Carnivorous Feasts Fit for a Viking

PHOTO: The Ultimate Challenge
Courtesy of MGM Resorts International

If you’re binge-watching Vikings, Game of Thrones or any other lusty/bloody medieval dramas of the season, then you know: If the royals aren’t brawling or bedding, they’re feasting. And they don’t bother with utensils, (except maybe a dagger).

Here’s a lineup of equally kingly feasts that you can order in the modern age -- trencher by special request –and not to worry, there are no bloody surprises in the third act. First up, The Ultimate Challenge, a 120-pound steak meant for six people -- served at BRAND Steakhouse in Las Vegas.

PHOTO: Whole Pigs Head at Yusho, Las Vegas
Matthias Merges
Whole Pig’s Head at Yusho, Las Vegas

Giant steaks are nothing new to Vegas, though. Newly opened Yusho in the Monte Carlo got, ahem, a-HEAD of the carnivore game with its "ultimate dining option" -- a whole pig’s head that takes nearly a full 24 hours to cook and is served with a whole bunch of Japanese fixins’. The restaurant opened just two weeks ago and has already served three pig heads. Order at least a full day in advance if you’d like to be next.

Sunday Roasts at Posto, Somerville
Courtesy Posto
Sunday Roasts at Posto, Somerville, Mass.

Mostly serving wood-fired pizzas, this neighborhood spot in the Boston suburbs combats frigid Massachusetts winters with Sunday Roast featuring leg of lamb, classic Porchetta or some other hearty traditional roast.

Hunters Pie with Bone Marrow at CHARCUT Roast House, Calgary
CHARCUT Roast House
Hunter’s Pie with Bone Marrow at CHARCUT Roast House, Calgary

The ultimate carnivore pie– coming this month to CHARCUT. Each pie is meant to serve two (at least). It’s not clear whether they’ll be served with giant foaming horns of ale, or just very large mugs. We hope for the former. The restaurant also does burgers large enough to feed six.

Cochon 555 coming to Parallel 37, San Francisco
Galdones Photography/COCHON 555
Cochon 555 coming to Parallel 37, San Francisco

Top chefs in major cities go “whole hog” -– from butchering to charcuterie to stacks n’ stacks of bacon to glistening hams and more. Now in its sixth year, this self-styled “culinary tour” features five chefs, five wineries and five heritage pigs served every-which-way to a horde of five-star locavores (the S.F. event is hosted this year by the Ritz-Carlton).

Farmers Market Symposium by Terra, Santa Fe
Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado
Farmer’s Market Symposium by Terra, Santa Fe

Chef Andrew Cooper of Terra in Santa Fe’s Four Seasons Rancho Encantado has knack for balancing between five-star presentation and medieval throwback plating. His family-style spreads available on special request in the restaurant are served on a giant wooden trestle – but even in a casual setting like the local farmers market, he gets it right with juicy slabs of meat and nice fresh veggies served on sturdy metal-look squares.

Viking Feast by Hurtigruten, Lofoten Norway
Photo courtesy Hurtigruten
Viking Feast by Hurtigruten, Lofoten, Norway

Serving wenches, goblets and giant stewpots over open flames? Check, check and CHECK! This looks like an authentic Viking feast (if you ignore the cell phones on the table) because it is. Or at least, it takes place in a Norse Arctic Circle archipelago. It’s a land excursion available to cruise passengers on Hurtigruten’s epic coastal Norway route.

"Queenly" Whole Rotisserie Chicken by The New England Soup Factory
Courtesy Daniel Rastes
“Queenly” Whole Rotisserie Chicken by The Modern Rotisserie

Free-range, all-natural, apple-brined rotisserie whole chickens -- a favorite family feast for a thousand years and counting. They’re the main course in menus “Fit for a Queen” on Mothers’ Day, or really any day. Side dishes include roasted sweet potato chunks, butternut squash, Caesar salad, rainbow carrots and Brussels Sprouts with wholegrain mustard.

Pincho Moruno Traditional Charcoal Kebabs from Spain
Nathan Rawlinson/ Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain
Pincho Moruno -- Traditional Charcoal Kebabs from Spain

As the US gets more hooked on house-made charcuterie (or charcuteria in Spanish), a few bold home chefs are ready to try butchering and curing their own meat in the traditional ways. American author and charcuteria expert Jeffrey Weiss’s newly released cookbook Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain explores traditional Spanish charcuteria – everything from ancient butchering and curing customs to full-color photos and modern presentations.

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