Chilebrown at home


Let's get Cookin!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014


What a ride! This was a four event contest that just kept getting better. The North State BBQ Championship finals were held at the Feather Falls Casino yesterday. The weather could not of been nicer. Mother nature shined down on thirty two barbeque competitors, bikers, judges, gamblers and the bbq hungry enthusiasts. We would like to share some images with you.

This was a three meat competition consisting of chicken, tri-tip and pork ribs. Thirty judges including Ms. Goofy and myself sampled and scored some of the best smoked meats in Northern California. It never stops amazing me the magic, meat, smoke, fire, seasoning and a whole lot of bbk knowledge can produce. The public had a chance to purchase samples of the bbq offerings. This bbq was so popular that it was sold out after several hours. Feather Falls Casino has a microbrewery on the premise. There was a beer garden conveniently located  near the food and music stage.

The band was very popular with the women participants evident by the makeshift dance floor. The men were safety enjoying the music in the beer tent area. I want to mention a special appetizer that I enjoyed created by the competition team of 'Carolina Q'. They had some bacon wrapped sausage that put a smile on this Mad Meat Genius face. This event also sponsored a motorcycle rally. It was quit the scene of polished chrome and Harley attire. 

The scores were tabulated and the winners were crowned. What fun it is to see our friends and extended bbq family take the walk to claim their trophies It takes a lot of time, grit and moxy to compete and we take our hats off to all the bbq teams. It was a little sad knowing this was the last contest of the series. What a fun journey. 

We cannot wait for the next competition. Thanks Scott Gomes for a great series.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


This is the final showdown in the North State BBQ Championship.. This is the third and final round to be held today at Feather Falls Casino. Ms. Goofy and I will be there with our polished judges badges. It promises to be a great time. See you there!

Thursday, September 18, 2014


We bring you an only in ‘Cali’ moment. Those of you in the know, know that only non-California natives use the term ‘Cali’. Lately, the late night talk show punch line has been kale. We do not normalcy search out this leafy vegetable but we have been known to grow some occasionally. Kale can be the perfect vegetable to showcase bacon. Let’s rewind this herbaceous tale to last Saturday. This Mad Meat Genius was browsing the aisles of a new farmers market in Brentwood when Kale Powder caught my eye.

Asparagus actually was the item that received my attention. Asparagus in September is unheard of. The farmers that operated the booth explained that the asparagus is let to grow and not harvested to promote root growth. They still produce stalks but are not normally harvested. These were not pretty spears but after a quick taste they were determined to be the real deal.. Right next to my favorite spring vegetable was a bag of bright green powder. The vendor explained this was sun dried kale ground into a powder. What on earth would one use kale powder for? The farmers suggested that the powder could be added to smoothies or a pesto. I cannot even imagine a kale smoothie in fact smoothie is not even in my vocabulary. A bag was purchased out of curiosity.

The bag was opened to experience a dry aroma of hay. I dipped my clean finger into the bag and took a lick. It had a spinach type flavor. It actually was a little sweet. This may have some possibilities. We did purchase some of the out of season asparagus because I could not resist. How about some kale flavored mayonnaise for dipping? A tablespoon of kale powder was added to some mayonnaise. A quick stir and we were ready. The asparagus was actually pretty good on its own. The flavored dip was slightly sweet, herbaceous and creamy. This flavored dip was not headline news but was tasty. I also added several tablespoons to some pesto rice. Once again it added that herbal quality that some people crave. I probably enjoyed our Berkshire pork the most. I am the Mad Meat Genius you know.
    It is always fun to try and experience new foods. Kale and now powdered kale will grace the tables of Californians and late night talk show fodder. Powdered kale may  not be my favorite new find but was not a bust. We will have to try some other uses. I can guarantee a kale smoothie will not be one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


'That's Amazing!" would be Huell Howsers proclamation. We have discovered some true 'California's Gold'. We are talking about Leonardo's Produce stand. Leo's is located on a scenic country road near San Pablo Dam Reservoir.. It only takes minutes to leave the hustle and bustle of our city life to travel this beautiful country route. You may have to dodge the many cyclists because they have discovered this popular road. As some of you know we are farmers market junkies and I even manage a market several times a month. You would think we would have our fill with the many markets in the Bay Area. Leo's produce is a destination market that we love.

Leonardo's produce is a family run farm and stand. They are only open on the weekends. During the week Leo tends his crops to get ready for the weekend. You will meet his beautiful wife and energetic son. Leo's son will help you pick the perfectly ripe melon and freshest tomato's.. The produce does not get any fresher. In fact if it is not on the shelf you can walk a couple of steps and pick it yourself. If Leo does not grow the vegetables or fruit he supplements his stock with produce form another local farm.

