Chilebrown at home

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Where has all the yellow corn gone? Some ‘Japanese Mirai’ yellow corn is being grown in the Mad Meat Genius vegetable patch. This is a yellow hybrid corn that was bred for sweetness. These seeds were purchased from the ‘Kitazawa’ company which specializes in Asian vegetable seeds. We have been searching farmers markets and stores for yellow corn with disappointing results. White is the new black and we wanted yellow. Instead of crying in our creamed corn we planted a couple of rows of ‘Mirai’ corn. We staggered our planting to have ripe corn for the next month. This beautiful ear is our first corn of the season. It was very sweet and milky. A raw taste bite sprayed out with some corny juicy flavorful sweet milk. We only had one ripe ear today, so we made some bread that would incorporate the corn. This corny bread would be a vehicle to hold some home grown tomato’s and ‘Fifth Quarter’ bacon.

The bread today was from a recipe that uses fresh corn and corn flour. It is light and sweet bread. The aroma of fresh bread baking and bacon sizzling was the key to our spiritual enlightenment. These simple ingredients are being transformed to life giving substance. This is so much more than just a sandwich. I think I am floating right now. Back to the kitchen to dollop mayonnaise on our sandwich creation will be in order to bring me back to earth. This bread studded with Japanese corn was a beautiful thing.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


What a wild and crazy barbeque ride. We had the most meat fantastical and fun hot experience at the “Third Annual Smokin On The Water” barbeque contest that was held at Konicti Vista” at Clearlake California. A Barbeque contest combined with a “Reggae” concert, an Elvis impersonator and the most best ever, Chicken fried steak, at the “Coffee Shop” was experienced. This deep fried piece of crusty, tasty swine covered the whole plate. It was smothered with pasty, extra thick salty gravy. This was a record heartburn experience that you may and will have to love to experience. Wait a minute this is about Barbeque. Let’s get back to the Barbeque contest.

Ninety five degrees topped the outside thermometer while we sashayed and cruised the contest cooking area. We said hello to all our friends and wished them good luck on their cooking tasks. This contest would take a lot of fortitude and water with these temperatures. We are barbeque judges and used our “Get of the Heat Card” and hid in the air conditioned gambling den and drinking parlor.. Ms. Goofy almost lost our house but I had a mission. We hit the hay early because we had judging duties in the morning.

Tasting some of the best barbeque from the West Coast is a privilege. We take our judging duties serious and did our very best. Wow!, Brisket, Chicken, Pork Shoulder and Pork Ribs tickled our taste buds. Does it get any better? We left our air conditioned judging area and waited a couple of hours for the results.

We saw some great cookers taking the ‘Walk’. The walk is when you go to the stage to accept your reward. It was an emotional award ceremony because; you want your favorites to win. The result were fair and honest because the ‘KCBS’ runs a tight show. The over all winner was“Here Piggy Piggy BBQ”. Congrats!!!!!.Congrats to everyone!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


The Marin farmers market is one of our favorite Sunday destinations. We have been going for years and are on first name basis with some of the venders. Summer produce is in and the market is very colorful. I would like to share a couple of images with you.

I have always wondered what to do with rhubarb.

This vender is selling t-shirts with the image of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Civic center in the background. It is a very unique building that shadows the Sunday market. It is a great
t-shirt to represent the Marin Farmers Market. We hope to see you there next Sunday!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Bacon weave, is it a new hairstyle? Or is a wonderful crust to a stuffed pork loin. It is the latter and this lattice of bacon will cradle and protect our pork loin roast stuffed with home made sausage. The home made jalapeno sausage was made with some very tasty Mangalista pork fat. All this juicy pork will be cooked in a covered barbeque kettle perfumed with apple wood smoke. This apple wood smoke will be generated by wood that was procured from ‘John’s Wood’. My mouth is watering right now.

