Chilebrown at home

Monday, June 30, 2014


You may have heard in the media or witnessed it on the television, the ‘Bacon, Bacon’ food truck causing quit the stir. This food truck has a brick and mortar home base that serves breakfast and lunch that goes by the same name. The ‘Bacon, Bacon’ café is located right smack in the middle of San Francisco. To cross this of my bucket list took quit the travel commitment. To arrive during breakfast hours this Mad Meat Genius braved commute traffic to cross the bay bridge. The Racing Honda fouled some plugs in this frustrating excursion of travel. We arrived to find a non-metered parking spot on the same block. Parking karma has returned.

The entrance is nondescript except for the sign board out front proclaiming; ‘Makin Bacon for the Taken’. Once inside you are transformed into a magical special place. This small café is homage to the food I love. There is a sign board with a menu. You make your choices and place your order at the counter. So many bacon choices: Bacon scones, burgers, sandwiches and more bacon. The bacon bouquet is a must have item that consists of five pieces of bacon drizzled with maple syrup.

It was breakfast time so bacon, sausage, cheese egg sandwich was appropriate. I also had to order the bacon bouquet. This was accompanied by a cup of joe that a spoon could have sat up straight up in. Faster than you can say bacon, bacon the food was delivered. This sandwich was everything the doctored ordered. The bacon bouquet was devoured with bacony delight.

I was satisfied and had to show restraint to not order more bacon goodness. Some chocolate covered bacon and a bacon cookie was purchased for later consumption. I wanted to ride the red boar ride but I exceeded the weight limit after that satisfying breakfast. This experience at Bacon, Bacon has fulfilled my bucket list requirement. We will return to try some of their other offering. Next time it defiantly will not be during commute hours.

205A frederick st,
 san francisco

Friday, June 27, 2014


It is the grand opening of a new bbq house in Berkeley, California called Perdition Smokehouse. They have only been open a week but I have the hardly can waits to try their offerings.This is no ordinary smoke shack. This house of smoked meats will be offering 43 different beers on tap. It is located a couple of blocks away from U.C. Berkeley. Beer, bbq, and coeds may be a winning combination? Ms. Goofy is away on some mud wrestling clinic so I got to drive the Racing Honda solo. The parking karma may have slipped a little. I had to circle the block and finally settled on a spot one block away. I arrived to be one of the first customers of the day at 5:00 pm.

Perdition Smokehouse is located on a very busy downtown street. It is so new their is no signage in the window. I walk through the doors into a large cavernous dinning area. There are plenty new and enthusiastic  staff to greet you. The menu is written on a large sign board. You proceed to a roped line to the counter to place your order. You tell a knife wielding server what your pleasures are. She will slice and dice your requests and place them on the scale. This server paid very close attention to this scale. The person before me was denied that extra piece of brisket because it would of been 1 ounce over the target weight. There is another server who will dish your requested sides and finally a cash register. This is the opening week so I will not mention that this method was not very efficient, slow and scale challenged.

There is a separate area were the bar is located. The menu is huge, forty three beers to be exact. So many choices had me stumped so I just had some H20. I had my choice of a table or high tables with stools. Each table had an offering of four different house made sauces. They were the usual offerings of a Kansas City tomato based, mustard, vinegar &pepper and a spicy sauce. These sauces were decent but not outstanding. I did have a preference for the sweet/tart mustard based offering.
   My plate looked delicious The ribs and brisket had great color. The slaw was a red cabbage mixture that made my tray glow with bright color.. I would like to mention the uneven portions of this offering. I ordered a two meat combination. The scale only allowed me two ribs and two small slices of brisket. The slaw was proportionately uneven to this picture.The cowboy beans looked a little forlorn even though it was the beginning of dinner service. Now for the million dollar question; How did it taste?

The smoke was present but sublime. The ribs and brisket were cooked properly. They were tender. The ribs had a spice crust that was very flavorful that teetered on the salty side. I slathered them in the mustard sauce and enjoyed them. The brisket was decent enough but not memorable. The slaw was flat. It was exciting with color but did not deliver with vibrancy and seasoning..The cowboy beans may have been the highlight of this meal. They did not look the best but were hearty and studded with soft pieces of brisket.

