Chilebrown at home

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Welcome to Montague, Siskiyou County, (Jefferson) California. The Montague ‘Rotary Club’ hosted the ‘Siskiyou Beef Country Cook-off, a KCBS sanctioned inaugural event. The town rolled out the red carpet for the visiting cooks, judges, and hungry public. Montague is a small town with a large and welcoming heart. Montague at one time was a hub for bringing cattle from Nevada, Oregon and California to be loaded on the train. The town is no longer the bustling cow town it once was but the cowboy spirit lives on.

This event was so much more than just a barbeque cook-off. The local farmers market was held showcasing lavenders, honey and produce from the area. Free snow cones were distributed to the kids. I liked the cherry flavor myself. We were entertained by actors staging bank hold-ups firing realistic guns. Wow, those guns were loud. Tractor displays, monuments and just the ambiance of this old town made for a wonderful day.

What event in Northern California would not be complete without the Clampers attending? Yes, E.C.V. the red-shirted fraternal organization had a booth selling various food treats. The smell of barbeque would make anybody hungry. This pig roasting sure looked tempting.

Most important of all, this was a barbeque competition. Once again the judges were spoiled with an air-conditioned hall to perform our tasting and scoring. The outside temperature sweltered in the nineties. The cooks shocked and awed us with their award winning entries. Bill & Yvonne Sousa of the “Big B’s Down & Dirty” team were victorious, winning the trophy of Grand Champion. Congratulations you two!  Thanks to the ‘Montague Rotary Club’ for a great event. This contest has already been put on our calendar for next year.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


We are in Northern California way up in Siskiyou County in the small town of Montague attending and judging a BBQ competition. I am not sure if the World Wide Internet reaches this remote section of our golden state. Hence, we would like to show you a couple of images of Lucy at the ballpark.

The Oakland A's sponsored a bring your dog to the ballpark day. Approximately 720 dogs and their owners attempted to set a Guinness world record of most dogs at a sporting event. Ms. Goofy,The President of Cookies & Lucy attended and had a doggone good time. Lucy did not win the photo contest but we would like to Thankyou for your support. See you next week.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Today’s Meat Adventure brings us to Walmart. You may ask why Walmart? They have been advertising Choice grade beef at low prices. Now before you get all bent out of shape and you are a Walmart hater please skip the review and read the disclaimer below.

Walking into s Supercenter Walmart is a surreal experience. This place is huge. I think they should give a GPS unit while entering. Luckily the food items were located in the front of the store and Ms. Goofy sniffed out the meat department. They have a large selection of various cuts of meat. We noticed the reasonable prices, meaning cheap. We always prefer the rib-eye cut of beef. We believe that this cut has the most flavor. This thick cut, well marbled hunk of beef weighed 1.67 pounds at $10.98/pound. Wow Choice grade beef at $10.98 a pound. We paid for our beef, went through metal detectors, passed by an armed guard, jumped into the ‘Racing Honda’ and sped home with our bounty of ‘Choice’ meat.

Once home we inspected our purchase. The first thing I noticed that our rib-eye steak was perfectly squared. I have never had a cut of beef so uniformly cut. We seasoned our beef with salt & pepper only. A hot mesquite fire was built. Grill marks were branded. We were going to have a steak dinner tonight.

This beef tastes great. Tender, juicy and that corn fed flavor that most of America craves. It was a little weird cooking a square steak but our pocket books thanked us. The price of this steak dinner was friendly on the wallet. The taste was what I believe beef should taste like.  Walmart steaks might not be for everybody but we enjoyed our dinner.

