Chilebrown at home

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


With all that talk of steaks, we had to fire up the grill and cook some beef. We all have our favorite cuts and choice of breeds. Some of you may like grass fed beef or maybe the traditional corn-fed variety. There are hybrids that are grass fed and corn finished. Which cut do you like? We have been leaning towards the rib-eye. Lately I have rediscovered the wonderful flavors of the New York cut. Ms. Goofy loves the tender  filet. Have you experienced beef that has been dry aged? The flavors are very intense and wonderful. We would like to share several of the steaks we have experienced this last month. Above is a 16 ounce New York steak from Jacks Grill in Redding, California. This steak had a little chew but was huge on flavor.

A visit to the U.C. Chico Meat Labs procured these two beautiful rib-eyes. They may have been the most tender steaks we have ever had. They are marbled with a lot of yummy fat to create a decadent and rich cut of beef. They were cooked to a medium rare on the rare side to create a very tender bite. I would compare this to some of the best prime rib roast reserved for that special holiday meal..

No beef collage would be complete with out visit to our friend Angelo from Angelo's Meats. One of Angelo's specialties is tri-tip. This cut of meat cannot leave his shop until he dusts a choice grade roast with his magical seasonings. A medium direct fire cooks this beefy roast to perfection. This meat is tender and makes the best sandwiches you have ever had.

Driving up the interstate to Reno you are bombard with billboards advertising the $9.99 T-bone steak special at Boomtown Casino. We just so happened to be staying at Boomtown for a bbq competition It was time to roll the dice and experience this discounted protein. The $9.99 special is not listed on the menu, hoping you will order the $30. dollar steak. You have to ask your server for this deal.. It actually was pretty good. You cannot complain at this price.

Lastly we had some aged New York steaks from Willowside Meats. This was one of my favorites. The beef flavor was very intense. It may not be as tender as a rib-eye but the flavor trumped all cards. Each bite was like taking a flavor journey to the land of beefy delights. The beef flavors are concentrated.but the steaks remained very juicy. This steak was a treat. The T-bone below was from Willowside also. The T-bone has a filet with the bonus of a sirloin. Two steaks in one with a bone to knaw on later.  We are becoming very spoiled with the aged beef from Willowside

 We hoped you enjoyed our little 'Steakapalooza'. We loved eating and sharing these different cuts of beef. Whats on your grill?

Monday, July 28, 2014


We are in Montague California judging at the 3rd Annual Siskiyou Country Beef Cook-off. This is a fun KCBS certified bbq contest. The rotary club sponsors this small local event. They roll out the red carpet to all who participate.  We received a large insulated bag full of swag for our participation. T-shirts, sun screen, snacks, towels, and bottled water was included in this welcome goody bag. This bag was very nice but our real reward was getting to sample and judge some awesome bbq. Today we are going to mention one special competitor; Belcampo Meats.

Belcampo Meats is a all-inclusive,  farm to table meat company. There farms are located very close to Montague. This is a quote from Belcampo; "What unites everything we do is our singular commitment to provide you with delicious, organic, and humane meat you can feel good about buying and eating." The bbq team representing Belcampo were competing for the second time at this contest. This exciting team is very new to the bbq competition world. This was shown in their creative and outside the (turn-in) box thinking. They are using premium meats from their farms to present to the judges. The image above is a whole pig of berkshire, duroc, ossabaw cross. It was cooked on this custom open pit with heat radiating from above and below. This is one impressive cooker.

KCBS judges are looking for meats that are traditionally presented to them. There are certain rules that must be followed in these contests. Belcampo is using organic, quality, fresh meat that may be superior than the typical meat purveyors. Using these meats may someday be a huge advantage to Belcampo. Their team will have to learn the intricacies and the norms of winning competition entries. They came in dead last in this competition. This was not a defeat in any matter. This was a victory of knowledge. The energy and enthusiasm of the Belcampo team shined at this contest. The bbq crowd learned about and tasted some delicious meat products. While talking to the Belcampo team, the enthusiasm and pride was felt about their farms and products. I received an invitation to tour Belacampo farms. The adventure continues.

Friday, July 25, 2014


As a rule, I normally do not like to shop, unless it is at Cabela's. Cabela's is the ultimate place to outfit any outdoor activity.Ms. Goofy and I browsed the many aisles of the Nevada store the other day. I walked out of the store empty handed but Ms. Goofy picked up some bacon maple fudge. That's my girl. The fudge was sweet with maple goodness and studded with real bacon chunks. It does not get any better.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


This will be a quick post on baking on a Weber grill. Zoomie, a friend of Mad Meat Genius has a kitchen project that has left her without an oven. It is rumored that she hired the company;"Pyramid Building & Kitchen Remolding Inc.". I suggested to use her Weber grill to bake. We use our covered kettle grill as an oven when we do not want to heat up the kitchen or free up space in the oven. We have a new favorite recipe for cornbread or you can use your own. Bank 30 lit coals on each side of the bottom grate of your grill for a total of 60 charcoal briquettes. Place your bread pan (cast iron works great) in center of grill and cover. Follow suggested cooking times. When time is up insert knife and if it pulls cleanly remove. With the Weber our cooking times were a fraction longer but very close. Enjoy.