The first task was to butterfly our pork loin roast with a very sharp knife. The roast was given a couple of whacks with my trusty meat pounder to uniformly flatten this sausage holding vehicle. Some wax paper was put on the cutting board for our pound of bacon to be woven. A simple braid made these rashers into a colorful arrangement. The weave was put into the refrigerator to firm. All that is left is to assemble this meat log of love. The sausage was spread over the flattened roast and rolled up. The bacon weave was rolled around the roast and the wax paper was removed.

The barbeque kettle was prepared for an indirect fire. Some of our favorite charcoal briquettes were ignited in a chimney starter. Once they were glowing a couple of sticks of apple wood were placed on the fire. The meat log was gently lowered to the center of the grill and the lid was put into place. All that was left to do was wait for the internal temperature to hit 145 degrees. Once our target temperature was met the roast was removed and covered for a 15 minute rest.

Pork, in Pork, on Pork was the ticket today. Juicy and tender with salty bacon and a jalapeno flavored center made for one tasty roast. Apple wood smoke left a subtle kiss of flavor. The bacon weave made for one pretty presentation. This roast was a Mad Meat Genius creation that will go down in our history book of flavor. Wow!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


In search of chocolate covered bacon was our quest at the Zucchini Festival in Hayward California. Yes, there was deep fried zucchini but no bacon. We did happen across ‘John’s Wood’ booth. This was a barbeque smoker’s bonanza find. John has multiple varieties of woods for smoking purposes. Alder, pecan, apple, mesquite, cherry, peach are some of the woods for sale.

Apple wood was our selection. A large shopping bag full of small chunks of wood was filled for the paltry sum of six smackeroos. ‘John’s Wood’ is a resource that will be great for our future smoking materials. No chocolate covered bacon today but a great find for smoking woods.

John’s Wood
510 317-0230

Saturday, August 20, 2011


We are going to the Zucchini Festival in search of chocolate covered bacon. Have a great weekend! and "Eat more Steak".

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Welcome to today’s Bacon Revue show. The stage will be a moving venue of sorts. The curtain will rise and we will begin at the Kensington farmers market and meet Scott Brennan, proprietor of the “Fifth Quarter’. ‘The Fifth Quarter’ is a company that specializes in charcuterie. Scott prepares his meats in a commercial kitchen in Emeryville and sells his finished products at the Kensington Farmers Markets. His farmer’s market booth has a black board listing specials, cured and pickled meats that are available for purchase. He will gladly offer tastes and of course I had to try the pickled lambs tongue. No, it did not taste like chicken. Scott also cures and smokes his own bacon. This is the Bacon Revue and we needed a performer to fill our stage. Fifth Quarter bacon will fill the bill, so let’s proceed with the second act where the venue will be at the Chilebrown kitchen.

This beautiful eye candy of a slab has a fancy pedigree of the Berkshire hog. It has been cured in salt and organic cane syrup. After a curing period it was then hot smoked with hickory and apple wood. This bacon has a very smoky aroma. Once sliced, we noticed a good fat to meat ration. Our trusty black iron pan was put on the fire for cooking duties. The bacon crisped up very nicely. The first bite was crisp with a slight chew of the meat. While chewing, a special meaty pork flavor danced on the tip of our taste buds. I think it is the Berkshire breed that is providing this porky flavor moment. Smoke is oh so prevalent but not overpowering. The sugar and salt are in the background with a good balance. This bacon has what it takes with fantastic pork flavor.

The ‘Fifth Quarter’ bacon will score very high today. Great balance of sugar & salt, smoke and a wonderful pork flavor will score this bacon at 4.5 stars out of 5. We made a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with some ‘Fougassi’ bread from Wild Flour Bakery. The tomatos were from the garden. This show will end on a high note with one of the best sandwiches of the year. The encore will be; ‘BLT’s for everyone!