Disclaimer: We all make choices in life. We can choose to shop and vote for products with our dollars. If you want to buy grass fed, pasture raised local, happy, natural, free range, high price beef that is your prerogative. For all I know this beef comes from China and is raised by enslaved, tortured child labor. It does have the United States Department of Agriculture approval I have heard all the arguments about the harm Walmart has caused the community and this in not the forum to address that issue. With that said we are sampling beef today.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Pig Salt Spice Co. has several spice mixes that have made the process of making bacon convenient and tasty. Who does not love bacon? These spice mixes are the bomb. Please check out my latest review


Sunday, July 22, 2012


It was smoking in the oaks at Penn Valley, California yesterday. The thermometer hovered in the nineties. This was perfect weather to have a barbeque competition. Twenty five teams braved the sweltering heat to produce award winning BBQ. The heat did not dissuade the crowd from enjoying the day. There was a long line forming before the 1:00pm start time. The public would gain free entry with a canned food item. They were then able to purchase food sample tickets for a nominal fee.

This event was held in a lovely venue. There were brand new Bocce Ball courts, swimming pool, Frisbee golf course, picnic areas and plenty of trees to hide from the sun. The judges today were especially spoiled. We were situated in an air conditioned house with all the amenities. We even had our own kitchen in case we were still hungry after judging the four meat categories. That was a joke son!

Sierra Nevada Beer had a booth that probably set a record in sales. I am sure the lemonade and ice cream venders were not far behind. Once you had your fill of BBQ and beverages it was prudent to find some shade and enjoy the music. Several bands played throughout the day. What a day it was.

Today the Grand Champion of the BBQ competition was the team of ‘Big B’s Down & Dirty’. Our friends, Bill, Yvonne and Eddie Souza are the backbone and cookers of this very special award winning team. Congratulations!!!!!!!  Last but not least a special shoutout to Scott Gomes who created a wonderful event: Scott you created a masterpiece. See you at the next competition.

Friday, July 20, 2012


We have been picking cherry tomato's for several weeks now.. Cherry tomato's are great in sauces and salads but are not preferable for our favorite sandwich. Our patience has finally been rewarded with the ripening of this beauty. Some pork bellies were cured and smoked in anticipation of this event. A loaf of fresh bread was picked up at our local pizza parlor. Let the BLT's begin.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


This weekend you will have a chance to experience and sample some of the best BBQ in the nation. Our destination is Penn Valley located in 'Gold Country' the foothills of the Sierra. This will be a beautiful venue to enjoy music, brews and barbeque. Ms. Goofy and I will be there wearing our judges badges. We hope you can make it.

Smokin In The Oaks Penn Valley July 20, 21
18560 Penn Valley Drive,  
Penn Valley, CA 95946 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


What do you call a competition that showcases multiple bacon dishes and you get to sample them all? The ‘Bacon Takedown of course. The winner will win a years supply of bacon. We are in San Francisco at the ‘Public Works’. This is a hip and trendy venue that is perfect for bacon consumption. The word got out and people were lined up before the 2:00 pm opening. We arrived early to stake our place in line. The crowd was lively with bacon attire and a Mohawk or two. The clock struck two and the line snaked in for a bacon satisfaction.

We had two levels of competitors; upstairs and downstairs of course. The promoter was on stage announcing the ground rules. It was our job to taste each and every entry. When we were finished, we would choose a competitor and vote. There were numerous tables set up with serving and warming trays. Some competitors had small portable stoves to prepare their entries.

Bacon maple waffles, bacon jello, bacon smores, bacon soup, bacon sandwiches, let me catch my breath for a second. We filled up our plate and headed to the bar for some libations to lubricate our bacon gullets. After our short break we sampled on. Bacon cannoli with a rich bacon cream, bacon pixie sticks, ‘bacon belly burger with blue cheese bombs’, bacon quinoa salad, and a Korean fried takoyaki style bacon ball (with or without Kimchee) were offered. Bacon, Bacon, Bacon.