Monday, July 21, 2014


We were returning home from our latest weekend of practicing all of our vices. The Racing Honda needed some fuel. We pulled into an 'AMPM' gas/mini mart and while I was waiting for Ms Goofy to complete the pit stop this sign shouted out to me. Everybody loves ribs. I had just judged some of the best bbq in the nation and there was no way I was going to try this offering. Any takers?

Saturday, July 19, 2014


We have polished our judges badges and are ready for another great event. This one should be interesting. The weatherman predicts the temperatures will be in the nineties and there will be flash flood warnings. Should I bring a swimsuit or a canoe?

North State BBQ Championship

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Angelo Ibierto of ‘Angelo’s Meats’ makes some of the best focaccia in the world. I have tried to duplicate his recipe numerous times. Angelo has that magic touch and a secret recipe. If you ask Angelo for the recipe he will tell you the ingredients and instruct you in general terms. I always feel he is leaving something out. His focaccia is buttery with olive oil and has a rich flavor that has a sprinkling of salt to accent the goodness. Our last visit Angelo agreed to give us the recipe in print. He went in the back room and ripped a page out of a cookbook. That sly fox was just using somebody else’s recipe. We were ecstatic with foccacia joy to finally have the secret recipe. We said our goodbyes and rushed home to make this special bread.

Double click the image above and read this recipe. Do you notice anything peculiar? Yes, this recipe is in Italian. Also I can translate several words like spinach and chick pea flour. That crazy butcher has me again. He gave me a recipe that he has been experimenting with. He mentioned making a gluten free focaccia and this must be it. Angleo’s famous foccacia recipe will remain a secret for now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


We all have our favorite grill or smoker for transforming raw protein into mahogany, brown ,delicious, smokey, fantastic meals. To Ms. Goofy's dismay our patio proudly displays numerous smokers, grills and a wood burning beehive oven. As some of you may know, I am a fan of Weber products. Each and every one of my Weber's has a unique and special purpose. There are different sizes, some are portable, one is driven by a motor and several others have fans and can be controlled by my computer. My everyday, go to Weber is a 22 1/2 kettle grill. It sits in a wooden cart and has a metal bucket underneath to catch ash. This cart was custom built over 30 years ago. It has aged nicely and is an old friend. Every decade or so I replace the kettle. Honestly it does not really need replacing but dings, scratches and crud from thousands of cooks takes it toll. The nice thing about a Weber that all the internal parts are replaceable.

This green beauty was found on Craigslist. It is brand spanking new. The previous owner only used it once or twice. He claimed that he preferred his new gas grill over charcoal. We were in the middle of a business transaction so I kept my gas cooking opinions to my self. I picked this grill up for a song and was very pleased with my acquisition. I rushed home to cook on my new 'Green Weber'

I had to swap out the handles, remove the legs, ash catcher and then replace the cooking grate with my well seasoned cast iron grate . I gently lifted my new cooker and placed it in its new home. The old Weber will be placed in the rear of the Chilebrown compound and scrapped for parts if needed. It was time to cook. I built a test fire to burn out any foreign matter that probably did not exist. Aged New York steak with corn would be the first to grace this green beauty. The steak was so very good. We are set for another decade.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


The competitive bbq season is in full swing. This Saturday a very popular contest called "Wine Country Big Q' was held in Santa Rosa (actually Rohnert Park but Santa Rosa has more wine 'Creds"). The popularity of the event is because of the unique showcasing of local wines with barbeque. This brought out bbq enthusiasts and oenophiles alike. I personally looked forward to the bacon themed desserts that have been offered at this event in the past. Oh, and not to mention we were there to judge bbq. We would like to share a couple of images with you.

A new competitive bbq team has just entered the barbeque arena. They are enthusiastic and have a great eye catching logo. The name of their team is the 'Flaming Moe's.' For those of you who have never watched the 'Simpsons', Moe was the bartender at 'Moe's Tavern'. 'The F'laming Moe' was a hilarious episode and the song can be heard here.

I did find my bacon treats. Rob Z of 'Beaver Creek' was vending Twinkies with a maple and bacon topping. They were delicious and was the perfect dessert after judging some great bbq. We always have room after judging 6 meat categories that included chicken, ribs, pork shoulder, birsket, lamb and a new steak called 'Velvet Steak'. Velvet steak was a term used to disguise the real name of 'Heel of the Round'. This was a challenge for the cooks because this cut has no fat and can be tough.

What a wonderful day. Two of our friends took Grand and Reserve Championships. Richard and Michele Holquin of 'Cecils Smok'n  BBQ' were Grand Champions and Bill and Yvonne Sousa of 'Big B's Down & Dirty BBQ' Reserve Champions. What a great day. I cannot wait till next weekend when we can do it all over again.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Grab some popcorn and take a seat. The curtain will rise to start the Revue  from Chico Locker & Sausage. Our star is a beautiful performer that looks like a celebrity in the bacon world. Beautiful mahogany color with a sheen that is bright and clear adorns the exterior of our slab.The aroma has an intoxicating maple flavor with a whisper of smoke in the background. The meat to fat ratio is perfect. Let's slice some and let the show begin. Our trusty black iron will take the stage to crisp and coax maximum performance. The show has begun and maple aroma fills the auditorium with visions of pancakes and waffles. This just smell like breakfast. The bacon crisps perfectly.

