Rubicon Foundation’s major fundraiser is also Washington’s greatest, largest outdoor feast. Burning Beast is the brainchild of renowned Seattle chef Tamara Murphy, who was inspired by the idea of a culinary Burning Man, or a free-form outdoor festival. It brings many of Seattle’s best chefs and cooks to Smoke Farm, provides them with one whole, local animal, and challenges them to cook it in a firepit in a field. 400 tickets are sold (out!) per festival, and with the 150 or so cooks, assistants, organizers and volunteers, the festival encompasses about 550. Each year, then, the farm is transformed for three days into an enormous ring of fire-pits, home-welded roasting apparatuses, and event tents. Seattle foodies flock to the farm for dishes unavailable anywhere else — moose-blueberry-farro, smoked herring (prepared on a rustic device resembling a Calder mobile), steamed buns with pork belly, rabbit sandwiches, beef roast wrapped in caul fat, and more. And at the end of the event, the Foundation holds the traditional burning of the beast, a custom-built 20’ tall wooden goat, and the crowd dances under the smoke and the stars.
In its six years, the event has been a great success; Burning Beast has made the culinary festival calendar in Washington, receiving press from the Stranger, Seattle Weekly, and the Seattle Times food blog, to name a few.