Chilebrown at home

Thursday, May 30, 2013


A nice perk of being a barbeque judge is bringing home leftover competition meat. Left over brisket makes some of the best chili ever. It is already smoked, seasoned and usually tender. A few spices, onions, liquid and our chopped up meat (sometimes beans)  meld together to form “A Bowl of Red” that will satisfy this hardcore Chilehead. Today we are using a blend of dried chile’s and spices named ‘Larry Walton’s Chili Blend”. This mix will add even more convenience and possibly award winning flavor to our chili pot.

“Larry Walton’s Chili Blend’ is a mix from the spice company Mild Bills. Larry Walton is an award winning chili competitor and this may be his championship recipe. It comes in two packages called ‘dumps’. A ‘dump’ is when you add a package of spices to your chili pot. The dumps are done at different times during the cooking process for maximum flavor.
  Assembling this meal could not be easier. A chopped onion was simmered in some bacon fat. (Imagine that). The first dump was added. The smell of chili powders and spices was intoxicatingly delicious. A can of tomato sauce and a couple of cups of beef broth was added. This mixture was simmered for 30 minutes. It was time to add the chopped up leftover brisket. I added more liquid to cover said meat. Once the simmer returned the second dump was added. This cauldron of spicy meat was a beautiful bright red. The kitchen smells wonderful. Thirty more minutes of cooking time was counted off. While the pot simmered, I made some bacon studded cornbread.

What a great bowl of red. It was well balanced with salt, cumin, spices and most important of all chili flavor. The heat level was on the mild side. This is stick to your ribs, throw you on the couch chili. It was very convenient and easy to use. The secret weapon was some of the best leftover brisket ever. Bacon cornbread was the icing on the cake. I think I am going to take a nap. Oscar and Lucy will have to get off the couch.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I have a deep dark secret that I share with the majority of this nation. I occasionally crave a fast food burger. The combination of fat, salt, and comforting flavors is a combination that just cannot be beat. There are so many choices to purchase a burger and we all have our favorites. Today we are going to ‘Five Guys’. This chain recently opened in Pinole, California a nearby town. It is located by the local high school for maximum foot traffic. It is so close that the ‘Racing Honda’s tires will not even be warm when we arrive. Thank Gosh!

We arrive at the noon hour. It is fairly crowded with locals, high school kids and a bakers dozen of an armed “Swat Team”. I guess we can have peace of mind of an absence of any foul play today. You go to the counter to place your order. Here it gets interesting. The item choices are small (burgers and hot dogs) but the condiment selection is huge. They call the condiments toppers. An interesting feature for the French fries is the chalk board that lists the origin of the spuds. Today we are having “Lavgarelle Stecklien’ from Blackfoot, Idaho.

. Are you ready for this list? Mayo, lettuce, pickles, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, A-1 steak sauce, bar-b-que sauce, hot sauce are the listed condiments. To make things easier I just order a bacon cheeseburger with the works. You pay and receive a number. All the burgers are made to order. Liquidy Split our number is called.

The burger is just what we need to fill our craving. It is juicy, salty, warm and comforting. The hodgepodge of condiments flavors get lost in its massive jumble. I do taste the mushrooms and grilled onions. The bacon is actually fairly decent.  The French fries are crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. The perfect amount of salt teases and taunts you to have another fry. Today’s meal is just what the doctored ordered. Five Guys is now another choice to get our burger on.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

3rd Annual Blues, Brews, & BBQ

What a great way to start out a long weekend. We participated and experienced the 3rd annual 'Blues, Brews & BBQ' in Brentwood California. Ms. Goofy and I polished our judges badges and bravely sampled and scored some of the best BBQ in the nation. I say bravely because if you look real close at the rib in the above image you may notice a little charcoal coloring. This actually was a stunt rib offered as a joke by the team of "Burnt Offerings BBQ". We would like to share a couple of images of the day with you.

There was a good crowd that was in a festive mood. There was plenty to do and see on this bright sunny day.. It is always fun to watch the competitors work their magic with fire and smoke. There was plenty of food offerings for the hungry masses. Of course some adult beverages was the prevalent crowd choice. The "Sierra Nevada' beer booth took good care of that. There was a car show that displayed some highly polished classic vehicles. Booths hawking products and services was there for the browsing. If you were still in the shopping mode a lot of tony shops were available. Of course we were there for the BBQ.