Perdition Smokehouse has the potential to be a destination bbq restaurant. This place has several selling points that may shine. It is located in a busy area near campus. The beer selection is huge. The food was decent. I say decent because everything tasted fine but nothing reached out to say "Wow'.It is opening week and some tweaking in the ordering station may be prudent. I also felt the scale may need to be adjusted to justify their prices. We may return so Ms. Goofy can give her two cents worth.

Perdition Smokehouse
2050 University Ave,
 Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 900-5858

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


 Today’s inspiration comes from the latest ‘Cook’s Summer Grilling’ issue. They demonstrate and exhaustively explain how to smoke a ‘South Dakota’ style rib. They take a St. Lois style cut pork rib and smoke it with corn cobs and corn meal. This medium of smoking material is supposed to impart a sweet type of smoke. Smoking with corn has grabbed my attention. ‘Cook’s’ magazine is a great resource for cooking methods. We will take their research and methodology but put a Chilebrown spin on it. First, instead of pork ribs we will use some meaty beef ribs. Cook’s suggests using certain rubs and sauces but we will use our own. We will be cooking these ribs by following their method. Grab a corn cob and let’s get smoking.

Using corn cobs will be a first for us. We used a sweet corn from the farmers market. Strip the kernels off the cob and reserve niblets for other uses.  We now will make a foil packet with 1/ 2 cup of corn meal. Fold the foil over the corn meal and poke some holes through the foil. We will be using a Weber Kettle grill. Here is the setup. A water filled foil pan will be placed on one side of the bottom. Place three quarts of unlit charcoal on the other side. (A large charcoal chimney starter holds 6 quarts). Layer 4 cobs on the unlit charcoal. In a chimney starter, light 3 quarts of charcoal. When the charcoals are lit, place over cobs and unlit charcoals. Place corn meal packet on top of lit charcoal. Put the grill over fire. You will now place seasoned ribs on the grill over the water pan side and cover with lid. Position the bottom and top vents to one-half open. Cook for 4 hours rotating the ribs at the 2 hour mark. There is no need to flip them. We sauced our ribs the last 15 minutes.

While the ribs are cooking a sweet toasted corn aroma will emit from the smoking kettle. It is tempting to look at the ribs during cooking but leaving them alone will produce better results. The ribs had a wonderful smoky flavor. They did not taste like corn but I noticed a sweet smoke flavor. The ribs were fantastic. Using corn cobs as a smoking medium is an old time method and flavor. I will have to try this with some pork ribs next time.  It is always fun to experience something new/old.

Monday, June 23, 2014


The Racing Honda went through several racing slicks on our bbq journey this weekend. We traveled north to Redding California for the first competition of a four part series. This series is called the 'North State Barbeque Championship'. It is a three meat competition consisting of; chicken, ribs, and tri-tip. They will be held at three different casinos and a fairgrounds. Today's competition was held at the 'Win-River Casino'. We were excited to attend this first competition. It is always great to meet and greet old and new friends in the bbq community. The weather hovered in the low nineties to create a warm, balmy environment. Hydration was the key to enjoyment today.. We would like to share a couple of photos with you.

The event was held in the R.V. parking lot area. In the beautiful landscaped grounds was this public bbq. This was one heavy duty smoker. Thirty six teams were spread out over these spacious grounds. There was a beer tent that was cooled by portable misters. It was a challenge to sit in this balmy sauna of liquid libations.

A chili and salsa competition was held. I found a habanero salsa that made this chilehead sweat. Was it the habaneros or the weather? Ms. Goofy put on her new certified chili judge badge and braved the competitors offerings. I was too busy trying to stay hydrated this afternoon.

It was a great day. Our weekend are booked up for the rest of the summer. What a great way to start the summer.

North State Barbeque Championchip

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Cook's Summer Grilling issue was located in the impulse buy section of the checkout line at our local store. Instead of thumbing through the celebrity gossip magazines, I picked up this issue and thumbed through it. I bought it hook, line and sinker. I was pleasantly surprised of the many informative and great sounding recipes. The Cook's line of magazines, internet and television shows does exhaustive research to find the "best and optimal' way of cooking dishes. They instruct and teach in great detail how to cook these dishes. In fact, they may be a little too instructional to the point of being 'Anal". (Can I say Anal?). Some people will embrace this method. I will use this information and follow most of their advice. I am looking forward to trying this recipe. "South Dakota Cob Smoked Ribs" Stay tuned.