Fifth Quarter Charcuterie

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Cost: 9.00/pound
Where: Kensington Farmers Market.
510 289-8013

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Many, many moons ago a young Mad Meat Genius took a driving test at the Oakland branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Fast forward and now every Sunday, in the parking lot of this D.M.V. the ‘Temescal Farmers Market’ takes place. Things sure have changed in the old neighborhood. A working class predominately Italian community has been transformed into a yuppie wonderland. This market is a showcase of high end vegetables and food products. Today we found, a new to us, chile pepper called Shishito. It is a funny name for the pepper that claims to be a Japanese cousin to the Spanish padron. We could not resist.

To be honest I am not all that familiar with the padron pepper. People rave about their flavor. A simple sautéing in olive oil and dressed with salt is the consensus of preparation. Of course we will have our Chilebrown twist to this process. Our peppers will be oiled and salted but they will be grilled over a hot mesquite fire. We just blistered the oiled peppers and dusted them lightly with a sprinkling of sea salt.

Yes, these peppers are delicious. We picked them up by the stem and plucked them in our mouth. They were slightly sweet with a smoky flavor from the pepper and the fire. I did not notice any heat but did experience a fresh vibrant green pepper flavor. What ever you want to call these peppers they are yummy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


There is some wonderful bacon in the Chilebrown ice cave, just waiting to be unleashed for a wonderful lunch. This bacon from Schreiner’s will be used in our quesadilla filling and also the bacon drippings will be incorporated into our home made flour tortilla. Some grilled tomatillo salsa will top off our bacon creation.

We fired up the grill and roasted some home grown vegetables. The tomatillos and tomato’s were provided by our neighbor James. When James is not growing killer vegetables, he is my partner in crime at the Chili competition. The peppers were from my pepper patch. Grilled, spiced and blended made for one delicious salsa.

Flour tortillas are very simple to make. I substituted bacon fat for the shortening in this recipe. A tortilla press was used to flatten these discs of comfort before being cooked in a hot cast iron skillet.

  • 3 cups unbleached flour

  • 2 tsp. backing powder

  • 1 tsp. Salt

  • 4-6 Tbsp. vegetable shortening or lard

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water

    Combine all the ingredients and gently knead. Let rest for 15 minutes covered. Form into balls and flatten in tortilla press. (You can use a rolling pin). Cook on a non-greased hot skillet for 3 minutes a side.

Jack cheese and bacon slices were the filling of our quesadilla. A green salad was added just for color and a little crunch. I do not know who said: “Everything tastes better with bacon”, but they were right.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


We have made jalapeno pork sausage several times here at Mad Meat Genius, but today’s version will have a special Chilebrown twist. We are going to use pork fat from the Mangalista pig in our sausage preparation. We prepared a Mangalista pork shoulder last month and reserved the fat cap. This fat is very special. It is almost pure white. It has a very low melting point and just tastes fantastic. The Mangalista pig is well known for their superior fat. This lard will be our key ingredient in these stuffed meat tubes of joy.

Pork loin will be the meat combined with our special lard. A couple of Jalapenos, fresh garlic, cilantro, a splash of sugar & salt with a dash of our not so secret rub are our ingredients. The fat was semi frozen to enable it to go through the cutting blades without melting. All the ingredients went through our Kitchen Aid sausage grinder attachment. The mixture was thoroughly mixed and refrigerated for a couple of hours. We then stuffed our meat mixture into casings.

This sausage was coiled and skewered for easy manipulation on the grill. It was cooked indirectly with a medium heat. These sausages had a high fat content and would explode or flame up on a direct fire. They were cooked until the internal temperature hit 150 degrees. They were rested and then sliced. This was a taste treat. The jalapenos did not add heat but a slight pepper flavor profile. The star of this super juicy and flavorful sausage was the pork. The Mangalista fat flavored and coddled our pork loin with porky goodness. Oh was this a success. We got a chuckle that our fat component cost four times as much as our meat (pork loin). It sure was worth it.