We came, we saw, we conquered the Bacon Takedown. This is my kind of event. Next year I will have to compete. A year’s supply of bacon sounds very tempting. We are looking forward to next years Bacon Takedown but for now I need some pepto.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


It is a beautiful day in Santa Rosa, California. The weather is perfect to enjoy barbeque and a glass of local wine. Ms. Goofy and I will partake in the grape but will have to wait till after our judging duties. Today there are 26 teams competing in the KCBS sanctioned contest. The four meat categories will be represented but there will be two auxiliary categories. This will be lamb and pork belly. Did somebody mention pork belly? Now this will be my kind of category. The pork belly turn in at our table included a crostini covered with “BLT” toppings with a cheese stuffed pepper, braised belly, and a pizza with spicy Asian flavored pork belly. This was very tough to judge because I loved them all.

Wine Country Big Q is held at a private High School in the foothills of Santa Rosa. This venue is beautiful with a view of the valley. There is plenty of room to browse the different booths offering wine and food. Local vintners have booths set up to sample their different offerings of wine.

 A custom chuck wagon made for a unique and fun grill. ‘Vic Chicks’ were offering Tri-tip cooked in a custom smoker that originated from “Trader Vic’s”. The ‘Clampers’ were even represented today. I never associated E. Clampus Vitus with wine but what do I know.

Today’s Grand Champion was the team of ‘R & R’ barbeque. Congratulation! This was another great day of barbeque. A couple of glasses of fermented grape was the icing on the cake. Thanks to Judy Groverman Walker for putting together a wonderful event. We are looking forward to next year.


 ‘The Bacon Takedown’ will be held today at 2:00 pm in San Francisco at the Public Works. This will be an opportunity for you to be a judge in a cooking competition. Bacon is the main ingredient. Bacon tamales, bacon candy, bacon sushi and anything you can imagine will be offered. Your admission ticket will allow you to sample all the entries. You know Ms. Goofy and I will be there.

Bacon Takedown
Public Works
161 Erie St.
San Francisco, Ca. 94102

Friday, July 13, 2012


This month of July is very busy for us. There is a BBQ event every weekend. This Saturday we will be in Santa Rosa wearing our judge’s badges at the "Wine Country Big Q". We attended last year and had a lot of fun. This is a good opportunity to try local wines with some award winning barbeque. Here are a couple of words from 'Wine County Big Q". Hope to see your there.

Join us at the second annual Wine Country Big Q Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) nationally sanctioned competition at Sonoma Academy in Santa Rosa, California. Everyone loves barbecue and some of the best Pit Masters will be here to serve you up a slice. Sample great “authentic” barbecued meats, world class wines, award-winning brews while enjoying great country and blues music. Bring all of your senses to life as you wander amongst the teams see, smell and taste mouthwatering barbecue.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Lucy our 'Golden Retriever Lap' dog is entered in a photo contest. She will be attending the 'A's Dog Day' next Thursday at the Oakland Coliseum. Meanwhile she has an entry in the 'Best Dressed Big Dog' category. She is the dog in the first column on the right. We are asking for your help with a vote. It will only cost you an email address. You will have till tomorrow July 13 11:59pm. We will donate the prize to an animal shelter.  Thanks everyone.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


We live in the small town of Rodeo, California. Downtown is a whopping three blocks long. We have a post office, couple of restaurants, little league field, barber, Lakeman’s Club and believe it or not we are Starbucks free. Where do all the locals go for breakfast? Flippy’s is our destination for a good old fashioned Diner style breakfast. Flippy’s also hosts an informal daily coffee fueled meeting of local residents, fisherman and workers. This will also be a good place to continue our search for great pork chops.

Walking into Flippy’s was a step back to the 50’s. There are a lot of baseball memorabilia and a mural depicting the history of Rodeo on the wall.  Clean and tidy counter or old style diner booths are your choice of seats. This is a family run operation that only had a fry cook and friendly server at our visit. There were only a few customers, so we must have missed the morning meeting. The menu is pretty standard breakfast fair. We placed our order and received our bottomless coffee mug.

