Chilebrown at home

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Slo Hand BBQ has opened a second location in Martinez California. Martinez is in our backyard and we were excited to sample this new bbq restaurant. The location has housed numerous bbq joints over the years. Downtown Martinez can be challenging for a restaurant because after the court house closes the town shuts down. A small disclaimer will be added today. We are returning from a weekend of championship barbeque and we have nothing but high hopes for this restaurant. We are entering Slo Hand BBQ with an open mind and hungry palette.

The interior has not really changed from the previous owner. The wall decorations are a little different. There is a huge wall menu and you place your order at the counter. We learned fast from our order taker there are no deviations from this posted menu. I like to get a sampler or at least several different meats to get a feel for the place. Well our order taker would not do that. There is no such thing as a sampler or 2 meat dinner. He did point out we could order the one meat platter and buy other meats by the pound.  Fair enough. I ordered the brisket dinner with two ribs. Nope, I was corrected. I could only order four ribs. I did as instructed and this lesson was learned. Ribs, brisket and side of slaw for me and tri-tip sandwich with mac&cheese for Ms. Goofy. We also started out with two bacon wrapped cheese stuffed jalapenos.

Our meal was delivered promptly on a paper lined cafeteria tray. We started with our bacon wrapped jalapenos. They were tasty and rich. They also had a texture as they had been sitting in a hot box for a very long time; limp. Ms. Goofy’s  trip tip sandwich was a very generous proportion of grey looking meat. The grey appearance was deceiving because it was tender and had good beef flavor. Ms. Goofy really enjoyed her thick and creamy side of Mac & Cheese.

The ribs and brisket were cooked properly. They both were tender and had good smoke. The problem with my ribs was the dry rub was very pedestrian. A good bbq rub is supposed to enhance and compliment the meat. This rub was very forgetful. The brisket was on the dry side. There were two tomato based house made sauces to revive these bland meat offerings. The very thin fluid sauces were a disappointment and could have been labeled bland and blander.  This platter was served with two stale parker house type rolls that was not consumed.

There was a highlight to my meal and that was the Cole-Slaw. It was not a traditional mayonnaise based but was alive and vibrant with the perfect vinegar seasoning. Shredded cabbage with sweet peppers really refreshed from my mediocre meat offerings.

We want to love Slo Hand BBQ because it is so close to our abode. There were hits and misses today that makes it hard to give it a thumbs up. We have not given up on this restaurant. We are going to return on a Sunday when they serves giant beef ribs and will be sure to not deviate from the posted menu.. The verdict is open till after our return.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


The bbq season is winding down. Hot Q's & Cold Brews is our second to last contest for the year and our final KCBS sanctioned event. Feather Falls Casino rolled out the red carpet for this event. We could not of had a better time visiting with our bbq friends and judging some of the finest competition bbq in the nation. It also was an added bonus that I walked away from the casino with more money than I came in with. 

This event gave the public plenty of opportunities to sample championship bbq. The beer drinkers in the crowd were treated to micro-beers brewed on the premise in the casinos very own microbrewery. While enjoying beer and bbq a band had everyone tapping their feet. 

Forty three teams competed today. The weather could not of been nicer. The thermometer hovered in the low 80's. The grounds had that special bbq aroma to entice everyone nearby. I had finished judging and still got hungry by the wonderful bbq smells. I do have to mention the booth selling cheesecake. I will also admit that I purchased a whole cake with lemon and lemon curd. I am weak.

I tell you we had so much fun. A day full of judging, brews and music. The added bonus of adult gambling games in he casino made this day perfect. The day wound down and around 5;30 the award ceremonies commenced. Several of our friends took the coveted 'Walk" (Taking the Walk, is when you go to the stage to get your trophies and prizes).

In conclusion, here is an image of my personal friend Chris P Bacon. Congratulations to all the teams that competed. A special shout out to the team "Burnin and Lootin" for winning the Grand Championship. I am also giving myself a little pat on the back for winning at the tables. So long for now.

Thursday, September 6, 2018


With a title of 5 Meat Feast how could this Mad Meat Genius resist? Sometimes you just do not feel like cooking. The television ads work because every time Little Caesar's runs their promotion a little dribble of drool forms at my gullible meat loving lips. The price is only nine dollars. How can they sell a pizza pie so low? We slash I give into temptation and brave the 5 Meat Feast.

We called the order in, picked it up and returned all with in 15 minutes. The pizza was hot. It looked just like the T.V. ads. I have to admit it tasted pretty good. Maybe I do not want to know how they can sell these pies for nine dollars. 

Monday, September 3, 2018


Those of you that live in the Redding California area are familiar with the very popular 'R & R Quality Meats & Seafood market. They sell meats and seafood in large volumes and reasonable prices. Whenever we are in the area we stop by. We also know they sell pre-formed hamburger patties that sometimes are flavored, stuffed or contain Wagyu beef. They usually are premium burgers and we love them. R & R has packaged some pre-formed Wagyu patties. This is a 3 pound package of 12 1/4 pd frozen patties for 9 dollars. This is more than reasonable in price so we decide to give them a try. 

