Chilebrown at home

Thursday, February 27, 2014


We cooked a picnic shoulder low and slow just for this sandwich. I will not tell you how tender and smoky with a meat candy bark this roast turned out. The home made roll was not just soft and delicious but just a platform to support our home made mustard. The green blurb in the corner of this image is a home cured pickle but once again mustard is the star today.

This flavor of our mustard was a 'Mendecino Brand' style mustard. It was sweet with a large amount of brown sugar. Only yellow mustard seeds were used. Apple cider vinegar would add its contribution with a mellow tang to this melody of flavors. The texture was course with rustic flair. A slight heat from the mustard seeds gently awakened your palette. This was an epic sandwich. Mustard was the star with an all-star back up cast. This sandwich was very special with our home made mustard.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


School is back in session . I do not remember classes being so fun and tasty. Today’s lesson is on the art of mustard making. Vickie Miller of ‘Brown Dog Mustard Company’ taught a class on mustard making at the ‘Willow Pass Community Center’this last Sunday. I have made mustards in the past with great results but this old dog wants to learn some new tricks. Brown Dog Mustard makes a wonderful bacon flavored mustard that I hope to learn the secrets to re-create. With an open mind and a mustard craving palette we are going back to school.

This was a very small class with only five students. I could not sit in the back of the class like my childhood escapades. We received hands on, close and personnel instruction today. Our first task of the day was to hold a blind tasting of several mustards. This was no easy exercise. You think you know mustard but to blindly identify a brand or flavor style is not that easy. We were all over the map in our critiques. I was sure that heat was horseradish but when the identities of the mustards were revealed this student was humbled. The heat was only from the combination of acids and mustard seeds. The Grey Poupon was a class favorite. A brief history and facts about mustard's were discussed. We then proceeded to creating our own mustard.

The combinations of ingredients to create different flavored mustard is only limited to your imagination. There is a basic ratio of mustard seeds and some sort of acid (vinegar, wine and beer)and salt needs to be followed. There is a serious warning that needs to be heeded. Do not mix only water and mustard powder in a blender because it can form a mustard gas which may recreate a World War I trench experience. As long as you have added an acid or have cooked the mixture you will be fine. We had a multitude of ingredients to choose from. I tried my hand at four unique and different flavors.

The first two mustards, a craft beer was used. The first used only brown seeds, vinegar, beer and brown sugar. The second, yellow seeds, brown sugar, beer, vinegar, habanero peppers and garlic. You know I had to throw some peppers in sometime. I then attempted to recreate the very popular “Mendecino Brand’ style mustard. This was a combination of yellow and brown seeds with a lot of brown sugar and finally apple cider vinegar. Finally I made a mustard with balsamic vinegar and wine for flavorings.

These four recipes must rest for 4 to 48 hours. This will give the seeds time to rehydrate and absorb flavors. They will then be blended in a processor to the desired consistency. Using whole seeds will create a rustic texture. To achieve smoother mustard, powders need to be used. I am not sure I can wait forty eight hours to sample my creations.
   This workshop was a fun and informative classroom learning experience. Thanks to Vickie Miller for inspiring this Mad Meat Genius to create new and unique mustards. I did learn the secret to creating my own bacon mustard. You too can learn this and so much more by attending the “Make Your Own Mustard’ class.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


They must of seen me coming a mile away. When I saw the combination of bacon and cocoa it was an easy sale. 'McSteven's Coco Combos' has a cocoa mix that claims to be; "Oddly Delicious Flavor Combination". Hot chocolate was a childhood favorite beverage. Pull out some marshmallow and let's give it a try.

I am not sure I wanted to read the ingredients. The closest thing to bacon listed was a mention of 'Natural Flavor'. The instructions give you options of adding water, milk or coffee.  Our first taste was with some very hot water. The cocoa powder has a deep chocolate aroma. There is a second odor that is a little unidentifiable that may or may not be bacon. Hot water was added. The cup of cocoa was a rich deep chocolaty delight. I really did not taste bacon. There was a slight smell that if I closed my eyes and thought of bacon, could of, possibly, maybe smelled like bacon. I added some hot coffee to some cocoa powder and had a really nice mocha minus bacon flavor. This is a great cocoa for hot chocolate but leave the bacon for the skillet.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Occasionally somebody tries to re-invent the wheel. Bacon, bacon burgers are not new by any means. I have been putting bacon in burgers for years. The clown in the box has grabbed my attention with their catchy jingle and mouth watering images of bacon. I have to admit that I actually, against my better judgment, went to this national chain and ordered a bacon, bacon burger. It was not bad. The light bulb that constantly shines above this noggin said; I can do this better.To the Mad Meat Genius kitchen we go.