Friday, June 20, 2014


'Diners Drive-ins and Dives' is a show that we like to watch. Occasionally the host Guy Fieri visits a restaurant in our neck of the woods. 'Meal Ticket' is located in Berkeley which is close enough that it does not even give Ms.Goofy a chance to push the nitro button in the Racing Honda. Guy visited this restaurant several years back but it is still a very popular dinning destination. For this reason we made sure to be there when they opened at 8;00 am. I am not sure if this is worth a mention but we did get a parking spot right in front.

The gates opened on time and we were one of the first to place our order at the counter. You place your order and are issued a self serve coffee cup. The inside is nicely decorated with local art work that is for for sale.  You can watch the chef/owner that was featured on Diner, Drive-ins and Dives in an open kitchen. He is the only cook in this small kitchen. He is focused and very busy.After a short wait our plates arrived at our table.

The closest thing to pork chops was the loin cut. It was grilled and served with a chipotle sauce, home style potatoes and two eggs. You also had an option of toast, muffin or tortillas. The chop was tender and tasty. The sauce was mild with a smoky nuance. The potatoes were crisp with just the right amount of salt to coax maximum flavor.The coffee was strong enough to waken any sleepy eyed 'Fabulous Furry Freak Brother".(The FFFB reference was an 'Underground Comic' book characters that is an appropriate stereotypical characters from Berkeley's past.). Ms. Goofy loved her country egg scramble.
  It is a good thing we arrived at the opening bell. Within half an hour the place was totally packed and a line was forming. There is a reason for this. 'Meatl Ticket' serves a darn fine breakfast. We shall return.

Meal Ticket

1235 San Pablo Ave,
Albany, CA 94706
(510) 526-6325

Here is a link to watch the chef cook with Guy Fieri.  Watch video here

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


 ‘Its shake and bake and I helped’. A blast from the past is the memory of the commericial for ‘Shake and Bake’ chicken.  We are not re-inventing the wheel today. We are baking chicken in the Weber covered kettle grill. This chicken will be encrusted in a crunchy topping of panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. To begin, we need to brine our chicken in a solution of water, salt and sugar. This recipe and method is simple with fantastic results.

Brining is a great way to add moisture and flavor to chicken and pork. A simple solution of ¼ cup of salt and ¼ cup of sugar combined with 1 quart of water is brought to a boil. Stir to combine, turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature. Place approximately 2 pounds of chicken parts into solution and refrigerate. I am using chicken thighs and legs. The mixture needs to brine for several hours up to overnight. Remove the chicken from the ice cave, drain and dry. The next step is to apply the panko/parmesan crust. A three step dipping method of flour, egg/milk and finally panko parmesan mixture is used. The brading mixture ratio is 1/3 cup parmesan to 2/3 cup of panko crumbs. Let’s build a fire.

I have a special grill grate that has the center cut out that is perfect for indirect cooking. I have a charcoal fire consisting of 50 lit charcoals in the center. If you do not have this grate you can bank the charcoals on one side to create an indirect heat. Place your chicken on a well oiled grate. (This chicken will stick to the grill so be sure to oil your grate). Cover with lid and bake for approx. 40 minutes or until the internal temperature is above 165 degrees.

  This was an easy and tasty meal. The crust is salty, savory and crisp. The brine created a juicy and flavorful chicken. Ms. Goofy exclaimed; It was like barbequed fried chicken. This definitely will be put on the rotation of our meals. 

Monday, June 16, 2014


Welcome to the sleepy town of Martinez California. Martinez is the location of the 'King of the County BBQ & Music Festival'. This local event was held over this 'Fathers Day' weekend. The festival hosted  two separate 'Backyard' bbq competitions. A backyard competition is usually a smaller competition that only features several meats verses a KCBS competition that features the four meats of; ribs chicken, pork and brisket. It is Sunday. Ms. Goofy and I are here to judge three categories of chicken, pork ribs and a category called 'Chef's Choice' We will talk more about 'Chef's Choice' in a second.

The contest was held in beautiful waterfront park in Martinez. This is a mulit-use park that is spectacular. There is a marina for fishing and boat launching. There are plenty of picnic areas and grassy fields for all sorts of activities. Bocci Ball courts get some serious use here. We saw a league competition going on. I have no idea how they play but they sure looked like they were having fun.

