Posted by: Food Lover | November 30, 2014

Unleashing the Primal Carnivore

Zakopane, a mountain town in southern Poland, is an easy place to work up a prodigious appetite. After a long day of hiking the ancient mountains one wanders into the quaint touristy mountain town absolutely ravenous.  Conveniently our walk into town took us by a traditional fire grill – Owczarnia – the smell of which wafted up the road leading us inevitably to an outside table. Of course before sitting down we had to ogle the vast array of grilled meats, all the while taking in the smell of fire smoke and the sounds of a busy kitchen.

cooking meats

We started the meal with an order of wild mushrooms in mushroom gravy and a “side” of bacon. The mushroom dish was the first to arrive, and on first glance it was not at all appetizing. However, once we dug in it was absolutely delicious. The umami of the dish punched right through flooding our senses with the wonderful earthiness of the freshly foraged mushrooms.

brown mushrooms

On the menu the description read as “a large chunk of bacon”.  Fire cooked bacon?? How could we say no??!! HOW??!! Two thick slabs of bacon arrived at the table, their fire licked scent dancing around everyone at the table. It was beautiful, smokey, lightly charred, juicy. Just look at it! God we miss this dish. It’s one of those rare moments when a food implants itself into your memory, flashbacks of its awesomeness becoming a source of foodie daydreams.

bacon slab

Little did we know, we had not yet met our match. Next to arrive were our mains. First – the golonka. Golonka is a traditional food in both Poland and Germany. It is made from either pig knuckle or pig hock, in this case it was a massive pig knuckle. We’d never even heard of it cooked over a fire, and the way it looked at the grill made our mouths explode in salivating desire. This thing was Jurassic, indeed it called out our inner neanderthal, we could only grunt with delight while eating what we could… which was much less than half! Everyone at the table ended up picking at this massive chunk of meat. The crackling was the most memorable of all, an intense crunch hit our bliss point with every bite. Simply put, this joint could have fed all four people at the table. Even shared there was still another meat feast left over – just ridiculous (in the best way possible).


Then the ribs arrived, to delighted laughs of disbelief.  WILLLLLLMMAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! Yes, it was like living a real life Bedrock. Only Fred Flinstone could actually FINISH a rack of ribs this big! Just perfectly grilled, tender, juicy and accompanied by local potatoes roasted then finished in a deep fry. Yes, a deep fry. Glorious!


This was the most memorable feast of meat we’ve ever had in our lives.  The taste of meat lovingly grilled over fire brought back a distant pleasure – perhaps it resonated because of our childhood camping adventures, perhaps it reached into something even deeper, something primal.   If you find yourself hiking near Zakopane, don’t let yourself miss this treasure.











  1. Faint.

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