The foundation for this burger will be some ground beef from Dee's Meats from Galt California. The bacon will be some very special maple bourbon flavored from 'El Salchiero'. Homemade English muffins will cradle this fantastic burger. Avocado and a dollop of Sosu will be our condiments. It does not get any better than this. It is safe to say that the clown does not have Jack on this burger. (The tune is catchy)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


We have another K-Sauce on the plate today. This is a chipotle based hot sauce. It goes well with barbeque with its slight smoky flavor.          Read Full Review Here.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Knowledge is the key to great barbeque. We are on a fun and satisfying journey to achieve barbeque greatness. Big Ed of ‘Big Ed’s Buzzard BBQ” teaches a five hour class in the art and science of smoking and grilling various meats. Big Ed has glowing credentials to teach this class being a bbq competitor, restaurateur and caterer. This class would be the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I skillfully gifted two certificates as stocking stuffers this past Christmas. Come take a glimpse of our tasty classroom experience.

A short trip in the Racing Honda to the ‘Barbecues Galore’ in Palo Alto, California was our destination this sunny morning. Brilliance was the idea to hold a class in a barbeque supply store. Talk about a kid in the candy store. There were about 50 people attending this class. Big Ed started the day by taking a short survey of our cooking medium and favorite meat to cook. I was a little taken back and shocked that half the class used propane as their method of cooking. Now I suppose there is more than one way to skin a chicken, but propane? Really?

Big Ed instructed us on preparing various meats. Purchasing, trimming, seasoning and safe handling was covered. When pork shoulder (butt) was covered Big Ed brought out our first sample of the many to come. Little yummy pulled pork sliders were passed around for us to enjoy. This is my kind of classroom experience when you get to eat your lessons. We covered many different meats. We asked multiple questions. Big Ed answered each inquiry with bbq intelligence and humor. His classroom demeanor made us feel at ease and comfortable. Several hours into the presentation Big Ed announced it was time for lunch.

A buffet style lunch was served by Ed’s family and staff. Brisket, pulled pork, hot links, blue cheese smoked portabella mushrooms, cole slaw and baked beans was our plate today. Luckily there was a Starbucks next door because this was a big lunch and we had several more hours to go. The second half of our class flew by and yes we had even more bbq samples. My belt was experiencing tension in this bbq learning and sampling process.

What we learned today is that there are many paths to achieve barbeque greatness. We took notes and will incorporate our knowledge into our future cooking experiences. Big Ed teaches an informative and tasty class. This class is geared more to the novice bbq cook. I would like to believe that some of the propane users left with a new view of their inadequacy and ignorance. (The views expressed by the writer are not necessarily of the management even though they are true). What a fun day!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014


The Wing Ding Day was a tasty fun day. Take a look at Buffalo Tom's sauce review. It may be the sauce you are looking for.                         Read Review Here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


It is just another lazy day trying out new hot sauces and bbq sauces for review with some chicken wings. We have a new/old method that works very well for cooking these tasty appendages. We use an indirect cooking method with our cut-out Weber grate. The charcoal heat radiates from the center and circulates like a convection oven in this covered environment. No flareups, no burning, and no fuss. Easy, Peasy! What fun we have.

Monday, February 10, 2014


We all eat with our eyes. As a 'Master BBQ Judge' that first impression is all important. Sharp, precise, straight cuts of meat are neat and pleasing to the eyes. If we see jagged or torn cuts of meat it raises the question; does this cook care enough to be the best. As a judge it is our job to judge only the meat. The way it is cut does not effect the taste. We do judge for appearance and subconsciously uneven, jagged cuts could sway our taste score.. As a cook it is fairly easy to make that perfect cut. The most important tool is to have a very sharp knife. In competition, a lot of competitors use an electric knife. Ms. Goofy has been scoring my meat entries at the dinner table a little low in appearance. It was time to step up my game and acquire an electric knife.

We have access to some of the best barbeque knowledge in the nation. We asked several competitors what knife was best for that perfect cut. We chose the 'Berkley Turbo Glide Filet Knife'. This is cordless, rechargeable, and has an ergonomic grip. The dual blade is 7 1/2 inches long with a razor sharp serrated blades. It comes in a very nice case for transportation. You may ask why a filet blade and not a slicing blade. We are going on our competitor friends recommendation. He says with a slight slicing motion the cuts will be 'Grand Champion' perfect. It is time to cook.