The team of "Too Ashamed to Name must of bought their tent on sale because when they put it together it came up a little short. Short on stature but tall on bbq skills.

Ryan Pang of 'Bad S BBQ had a great promotion of giving away a free stuffed toy with each purchase. I was really tempted to try his different offerings of chili. "Oh come on!".  I would of given the stuffed animal to Ms. Goofy. There was a team with the name "Team Bacon". As some of you may know I like bacon. I have been known to sometimes go a little overboard and today was no exception. I begged Team Bacon to let me  join the group. My attempt was short lived because I  realized I had judging duties to perform.

 The bbq entries had been received and scored. It was time to relax and wait for the award ceremony. This group had a very comfortable set up. The awards would not be announced until 5:30. Ms. Goofy and I had to return home. Luckily our friend Jon of the team "Smokey J's Bar-B-Que kept us informed of the awards ceremony by social media. It was not the same as being there but we were on the edge of our seats waiting for the calls.

This young gentleman  taking a nap, before winning 5th place overall, is Zach Galiste of the team "Son of Smoke". He is the future of Barbeque Competition. Congratulations to Zach and Derrick Galiste. Reserve Grand Champions went to 'Big B's Down & Dirty". "Drum roll please" The Grand Champion trophy was awarded to the team of "Burnin and Lootin". It was a great day! 

Saturday, May 25, 2013


On the west coast Kansas City style barbeque sauce isthe prevalent condiment used. We taste traveled to the Carolinas for another flavor profile of barbeque sauce. Mustard bbq sauce is on the plate today for sampling and review. KLB's Barbecue sauce makes a "Southern Style Mustard Bar-B-Que Sauce". This was a fun and tasty journey. Come along and sample something fun and different.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


This weekend in Brentwood California the 3rd annual 'Blues Brew & BBQ will be held. This is a great event to get your BBQ on and listen to some great music. Ms. Goofy and I will be attending with our judges badges shining. This promises to be a do not miss event. Hope to see you there!

Blues Brews & BBQ

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


English shelling peas should be called green candy. A good proportion of the harvest does not even make it to the kitchen. Eating a fresh pea right our of the garden is a sweet treat that is a reward for your gardening effort. Once you have tasted the home grown fruit of a 'pisum sativum, frozen peas will never be the same. I like to eat them raw but blanching peas for a few seconds is the only cooking needed. What a treat!!!!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Un-smoked pig jowl or cheek that is cured and air dried is called Guanciale. This is Italian bacon that is very rich and flavorful.” And now for the rest of the story.” It was time to pay a visit to my good friend Angelo Ibieto. Angelo is the proud and colorful owner, proprietor of ‘Angelo’s Meats’ in Petaluma, California. It is always an adventure in good eats and friendship with our visits. This was a surprise visit so fresh baked focaccia or risotto was not waiting for me. Angelo was in good spirits. He scolded me for not bringing Ms. Goofy on this adventure. Angelo showed me some pork bellies that he had just procured for future bacon. He explained that he bought imported bellies because they were meatier than local bellies.  Domestic bellies do not have the meat to fat ratio that his customers want. Normally the bellies come from Denmark and today he had a shipment from Poland shown by the inspectors stamp.

We were talking about pigs and what to does with the head came up. I told him about my experience baking a whole pigs head. Angelo told me that he was curing the cheeks to make some Guanciale. He showed me the cheeks in a curing bucket that were covered in salt and spices. Angelo asked me if I wanted one. I hesitated and before I could reply he grabbed one and wrapped it up. He even threw in a hanging fork. I received some simple instructions and I was set. I loaded up my ice chest and said my goodbyes.

Rinsing the cured cheek of all the spices is the first task at hand. I patted it dry and applied freshly cracked black pepper. I then inserted the hanging fork. Now it just needs to be hung and air dried for at least three weeks. We have a spare room and closet that will be a good place to hide this drying bacon from Oscar, Lucy, and Ms. Goofy. Oh by the way, I did not mention to Ms. Goofy that there is meat hanging in her spare closet. Hopefully she will not read this post for at least three weeks. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 17, 2013


Gentleman, start your grills. Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the barbeque season. Here at Mad Meat Genius our grill glows year round. Barbecue sauce is an important component of a tasty grilled meal. We were privileged to sample and critique Dimples Barbecue sauce. Would you like to find out what we thought? Please click the link below to find out. Happy Q.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


