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Our picks for the sometimes less obvious winners.
Best Opportunity to Eat Roasted Roadkill (2012)
Wild Game BBQ
Carmel Valley Trail & Saddle Club
85 East Garzas Road, Carmel Valley
659 - 2651, www.cvtsc.org
Carmel River Steelhead Association
Monterey County has no shortage of hoity-toity food events, but this deep-Valley barbecue surpasses them on several points. Localness: Smoked pheasant and slow-cooked venison are the essential Monterey County meat. Sourcing: No factory farms here—shad cakes and herb-baked NorCal steelhead taste like happy afternoons on the river. Burliness: Wild board sausage is a totem to a badass hunter. Cause: The $40 ticket, benefit auction and chef charity add up to critical funds for the Carmel River Steelhead Association, which keeps our endangered spawners on life support until Cal Am stops overpumping the Carmel River. It’s reason enough to make an enviro vegetarian join the League of Conservation Hunters.