Deep fried pork chops with biscuits and gravy is a hearty combination that will bring the cholesterol police to your heart. This breakfast was tasty and filling. I love pork chops. A coating of bread crumbs and a trip to the fryolater and I am in pork heaven. The biscuits were fluffy but the gravy probably took a trip through the microwave. This plate will not win any trophy’s but was tasty, filling, and comforting. Ms. Goofy had a ham and cheese omelet and ate every morsel.

Flippy’s is our local treasure. They serve only breakfast and lunch. The staff is friendly and warm. This is a restaurant were everybody knows your name. The food will not win any awards but is good standard diner fair. If you are ever in the neighborhood, stop on by and sample some of Rodeo’s charm.

240 Parker Av.
Rodeo, Ca. 94572
510 799-4400

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Here we are at the ‘Bay Area BBQ Championship and Ms. Goofy and I have traded in our judges badges for an apron and a chef jacket. This weekend we joined the team of ‘Butcher’s Daughter’ a professional competition BBQ team. Donna Fong is the captain of this boat and we were going to be her assistants. We are on a mission to become ‘KCBS Master Judges’. One of the requirements to achieve this goal is to cook with a team. Donna was very gracious to become our sponsor. Little did she know what was in store? We arrived Friday afternoon to help set up our cooking area. Before we knew it we ended up on a panel to sample, taste and rate 10 different barbeque sauces. This was the beginning of a wild and fun ride at the Bay Area BBQ Championship.

After wiping all the barbeque sauce off of our faces we met with Donna. Donna has a game plan that is very organized. We had a chart with the different meat categories, times and procedures. Donna explained what she expected of us. One of the first duties is to prepare your meats for the cooker. This was a hands on classroom that was fascinating to us. The early evening approached and my first duty was to light the fire. I was able to accomplish my first task.

It is now Saturday and several meats are almost done. We prepped the chicken and ribs for a morning cook. Our first turn in of chicken is at 11:00 am and every half hour after that we will turn in another meat for judging. Timing is very critical to have your meats cooked to perfection in these time frames. We turned, basted, and foiled our meats. We tasted and adjusted seasonings. We kept to Donna’s plan as well as we could. There are always variables in any contest.

It is 10:50 am and our chicken is done, dressed and boxed for judging. Somebody needs to be a ‘runner’. This person will take the entry and walk it to the turn in area. Yours truly would tackle this assignment. I have never been so nervous. One slip, jostle or heaven forbid a fall would be disaster. On my journey my thoughts went like this; “Pick up your feet, Look out for that person on the left, Watch your step,” I made it and was relieved.

We finished our cook and turned in all our entries. We were exhausted. It was several hours to the award ceremony. During our wait we reflected on our efforts. Was the chicken overcooked? Did we use the right seasoning for the ribs? Was the brisket too salty? The wait was nerve wracking. The award ceremony began and the chicken category winners were announced. We kept listening for Butchers Daughter name to be announced. Would we even place? Would we take the walk? They announced second place and only first was left. “‘Butcher’s Daughter’ first place chicken”, shouted the announcer. I lost my breath. We were going to take the walk. Grins ear to ear showed our joy. We still had three categories to go.

Tenth place ribs, seventh place pork, second place brisket, we took the walk four times. WOW! All that was left was the announcement of the overall winner, the Grand Champion. Yes, you guessed it, Butcher’s Daughter Grand Champion. We hugged, wept, jumped for joy and took that coveted walk. Donna, her daughter and Mother, Ms. Goofy and I walked to the stage and accepted the award. What a day!!!!!!!!!!

I am sorry that pictures of our food entries could not be shared but Donna has her secrets safe with us. Thankyou Donna for letting us cook with you and creating a day we will remember forever.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


You are probably having your morning coffee and reading your daily newspaper. We are in a parking lot at the Oakland Coliseum  cooking four meats to present to the judges. What does that have to do with this scrumptious slice of olive oil cake with fresh blueberry topping and cream? Nothing, but you can read my latest review of a very good tasting olive oil.