Monday, August 8, 2011


My peach tree only produced one fruit this year. That is just peachy fine because it was delicious.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


We found some fresh cranberry beans at the farmers market. These are a magical treat that cannot be beat. Simmer for a short time in a flavorful broth and then add bacon, onion and some spices and you will have a meal that will make you happy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


There is a very special drawer in my kitchen. It is the ‘Drawer of No Return’ kitchen utensils, a sort of graveyard of gadgets. It is very possible that you may have a similar storage area of cast-offs. Zoomie, a local wordsmith was cleaning out her drawer and gifted me these ‘Steak Buttons’. They are little tiny thermometers that are meant for steaks on the grill. They are placed on your steaks and the gauge will inform you of the degree of doneness. They seemed like a novel idea and we just so happen to be cooking some steaks this weekend.

Hundreds of steaks have visited my grill. I do admit to using an instant read thermometer for larger cuts and roasts. It is an important tool. Tonight a couple of one inch thick ‘New York’ steaks from Angelo’s will be our test meat. A hot mesquite fire was started. The grill was cleaned and oiled. Three minutes of cooking time and the steaks were rotated for grill marks. After six minutes the steaks were turned and the steak buttons were inserted. Nine minutes have elapsed, and in my opinion, from past experience the steaks were done to medium rare. Will the steak buttons confirm this? I looked down at the buttons and realized they were tiny little things. I could not read them unless I had some powerful glasses or a magnifying glass. I tried to get a little closer but I did not want to singe my eye brows. The steaks did turn out medium rare. This was the end of our little experiment. In conclusion the ‘Steak Buttons’ are destined for the “Drawer of No Return”.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Welcome to the Bacon Revue. It has been a long time since we have opened the curtains and showcased some bacon. Today’s act,’ Schreiners Fine Sausages’ comes from Glendale in ‘So-Cal’. We visited this fine establishment while on our journey to Harry Soo’s barbeque class. This meat market has been smoking and curing its fine meat products since 1952. Schreiners is a colorful and festive establishment. The female employees all dress in dirndls, the traditional dresses worn in Austria and southern Germany.

Schreiners Fines Sausages is a well stocked meat market and delicatessen. It was quit popular with people buying sandwiches during our visit. The employees are more than welcome to give you samples of all the various cured meat delights. Knockwurst, Bratwurst, hams, bacon's, so many different sausages, and fresh meats, but today our show is about the bacon.

The bacon was packaged in shrink-wrap for traveling. Once the slab was freed from its protective case a beautiful smoky aroma emerged to tease our taste buds. This was a beautiful looking slab. The meat to fat ratio was even. No rind is always a plus in my book. The bacon sizzled and popped as the show required. This was a good balanced piece of pork belly. Salt and sugar were present but not overpowering. The smoke was a complimenting component. It is always about the balance. This bacon is solid all the way around. Some cooked slices and left over fat was used in our ‘Warm Bacon Coleslaw” recipe listed below.

Warm Bacon Coleslaw

1 head of cabbage sliced thinly
½ small red onion sliced thinly
1 carrot sliced thinly
5 strips of cooked bacon chopped reserving ¼ cup of fat
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ olive oil`
1 teaspoon of salt
pepper to taste

Combine cabbage, carrots, onions in a bowl . In the skillet that you cooked your bacon, add mustard, olive oil, vinegar and reserved bacon, sugar, salt & pepper. Heat till very hot. Remove from heat and stir into cabbage mixture. Top with chopped bacon pieces and serve immediately.

Cabbage and bacon are two great ingredients alone but when they are combined they are a star on the stage of the Bacon Revue. This was served as a side dish to our grilled steak. I hope you enjoyed the ‘Bacon Revue” today. If you plan to visit ‘So-Cal’ be sure to visit Schreiners. You will want to bring an empty ice chest for all your meat finds. Today’s bacon was well balanced in all the right flavor components and will receive 4 stars out of 5.

Schreiner’s Fine Sausages

Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Where: 3417 Ocean View Blvd.
Glendale, Ca. 91208
818 244-4735
Cost: 7.00/pound