Live music from several bands entertained this festive Fathers Day crowd. People strolled the numerous craft booths set up near the stage. BBQ was sold by several vendors. Our friend Dave Tendick from Smokehouse 10 had a booth selling his scrumptious food. I was disappointed he was not selling his pecan pie. It probably was for the better because I needed plenty of room to score and sample the bbq to come.

The bbq competitors were spread out over a eucalyptus tree lined area. They had plenty of room in their campsite like settings. These bbq warriors did not have fancy polished professional style bbq rigs. We did see a lot of Webers and offset smokers. Fancy equipment does not guarantee good bbq. It was Ms.Goofy and my job to judge these tasty offerings.

We scored the ribs and chicken and it was time for the 'Chefs Choice'. This was an anything goes type category. This was fun. It was tough deciding our favorite. Warm bread pudding topped with candied bacon tugged at my sweet tooth. Was that better than the bacon/beef slider with a jalapeno popper fries? How about grilled pineapple with pulled pork in the center. Decision, decisions made our job tough.

Judging all this great bbq is such a difficult task. I jest because it does not get any better than this. What a fun and tasty way to spend a Fathers Day afternoon.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


I found habanero honey at the farmers market. This honey on its own is of very high quality. The addition of heat and flavor from the habanero pepper makes this sweet nectar special. The heat level is not overwhelming but will warm your senses. I have been having fun making Gorp lately. I have a great source for organic almonds and raisins from Benzler Farms at the Friday Richmond farmers market. This honey will be the perfect addition to this recipe. I also put a spoonful of habanero honey in our carrot salad for warmth and flavor This honey is a wonderful food find at the farmers market.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Born in the USA is this traditional Louisianan style hot sauce. It is very hot with few ingredients. Is less more? You can read about Smok brand hot sauce by clicking the link below.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Freedom Meat Lockers is one of our favorite destinations on our regular rotation of Meat Adventures. Today's sausage is just one of the many unique and fun offerings from Freedom. Ms. Goofy's keen eyesight spotted these babies in their vast selection. The descriptive title of 'BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Sausage' sounds like the whole package. The ingredients are beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, bbq sauce, etc and Monosodium Glutamate.(MSG) Now before you panic about the last ingredient, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration says MSG is generally recognized as safe. I personally have no qualms about this addition and believe its use can improve and enhance food. I do remember the public panic from the past.   Read FDA article here

How did it taste, you might ask? The first bite revealed the casing snap that so many people crave. Beefy flavor with a salty juicy bacon  addition danced on our awaiting palette. . You had to careful of the molten hot cheddar cheese in the center of these dogs. This sausage was the whole promised. Freedom Meat Lockers does not disappoint  BLT's are in the near future.It is only June and we have our first ripe tomatoes .

Sunday, June 8, 2014


We enjoy visiting the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. It is a premier market showcasing some of the best produce and food available in the country. Inside the Ferry Building are food related shops selling any and every food imaginable. This market will have the latest new/old food trends. It is a wonderful place to explore and experience new food items. We happened across a farmer selling ‘Bell Beans’. This is a vegetable that was foreign to us. Could this be a new trend or super food? They were on a stalk in a bundle. The farmer gave us a sample. They had a sweet nutty like flavor. I would compare it to a juvenile fava bean. We purchase our new find and continued our food journey.

We shared our new discovery with our good friend Leah of Tierra Farms. She was familiar with the ‘Bell Bean’ and proceeded to burst our ‘new discovery bubble’. It is commonly used as a cover crop and or cattle feed. They are in the same family as the fava bean. When used as a cover crop, they are not harvested but just plowed under the soil. Thanks Leah.

We brought our new find home. They are very similar to the fava but a lot smaller. There are two to four seeds in each pod. You peel the seeds out of the pod. The bean has a membrane that can be removed by blanching. Our beans were juveniles and the membrane had not really formed. They can be eaten whole, membrane and all. I peeled the pods and ate them raw on a salad. I personally love fava beans and these tasted great. I am not sure we have discovered a new food trend. I would like to leave you with a quote from my father. He used to say this about fava beans; “They are a lot of work for what you get” Word!