The pepper patch is looking nice and healthy with many exotic varieties of chile plants. One pepper that is kind of fun and a little unusual is the fish pepper. This pepper comes from the "Triple T Ranch'. They grow these peppers plants and transform the fruits into hot sauce. The description says these peppers are the best variety for when cooking with fish. Some of the leaves have white stripes throughout. This pepper will have a good home in the Chilebrown pepper patch.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Mad Dog Fusion Ghost Oil is a very hot oil that will leave smiles on the face of hard core Chileheads. This oil has Ghost in the title for a reason. Check out the latest review on Peppers & More.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


The Racing Honda’s destination was Livermore California. We had a smoky tip that ‘burnt ends’ were being served at ‘Sauced BBQ & Spirits’. Say no more. It is our duty as certified ‘Master Judge’ bbq freaks to investigate this meat candy allegation. Sauced is located in downtown Livermore. Livermore is no longer a dusty cowtown but a trendy wine producing destination. Sauced is located right smack in the middle of this smart, modern, new urban area. A large building surrounded by an outdoor patio has two wood pile stacks that offer a tease of possible barbeque greatness inside. We have arrived at Sauced BBQ & Spirits.

Upon entering Sauced we are immediately seated by the hostess. We have seating choices of the large sports bar area or equally huge dinning area. The place is pretty full for the noon hour. Sauced has a fun vibration. We learn that live bands play in the evening. There are numerous televisions for sporting events. We are seated and I immediately survey the four large squeeze bottle containers of bbq sauce housed in a beer six pack container. I have not even looked at the menu and I am sampling sauces.

Pig Candy, Tin Roof, Hot Tin Roof, and a fourth called Georgia?  All of these sauces were cloyingly sweet. The Tin Roof was tomato based with a pronounced honey flavors. The hot version was fueled by habaneros and had a bite to prove it.  Pig Candy was another sweet sauce. The name escapes me so we will call it Georgia, had a mustard tang. All of these sauces were sweet and I am glad we have the choice to use them or not.

The three -way combo allows you to sample several meats and my choices were: burnt ends, ribs, and sliced brisket. The plate was brought from the kitchen promptly. It was a beautiful plate. The sliced brisket had a fabulous smoke ring. The burnt ends made me drool with its shiny carmelization. The ribs were dark and looked inviting. If only I could eat with just my eyes. The sliced brisket was tender and the pull test offered partial proof. In spite of a spectacular smoke ring, smoke flavor was absent. The beefy flavor that I crave was also missing. The burnt ends were on the mushy side. I so wanted that beautiful bite of flavorful meat candy. The ribs had a chewy crust that encased pockets of unrendored fat. Each bite I took was full of grease from  fat. Most noticeable of all three meats was the lack of seasoning. They had to use some rub demonstrated by the nice coloring of the finished product. These rubs must have lacked salt which resulted in lackluster flavor that just did not have any pizzazz  The sides were no different on the seasoning issue. A pinch of salt could have saved  this pedestrian Apple Cole slaw. The cornbread was a sticky sweet dry disappointment.

Ms. Goofy ordered pulled pork, one of her all-time favorite barbeque items. The cooks slathered her pulled pork with a vinegar sauce. Vinegar sauce with pulled pork is a traditional sauce and done correctly can be a work of brilliance. This offering was inedible  The only thing you could taste was vinegar. Ms. Goofy claimed the Mac & cheese was gloppy and gritty. Ms. Goofy left a full plate of food which is a very rare occurrence. The server even noticed the full plate of food. She said another customer had the same complaint. The server offered to give us a plate of food to go of some un-sauced pulled pork. This un-sauced pulled pork was very good. It was a nice offering by our friendly server but a little late.

I would like to mention a feature of the bar. Whiskey on tap is offered. Where have I been? I do not think you can order it by the pitcher but they do have a great selection of local micro-beers that you can. Sauced BBQ & Spirits is a fun lively place with a great wait staff. The barbequed meats need some work, a lot of work. The kitchen turned out some great looking food but neglected to properly season these offerings. We may return because of the fun factor and whiskey on tap. There are other menu items that sound tempting like the pimento cheese sandwich or the pulled pork stuffed jalapenos. See you soon!

