Chilebrown at home


Let's get Cookin!!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Buy me some peanuts and Crackerjacks. It was a beautiful day to go to the ball park.and watch our Oakland A's. It has been awhile since we have attended a game. The weather was beautiful and hot. We were lucky to be sitting in the shade to soak up our baseball surroundings. Marshawn Lynch who was recently signed by our football team the 'Oakland Raiders' threw out the ceremonial first pitch. As I said it has been awhile since our last game and things have been updated since our last visit.

The music seems louder and it seems that one is constantly bombarded with lights and some sort of distracting manufactured stimulation. There are the dot races, the oversize bobblehead races, 50/50 raffles, pie eating contest and something that caught my attention was the "Bacon Inning". Some fans went home with free bacon. The scoreboard has a wealth of information telling every statistic you ever wanted to know or not. There were some new stats that I have never even heard off; B.A.B.I.P, W.A.R.., D.R.S., F.I,P. and more. Does all this add to the baseball experience? It may have helped the A's win today.

Peanuts and Crackerjacks was not enough today so we went for Pizza. Skipolini's a chain restaurant built this pie. It was thick crusted and topped with savory traditional ingredients. It was the perfect ending for our day at the ball park. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Clayton California warmed up to sizzling temperatures and it may have been caused by the 2017 Clayton BBQ Cook-Off. This was a KCBS sanctioned event in the Competitor Series. The Competitor series is a smaller contest in the meat department. Instead of the four meats of chicken, ribs , pork and brisket, the Competitor Series only cooks ribs and chicken. There were forty six teams competing today. This group was broken down into a pro division (18) and backyard division (28). Gentlemen start your grills.

It was hot today. The thermometer was hovering in the nineties. This team above was taking a beer break in the shade at 9:30 am. We judges were lucky to be in an air conditioned building. It was a good thing we were cool because the heat rose with all the yummy entries.

This was my favorite team name of the day. I hope it is not s sign of the future pending  KCBS rule change  allowing gas and propane as a cooking source. We will discuss this controversial rule change in the future. The grill below must be from Texas evident from the chapeau. 

We leave you today with a space ship of fun memories. Congratulations to our friends Michele and Richard of the team "Cecils" for winning the Grand Championship'. I cannot wait till next weekend for more bbq.

Friday, July 14, 2017


We travel to West Oakland California to experience ‘Crave BBQ Restaurant”  a “Pop-Up” bbq restaurant run by Rashad and Chandi Armstead. Pop-up is the new craze in the restaurant world. It takes a lot of money and dedication to open a brick and mortar restaurant and pop ups are a good way to test the water.. Crave’s temporary location is in an old converted gas station. They have to do all their food preparation in a commercial kitchen located at another site. They do have some smokers in the back to cook some of the meats. I find a parking spot right in front because you know I have parking karma. I do have only 45 minutes until my spot becomes a street sweeping zone. Let’s eat some bbq.

The inside is fairly sparse of d├ęcor except for the menu board and some very nice art work by local artists for sale on the walls. There are a couple of tables outside for an urban dining experience. You place your order from the menu board and right away the owner Rashad prepares your food. Crave BBQ does not skimp on the proportions. This was one heavy box of meat. I ordered a plate called the “MVP”. This consisted of three meats and three sides. I chose brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, potato salad, beans, mac & cheese and two pieces of corn bread. I chose to eat outside because it was a beautiful day.

I will cut to the chase right away. This was a great bbq meal. The meats were flavorful and there was a lot of attention paid to the side dishes. I really enjoyed the side dishes. The Mac & cheese had a crust of cheese that was out of this world. The beans were sweet but savory that had me ‘Crave’ing the next bite. The potato salad with it pickle twang was the star of this side dish extravaganza. This was comfort food at its best.

Being a bbq judge I tend to be over critical of bbq meat offering. Is it fair for me to compare this to competition bbq? I do not think so. I enjoyed these meat offerings. With that said, the pulled pork had a bark that had great smoke and just the right combination of spices. The brisket slices were a little inconsistent in tenderness. One slice was tough as shoe leather but the next could have possibly won a bbq competition. The smoke did not overpower but complimented. The ribs had a good spice rub that flavored this meat perfectly. It did fall off the bone.  I asked Rashad what spice he used but would only tell me it had sugar and the rest was a secret. Fair enough.

Crave BBQ has a lot going for it. The side dishes were spectacular. You know they are home made with care and love. The meats were flavorful and I enjoyed them. There were some inconsistencies in tenderness but overall they were a hit. I ate these meats without sauce because they had plenty of flavor. House made bbq sauce was available but I passed because they were a little flat and fueled by liquid smoke. Crave is located in West Oakland which is an evolving neighborhood.. We wish Rashad and Chandi  success with Crave BBQ Restaurant.

Crave BBQ
1700 Center St
Oakland, Ca 94607

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


It has been a banner year for my knife collection. I had the opportunity to buy another Bob Kramer knife. This is almost like winning the lottery. This is a very beautiful and functional pocket knife. Some of its elite attributes are as followed; Titanium Liner Lock, AEBL Stainless Steel blade (61-62 HRC)  and Carbon fiber handle. I am one lucky knife collector.

Saturday, July 8, 2017


Our friend and fellow certified KCBS Master Judge Tracy is having some temporary health problems and was unable to attend this weekends "Wine Country Big Q Competition and Festival" She asked me to take a few pictures. This montage of photos hopefully will give Tracy a sense of today's event. This was a fun event but was just not the same with out Tracy. Let take a look.

Congratulations to the team "Sharpe Gourmet Cooking Wood' for winning Grand Champion today. I hope this cheers you up a little Tracy, because a lot of people missed you today and we all hope you will get well soon.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


We are proudly flying the American flag on this 4th of July. This flag has very special meaning to me because it used to be my father’s flag. He would display it on all appropriate holidays. The actual flag has been replaced several times but the pole is at least a half-century old. This next shot is the Mad Meat Genius when he was only a child prodigy of all things meat. It feels good to still be able to wave the flag.

This 4th of July we had a non-traditional celebratory meal. We smoked a Snake River Corned Beef. This beautiful hunk of meat was smoked in hickory wood for 4 hours to create the most tender and flavorful pastrami ever. I cannot wait for sandwiches. I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July.