Friday, June 6, 2014


With a heavy heart and sad eyes I bring this review to you. We would like to begin with a testimonial about how in the past we have loved all products offered by Nueske’s. Nueske’s smokes and sells possibly the ‘Gold Standard’ of bacon. We have had their hams, pork chops and bacon loving them all. When we saw a new product, ‘Nueske’s Un-cured Bacon, we assumed by reputation, this product would be great.  In fact, I bought four packages because of our love and trust of the Nueske’s brand. Maybe that was not such a good idea.

We cooked with our new bacon several times before judgment was passed. We made a bacon wrapped meatloaf and some ABT’s. These were both smoked and cooked on a barbeque grill. The bacon tasted fine enough but it also had an extra smoke component provided by our smoker. A red flag arose when I cooked some of our new bacon in a cast iron pan for some burgers. Ms. Goofy was the one that pointed out this saddening revelation. She tasted a metallic taste in the bacon. I was a little skeptical at first.

   I noticed that when frying our bacon in our trusted cast iron pan over a medium fire the bacon had a tendency to burn easily. This cast iron pan has cooked thousands of rashers at the same heat with out incident. Probably this bacon has a very high sugar content to cause this action. You can see the scorching marks on the image above. This can be remedied by cooking this bacon on a very low heat to prevent scorching. Well here we go, how did it taste? Oh my, Ms Goofy was right. I did notice a slight metallic aftertaste. It had a meaty, sweet and smoky pleasant flavor but there is no denial of the finish of metal. What the hell? I am speechless. Our initial tasting may have been covered and masked with extra smoke from our bbq. I can forgive the high sugar content but a metallic aftertaste will put this grade to a FAIL. Nueske’s in the past has been a stellar company that we have trusted. I will contact Nueske’s to ask for a possible explanation. For now we cannot recommend this product. Needless to say we are disappointed. You may have noticed I did not even rant about the term ‘Un-Cured’. I am just very sad.

Follow Up

I called Nueske’s customer service line. They reinforced my belief that they are possibly the ‘Gold Standard’ of bacon. They automatically offered to replace said products. When I told them my concerns they asked if I could send them the other unused packages and they would pay the postage.  We also determined the expiration date of the bacon was June 2, 2014. I did purchase them at the Grocery Outlet before this date. I also cooked the meatloaf and ABT’s within the expiration date. The metallic taste was noticed on Monday June 2. This may be an explanation. I learned a valuable lesson today. A bargain outlet may not be such frugal place to shop. Watch your expiration dates. After talking to Nueske’s customer service the World is in alignment once again. I love Nueske’s but not outdated Un-Cured bacon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Ms. Goofy and I have been enjoying the life of leisure these days. We have both retired from our respective professions and have been reaping the benefits our years of servitude. Ms. Goofy likes to eat bon-bons and watch soap operas. I faithfully watch Jerry Springer every afternoon. It was time to leave the couch and go on a road trip. We like to call our excursions; 'Meat Adventures'. We have a destination of the scenic Santa Cruz area today. We did not ride the roller-coaster this trip but we did find some great meat and sweet treats.

Our first stop was the Freedom Meat Lockers in Freedom California. This is a huge full service butcher. We loaded up the portable ice cave with plenty of specialty sausages and meats. I scored the best looking maple cured slab bacon ever. Ms. Goofy had to drag me out of this store because I was starting to dance with meat buying frenzy.

Our next stop is the artisan charcuterie  'el salchichero' in Santa Cruz. Bourbon, maple cured slab bacon, bacon burgers, (20% bacon, 80% ground beef), bacon sausage, and mustard, maple cured smoked pork chops were put into our cart. I was in bacon heaven. Leaving the premise we stumbled upon 'Kelley's French Bakery". Several treats from a spectacular looking pastry counter were chosen. The portable ice cave was full to the brim.

On our way home we spied Donnelly Chocolates. The Racing Honda automatically stopped. This was a specialty chocolate shop with plenty for us to sample and purchase. I especially like the single malt chocolate balls. Ms. Goofy found a peanut butter cookie covered in dark chocolate that she loved.

Meat Adventures are the way we roll. It was a great day to leave the couch and restock the Chilebrown ice cave. Do not worry we set the DVR to not miss Jerry Springer. Have a wonderful bacon day.