Sauced BBQ & Spirits

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Be forewarned, you will now experience a typical day in the life of Chilebrown. I have met and conquered El Chupacabra (The Goat Sucker). When I am not judging BBQ competitions, managing farmers markets, searching for the ultimate Chile-Verde and local butcher shops, hot sauces are my passion. Yes, I admit that one of my favorite hangouts is ‘Heat Hot Sauce Shop’ of Berkeley California. Let’s start from the beginning. CaJohn’s is a manufacture of high quality hot sauces. I was a recipient of a free hot sauce from a giveaway on Facebook. This particular sauce is considered a super ultra-hot, non extract elixir. This sauce is not for the hot sauce challenged. I was a little apprehensive and possibly a little afraid of this heat bomb. In the next several moments we are going to meet the sauce, the tasters and tell you how it tasted. Please, continue reading at your own risk.

The Sauce

A journey into the unknown and unexplained tells us of a beast that devours and mutilates livestock. This is the legendary El Chupacabra. El Chupacabra hot sauce like the beast, may cause harm to us after ingesting this potent line up of super hot Caribbean chile’s.  An all-star exotic line up of Bhut Jolokia, Scotch Bonnet, Trinidad Scorpion, 7-Pot, Trinidad Scorpion Moruga peppers is putting fear into me now. There are also carrots, onion, mustard, vinegar and spices to tame this bevy of peppers. This may be one of the hottest sauces (non extract) on the market today

The Tasters

Dylan & Becky are owners of the newly opened hot sauce shop “Heat”. They have a great shop that has an extensive inventory of wonderful hot sauces. They even bottle and sell three sauces of their own. Dylan & Becky are more than willing to open a hot sauce bottle to sample and taste. These two have knowledge and fortitude to share this bottle of El Chupacabra. I trust that they can handle the heat of this formidable hot sauce. Ms. Goofy did not want any part of this experiment. I was having a few reservations myself. This would be a serious tasting. A bottle of milk was purchased just in case. Drinking dairy can sooth and calm the burning sensation. Dylan, Becky and I were ready to try El Chupacabra.


The sauce is an inviting red/orange thick smooth puree. No seeds are present. The top was ceremoniously removed. Pure hot exotic pepper aroma filled the shop and instilled fear into my mind. It is time to meet El Chupacabra. We pour cautiously into our tasting spoons. We glanced at each other. I made sure the milk was handy and ready. I taste fruity hot peppers, Dylan tastes mustard, and Becky is feeling a little dizzy. These are our initial thoughts and feelings. The second wave and experience is the heat building in your mouth. Did I just swallow a live hot coal? That is an exaggeration but it is a heat that puts your endorphins into overdrive. Dylan and I both had sinus reactions that put the Kleenex to use. Becky was fine with a couple of sips of coffee.

 When the fire subsided, we all agreed that this sauce did have great appeal. The peppers did have a Caribbean flair with its mustard, carrots and onions singing backup. You cannot ignore the heat. It is there and needs to be respected. We are professionals. (Did I really just say that?) CaJohn’s has a unique and very special sauce with El Chupacabra. This sauce will make any serious Chilehead happy. I am glad I was able to share it with Dylan, Becky and You the readers. We have conquered El Chuacabra!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


'Loud Orange Sunshine Mango Habenero Sauce' made our Cinco de Mayo shout with flavor. We made some fantastic guacamole with this mustard based sauce. Recipes and a review can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


“All Around The Mulberry Bush The Monkey Chased The Weasel”

Super Food; Cancer prevention, life extension, blood tonic, kidney strengthener, liver cleanser, anemia treatment, cold & flu prevention, premature gray hair remedy or great tasting berry. To be honest I have never saw a monkey chase a weasel or tasted a mulberry until now. Contrary to the nursery rhyme the mulberry is grown from trees. They are making an appearance at local Farmers Markets. Two varieties, blond & red, and different sizes are there for the offering. We picked up a mixed basket to give them a try.

The texture is soft like a blackberry. I would compare the flavor to a blackberry also. The reds were sweeter than the blondes. Ms. Goofy compared the flavor to peach or apricot. They are delicate and would be great on top of your morning cereal. We decided to make some mulberry corn bread.

The weather has been sizzling with summer like temperatures, so instead of heating up the kitchen we opted to cook our corn bread in our trusty black iron dutch oven. We used a simple recipe that works well in our outdoor ovens. This fruity corn bread was a ‘Super Food’ winner. We may have gained some health benefits but truth be told it was darn tasty!