 We open the resealable package and remove a frozen brick of patties. Each patty is seperated by wax paper. With a little prying the patties will separate, remove what you want and then reseal the bag for later use. The bag suggests you thaw the patty and cook on a hot griddle. That is what we do after we seasoned with salt & pepper. A lot of moisture emits from these patties. They cook fairly quickly because of their 1/4 pd size. We add cheese to our burgers. The million dollar question; how do they taste?

The burger looked great on the plate. The first bite was taken. It was okay leaning towards the disappointing side. There is a texture issue. These patties have been processed and frozen. I would compare the texture to a fast food burger. The flavor had a slight gaminess that I did not find particularly pleasant. This is not I expect in a so called Wagyu burger. It had more of a grass-fed flavor. We finished our burgers and decided we did not even want to keep the rest of the package. There is a reason these burgers are so cheap and it reinforces the old saying; 'You get what you pay for".

Saturday, September 1, 2018


Enrique Monroy of Monroy's Hot Sauce  has created a fun coffee table book about our beloved hot sauce. "The Art of Hot Sauce" is hot off the presses and ready for all hot sauce fueled enthusiasts. This was one mans quest with the cooperation of multiple spicy hot sauce companies create this book. There are plenty of tantalizing images to make one sweat with hot sauce fever. The reading is light and perfect for thumbing through while relaxing. We are friends with Enrique and had to pick up a copy. This would make the perfect gift for any of your hot sauce loving friends. 

The Art of Hot Sauce
by Enrique Monroy
ISBN 978-1-54394-462-4

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


We are always on the look out for new and local butchers shops on our journeys. It is what this Mad Meat Genius loves to do and share with you readers. I rely on word of mouth, referrals, publications and one of my easiest tools; Google. Ranchers Meats and Deli is a Google find. I was traveling to Redding California to visit my In-laws and Ranchers was on the way. It was a short detour off the main interstate 5 in Corning California.

We do not know a lot about Ranchers Meats and Deli except this blurb from their website.

 "Deli Sandwiches/Wraps/Salads with a great selection of assorted  Breads, Meats, Cheeses and Condiments.  All sandwiches are made to order.
We offer, BBQ sauces, Olives and Fresh Bread.
We are a Full Service Butcher Shop…Cut to order while you wait.
We have the largest Marinated Meat section in town. We welcome custom orders anytime small or large.We carry Buffalo, Venison, Beef, Pork, Chicken etc"

I entered the shop and did not really see all this. In fact the meat cases were pretty barren. I did see some sandwich making material but there was just not a big selection. There was a freezer case that did have some nice cuts of beef but the clerk did not know anything about them. I found this bone-in rib-eye roast and it was priced reasonably. I wanted to give this roast a home and it went into my empty cart.

Not all of our Google referrals pan out with great results. We cooked this roast and enjoyed its beefy goodness. Did it rock our beef craving world? Let's just say it was a very nice dinner that was not worth writing home about. The Meat Adventure continues.

Saturday, August 25, 2018


Welcome to Redding California we're going to visit Market St. Steakhouse. It will be nice to step out of the 110 degree heat and smoky skies to enjoy a nice dinner. Redding experienced a devastating fire several weeks ago and only today the fire is finally in the last stages of containment. My In-laws had several very tense days when the fire got way to close for comfort. Throughout the town are signs thanking the firefighters. We are hungry and it is time for diner.

Redding California is not known for fine dinning and Market St has a reputation of being the best steakhouse in town. We walk through the doors to a dimly lit welcoming air conditioned establishment. It takes several seconds for our eyes to adjust to our dinner destination. Our host is friendly. This is a recurring theme through out the dinner. Everybody is extraordinarly nice and always willing to make sure our dinning experience was perfect. We ordered dinner and some complimentary bread and a fancy oil/vinegar combination accompanied. The oil and vinegar was a nice touch to some not so fresh bread.

The steak selections were USDA Choice grade that is perfectly acceptable and I am sure tasted fine. They also were priced at Bay Area premium rates and when I go out to a steakhouse I expect prime for my dollar. They did offer several steaks labeled as 'Prime" and called them "Wagyu Prime Cuts". This raised a red flag in my mind because true 'Wagyu" steaks are not rated by USDA standards and the term 'Prime" would not be used to grade a steak. I asked our waitress the origin and if she could tell us anymore about these Wagyu. She needed to ask somebody. She returned and said her manager did not know either but they called the meat distributor. They were sourced from a ranch in Colorado and were considered American Wagyu crosses. I ordered a 12 ounce fifty four dollar New York Strip steak. My dinner included several choices of sides and I chose pesto rissoto and a salad. My sister in-law had shrimp linguini and my bro-in-law lobster. We were living large tonight.

My In-laws loved both of their dinner choices. My steak was topped with two dollops of melting butter. This reinforced the buttery flavor of my steak. It was fantastic. This so called Prime steak was tender and the actual beef had a Umami type flavor that has a buttery like nuanced essense that makes you crave your next bite. My side of rissoto was cold. My server immediately went back to the kitchen and returned with a piping hot side of pesto rissoto. The rissoto was filling but did not have any elements that rocked my world. 

I want to mention the service again. The service was top notch. The great service overshadowed the several dinning flaws of our dinner. (bread, rissoto). Market St Steakhouse might be the best steakhouse in town. We enjoyed our dinner. In closing we would like to extend a shout out to all the firefighters and first responders. Thank You!