event to grow. More and more courses of meat were added, more people, more quirky traditions, and the finale, a large bon fire into the night.
As Meat Fest quickly grew from four friends grilling on the beach into a full-scale annual production, the Meat Fest Committee was born. To amuse themselves, while splitting up the responsibility of making meat fest happen and be unforgettable year after year, Julian, Russell and Tom treated Meat Fest as if it was an international corporation. The titles of Chairman, founder, and CEO were given to the original members. Head of secondary grilling, head of comfort, and head of construction were given to other annual attendees. What has proved to be one of the most important titles overtime was given to Tom’s brother Damien Cortese, the Head of Extra-Curricular activities. With the positions in place Meat Fest was ready to grow up.
When “the boys” entered their college years, partying became something that they excelled in. The introduction of alcohol in year four, rapidly transformed Meat Fest into a full on beach party. College also brought new people into the core group of Meat Fest’s lives. The legend of their annual July 4th extravaganza was heavily promoted, people who were extended invites were so intrigued that they had no choice but to attend just to see what the hell all the hype was about. With resistance outsiders, and most notably women, were allowed in year four. With any change comes tension, there was dissention among the core group that outsiders to Meat Fest would water down the tradition and the day would turn into a regular BBQ. The critics were proved wrong, Meat Fest flourished under pressure.
In the middle years Meat was still king, but alcohol and other extra curricular activates became the very powerful prince. It is estimated that one year there were upwards of twenty courses of meat. The quality of Meat also soared and new recipes were introduced. One year the recipe creativity went too far and wild animals including bear, elk, and goose were provided by a hunting family friendly with one Meat Fest guest. It was a complete disaster, but Meat Fest survived. In year seven, a new way of cooking was born. The founding members managed to build a wood burning brick oven which was used to cook a roast and the now signature dish of Meat Fest, filet minion wrapped in San Danielle prosciutto marinated in balsamic vinegar and red wine. Damien Cortese as he likes to say, “brought the party.” No longer was it a celebration of indulgence and manhood, it was the indulgence of life.
The 9th annual Meat Fest will be remembered as the year that Meat Fest grew up. Like the beginning it happened on its own, meat as king was no longer. Salmon and asparagus were a few of the items that snuck their way on to the menu, and Champagne officially replaced Iced Tea as the drink of choice.
With the launch of meatfestx.com, The 10th annual celebration marked the beginning of MeatFest 2.0. Now that extravaganza was all grown up, it was time for some serious upgrades. For starters, the meat fest name was ditched, although still used in casual conversation, in favor of MFX. Kitchen upgrades began with the introduction of a rock patio around the grill, rumor has it that 2007 will see a full on upgrade. The committee entered into a long term distribution deal with the same meat distributor as the world famous Peter Luger’s steakhouse. And lastly, there was a full on baptismal in Long Island Sound.
Year ten also marked the end of the short lived, three year, tradition of sleeping in tents on the beach. It was not by choice, but rather due to a late night visit by EHPD Blue. A quick, extra curricular induced, exit ensued and another meat fest concluded.
This year the committee has settled on the new official nomenclature of MTKMF, translating to Montauk Meat Fest.
MTKMF.COM will be the official website/blog of meatfest for years to come….
Those who attend, all make it a priority to attend the following year. Those who, for whatever reason, miss a Meat Fest do not remember where they were that year, all they remember is that they weren’t at Meat Fest.
For more info about Montauk and Meat Fest read our about section