We cooked a beer can chicken on the Weber. It was very tender. Our new knife worked like a charm. I sliced through and carved this bird with ease. I had to learn to let the knife do the work. It was an easy learning curve. We needed to put this blade through a competition meat to really test its mettle. A brisket was smoked for eight hours. It smelled and looked delicious. We separated the point from the flat. The point was sliced into cubes for burnt ends. The knife made this task a breeze. It was actually kind of fun using power tools to carve. The next task was to slice the flat. Once again we got that perfect cut from our new tool. I do need to work on slicing even pieces but the knife did its job. The verdict is power tools rule and my dinner appearance scores will rise.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Today's review is a habanero based sauce. If you love habanero peppers like myself this sauce may be just for you. Come on over to 'Peppers & More' to read the complete review. Toodaloo!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


‘An Unexpected History of Carnivore America’ 
by Maureen Ogle

In ‘Meat We Trust’ is a book that this ‘Mad Meat Genius’ received to expand and enlighten my meat knowledge. The author, Maureen Ogle has written a very thorough and fascinating book about the history of meat in America. She answers and raises many questions about how we perceive our thoughts on meat. How did conversations about local, grass fed, natural, pink slime, corn finished and etc, originate? Regardless of your beliefs, we as Americans demand and expect quality meat at reasonable prices. Maureen Ogle entertains and expounds on the many factors that influence our meat consumption.

The book begins with the early settlers. Meat was a form of wealth and nutrition. Having an animal provided far more returns than growing crops. The growth of cities created a larger demand for meat. Entrepreneurs, investors, cattlemen, farmers and railroad barons created systems to fill this need of meat. Fortunes were made and lost. The wars created even greater demands for meat production. With high demands factory farming, standardization and drugs were involved. There were battles between unions and corporations. The government has played mediator and policy maker to influence the course of meat production. Meat safety has been a concern ever since the book ‘The Jungle’, an influential expose of the meat packing industry by Upton Sinclair. Modern day television personalities Mike Douglas and Oprah have also addressed and influenced people’s perceptions of meat.

Fast forward to today. We all make choices by our meat purchases and consumption. Maureen Ogle has written a fascinating book that entertains and explains how this has all come about. This is an unbiased look at our meat history. After reading this book, I have a greater appreciation for that steak that will be grilled tonight. Whether you love that grass fed or corn finished rib-eye this in an informative thought provoking read.

In Meat We Trust
ISBN: 13: 978-0151013401

Monday, February 3, 2014


The prime rib was tender, smoky, juicy and totally satisfying but something sweet would top off this perfect meal. I admit that I have a sweet tooth. 'Craftsman and Wolves' is a "Contemporary Patisserie" located in San Francisco.'Contemporary Patisserie' is a hipster term for fancy sweet stuff. Craftsman and Wolves has been getting a lot of press and coverage on the media. A show on the food network showcasing the offerings  had us drooling with sweet anticipation. It was time for not a 'Meat Adventure" but a sweet tooth quenching

Anybody that has ever ventured to the 'City' knows about the parking dilemma. Our friend Greg mentioned that we had good parking Karma. I prefer to 'think' that we use a version of the famous 'Professor Harold Hill' infamous 'Think System" that he used on the 'River City Marching Band" We thought of parking therefore it was; right in front. We brought a pocketful of quarters because not all the meters are the new fangled versions that quickly and deeply drain money directly from your piggy bank. We have arrived.

We had an idea of what we wanted to order after watching the television teaser. It is a good thing because of all the devilishly tempting treats available. We had to try the hot warm salted caramel drink. It was a latte style beverage. House made caramel was steamed with milk to form a rich satisfying sweet decadent beverage.It was served with a small sweet wafer cookie. The salt factor accented the richness of this drink. A small  intricately layered and decorated  cake was another must have choice. The base was chocolate cake with a caramel praline layer topped with a fluffy mouse. This was all covered in chocolate with chocolate candy gilding the lily. Oh my oh my!!

Ms. Goofy had a soft lemon cheesecake like custard that was served in a bottle. We were not finished there because we ordered a brownie to bring home for later. This was a brownie sandwich whose filling was chocolate and caramel. Craftsman and Wolves is a fantastic place to appease your sweet tooth. We only scratched the surface of the sweet offerings available. When you go just 'Think' parking and it will appear.

Craftsman and Wolves
746 Valencia Street
 San Francisco CA 94110