 How does it taste? This bacon has a perfect balance of maple sugar to salt. One does not overshadow the other. It is sweet but savory with beautiful porkiness. This is some fantastic bacon. Could this be the new 'Gold Standard' of bacon? There was a smoke component but very slight. Oh, so close, with just a little more smoke, we might of witnessed a standing ovation. This bacon is a keeper. It will definitely receive four stars out of 5. Bravo Chico Locker & Sausage.

Chico Sausage & Locker
Rating; 4 stars out of 5
Where: 196 E. 14th St.
 Chico, CA 95928.  530.343.7370.
Cost: 6.99/pound

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


 We have been trying numerous recipes for cornbread over the years. Do you like your cornbread sweet, cake-like and or savory? We all have our favorites. We have recently found a recipe using fresh corn. This cornbread is sweet, rich with butter and with plenty of corn flavor. It has several extra steps than your basic recipe but is worth the effort. This is a great chance to break out your trusty cast iron pan. Let’s all go to the kitchen.

Best Cornbread Ever.

3 ears of fresh corn (cut niblets off of cob)
1 1/3 cups of stone ground corn meal
1 cup of flour
1 cup of buttermilk
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter

Combine all dry ingredients and reserve. Place corn in a food processor and puree. Scrape corn puree into a pan and cook, stirring frequently for five minutes on medium heat. The puree will reduce and turn a little darker. Remove from heat and whisk in 5 tablespoons of butter. Let cool slightly. When mixture is a little cooler add buttermilk and eggs to combine. Fold wet ingredients into dry. Heat up your cast iron skillet and add last tablespoon of butter. When the butter is melted and bubbling add cornbread mixture. Immediately put into preheated 400 degree oven and cook for 25 minutes. Cornbread is done when knife inserted comes out clean.

We enjoyed our cornbread with some habanero honey. This recipe is a keeper. I actually forgot to add the extra sugar and it turned out perfectly fine. The sweetness from the corn shined through. With sweet fresh corn at the markets we will be making this again.

Monday, July 7, 2014


Supplies in the Chiliebrown Ice Cave were running low. That can only mean one thing; Meat Adventure. The Racing Honda was fueled with rocket fuel to make our journey fast and furious. We made three stops at quality small butchers. Country Butcher and Chico Meat Labs were two familiar stops but a new destination of Chico Locker & Sausage was added to the itinerary. I had a hot tip of great beef ribs at the Chico Meat Locker. Chico is several hours away so we made an early departure. We were not on a budget but we do limit ourselves to one ice chest. This is my only attempt at restraint. If I had my way we would rent a refrigerated semi truck to bring back our bounty. Ms. Goofy start your engine.

Our first stop was Olivehurst California to the Country Butcher. This is a small local butcher. The shop is well worn but welcoming. Stuffed pork chops and sliced bacon was the first addition  Jalapeno cheese sausage was a must have item. This was the foundation of building the limited space in our portable ice cave.

U.C. Chico Agriculture department runs a meat market on Thursdays and Friday's for several hours. This is a secret to the local populace. It is not really a secret but a wonderful place to buy top quality meat at bargain prices. There is not a lot to the actual market. You go into the lab and place your order through a window. The clerk goes into the freezer and fills your order. What she brings back will make any carnivore swoon with meaty delight. We bought a little of everything except bacon. Apparently bacon is a hot commodity. Man, I wish I had brought another ice chest.

Chico Locker & Sausage is located in downtown Chico. It is a very popular store. Outside is a huge loading dock to unload future meat products. Several barbeques are smoking away meats for lunchtime. Inside there are many people purchasing lunch and meat. So many choices and so little room. We bought steaks, sausages and some great looking slab bacon. (Bacon Revue in the near future). Ms. Goofy dragged me out of the store because I was drooling uncontrollably and she wanted lunch.

We had a great lunch at the Sierra Nevada Brewery. This bacon burger did not disappoint. During lunch I realized we did not get beef ribs from Chico Locker & Sausage. We had to go back. There was no room in the ice chest. I did the only thing I could do and removed some of the ice. The frozen meat would keep our bounty safe for the journey home.

We did get our tibs and they were spectacular. Some low and slow smoke made them worth the trip. Next time we will rent that refrigerated semi-turck.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


What will they think of next? Bacon Sriracha lollipops is the latest acquisition in the long line of new and inventive bacon products. This one surprisingly is a keeper. I actually taste bacon with a warming sweet heat. Nice!

Friday, July 4, 2014


From Louisiana to Utah migrated this sweet Cajun hot sauce.Six generations of the McVea family have bottled and sold their special sauce. Read all about on Peppers & More.
                                                       Read Review Here

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Summer is now official. Home grown tomato's with Nueske bacon. It does not get any better.