The produce prices are more than reasonable. You can stock your pantry with fruits and vegetables for a song compared to downtown farmers markets. They not only sell produce but local honeys and olive oils. Johnson Farm is located next door with fresh Berkshire pork and eggs. (more on Johnson Farm later). Fresh bread and some of the best tasting fresh salsa is available. This is a one-stop shop.

Leonardo's is a family run farm and stand that is a destination that we are proud to share with you. It is refreshing to find  fresh produce at such reasonable prices. It does not get any closer to the farm than this. In the words of the late Huell Howser: This is California Gold."

Leonardo's Produce
120 Hampton Rd.
Briones, Ca.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


The money shot says it all. This appetizer is a keeper. Bacon wrapped mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese and spicy sausage has all the right moves for a very fine snack prepared on the barbeque. The preparation is a little involved but the results are stellar.We will provide a basic guideline on how to prepare these wonderful treats. Feel free to add or subtract ingredients to create your own version of stuffed mushrooms. Just do not forget the bacon.

The first step is to procure a dozen medium large mushrooms. Wipe any yuck off with a paper towel. Twist out the stem and use a spoon to hollow and remove the gills. Next use some softened or whipped cream cheese. I have used flavored cream cheese with great results. Today we have taken one six ounce package of cream cheese and divided it equally among our mushrooms. It is spread on the bottom of our hollowed out mushrooms to form a base to cradle our sausage. We used Jimmy Dean's sausage spiked with garlic and spicy rub but you can let your imagination go wild with your sausage choice. We rolled the sausage into little balls and placed them on the cream cheese. Everyday supermarket bacon will be our wrapper. Take one slice and cut in half. Arrange the two halves into a cross. Invert your stuffed mushroom and place onto bacon cross sausage side down Stretch and fold each section of bacon to top of mushroom (bottom) and secure with toothpick. It is time to build a fire.

We are using an indirect fire on our Weber Kettle. You will notice the charcoal is on one side and an aluminum pan filled with water on the other. We also place several chunks of hickory wood on the lit coals to add a smoke component. Place your bacon balls toothpick side down on the well oiled grill over the water pan. Place top on grill and be sure all the vents are wide open. Cook for approximately 40 minutes or until the bacon is crisp. We also checked the sausage temperature with a probe thermometer. (160 degrees). Remove sausage from grill into a holding pan. We now dip our balls into a barbeque sauce of your choice. It is time to remove the toothpick. Use caution when handling your balls because they are hot and fragile Return the stuffed mushrooms to the grill for an additonal three minutes. Just enough time to set the sauce. Remove them again and be prepared to have a treat. You do not have to let them rest but I would highly recommend it. If you bite into these treats right off the grill you will experiences a rush of molten cheese.. Once they have sat for 10 minutes or so they will firm up slightly. This appetizer is a winner. Have fun.

Friday, September 12, 2014


This is no ordinary weenny roast. This party has invited Western European and Moroccan flavors to this flavor fest. We review a relish from Baron's International Kitchen today. Have a gander if you will.
                                               Read Review Here

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


 The ‘greatwhite hunter’, a friend and frankly sometime a little bit eccentric, (The truth is he is like the creepy uncle that nobody likes to talk about) has recently cut his ties with the ‘Salt Mine’. We both have toiled and reaped financial gain from this large corporate machine. We also share the love of Meat Adventures. The ‘greatwhite hunter’ was in the Reno, Nevada area so I dispatched him to several meat emporiums. Wolf Pack Meats of the College of Agriculture Biotechnology and Natural Resources of University Nevada, Reno was one of his destinations. Wolf Pack meats sells grass-fed beef from their department at the college. The ‘greatwhite hunter’ came through on his Meat Adventure with several different cuts of steak. Today we are going to cook some rib-eyes.

Let’s start out with the actual butchering of these steaks. I am wondering if freshman students got hold of these cuts. The quality of butchering skills was poor by the image evidence. To identify them as rib eye cuts was a stretch. They were uneven in size and fat cap area. The color was very deep red. We also noticed a lack of fat marbling. We will season them with salt and pepper only. They were cooked on a very hot fire over mesquite charcoal. I watched the temperature very closely. When the internal temperature hit 125 degrees they were pulled from the fire. They rested for 10 minutes before serving. ‘Drum roll please.’

These steaks were cooked to a perfect medium rare. Even so there was a chew and tug with each and every bite. They did have a pleasant beef flavor. Here is the rub. They did not have that umami flavor associated with corn fed beef. These steaks were just missing that special mouth feel and flavor that we crave. Now this is antidotal evidence and I am not entertaining a grass v corn-fed debate so let’s call it a day. We will let the Wolf-Pack run away.