Chilebrown at home


Let's get Cookin!!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017


You know I love my knives. A good sharp knife is essential for all preparation duties in the kitchen. As some of you know I have an extensive collection of custom and high quality knifes at my disposal. When you collect, one can never have enough of a good thing. (Despite Ms. Goofy’s objections) Today I would like to share my latest acquisition of a twelve inch Chef’s knife made by Moab Knives.

 Moab Knives is a one person operation created and run by David Collett. David Collet is an ironworker by day and Bladesmith by night. David hand drew the knife design, cuts, grinds heat treats, and hand finishes every blade. I asked him to create a 12 inch blade designed in a traditional Western Chef’s knife style. I also picked my handle material. Three months later, here is the finished product.

The blade is made of 1095 high carbon steel known for its edge retention and sharpenabliiy.  The handles are made of Amboyna Burl wood. I asked David to make the handle on the large side to fit my hand. The blade is 12 inches long and is sharpened to a convex edge to 20 degrees. Did I mention it is beautiful? Let’s go to the kitchen and cut up a couple of things.

My first impression is; WOW!!!!! This knife is sharp. An onion was no match for this power house of a tool. The weight and heft really makes a difference.  The handle is large and fits my hand perfectly. What I noticed was how smoothly this tool cuts and glides through its desired object. What I really enjoyed is how balanced this large knife is.  I tried my hand cutting a tomato and with surgical precision it was dispatched. I want to go around cutting up things but need to do some shopping.
I just wanted to share my beautiful new knife. This will get plenty of use. It is not only functional but beautiful to look at. The size, weight and balance are perfect for this Mad Meat Genius.


Video by Moab Knives

Monday, June 19, 2017


We are having a heat wave. Here in the Bay Area when the thermometer rises above 80 degrees we begin to panic. Our house broke the century mark yesterday. We have maybe a dozen days a year when it gets this hot but even then it is not normal for us heat sensitive Bay Area residents. We reside next to a tidal bay which provides a natural air conditioner. Does it sound like I am whining about a little heat? Okay, you got me this time. We did have some great brisket burgers which we purchased from  R & R Quality Meats and Seafood

This beef had a beef to fat ratio of 80/20 which I believe is perfect for a burger. You need some beef love (fat) for flavor and moisture. I return to my heat excuse and this was a lazy cook and was done on our trusty black iron pan in the kitchen. This burger was cooked to just before medium where you can still just see a hint of pink in the center. It way juicy and beefy just as expected. It was perfect for this warm day. We are having a heat wave.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


I know it is your civic duty. Somebody has to do it but I hope it will not be me. The last 4 days I have been in a painfully slow jury selection process and I cannot talk about it. With that said I would like to leave you with an image of my latest pocket knife acquisition. This is a custom Buck !!0 with copper bolsters and carbon fiber scales. It is a beauty. .

Sunday, June 11, 2017


It was a beautiful day for Beer, Bacon and "Hey wait a minute". Let's start over. It was a beautiful day for a bbq event and fundraiser at the Van Ruiten Winery in Lodi California. Twenty six teams showed up to battle for Championship in three meat categories; ribs, tr-tip and a mystery meat of pork tri-tip. We knew not to pass up this event because this is California bbq in all of its glory. The event was held at the winery surrounded by grape fields. Lodi California is one of the major wine grape growing agricultural areas. The weather could not of have been nicer with the thermometer peaking at the low 70's. We were ready for a party and would like to share a couple of images with you.

 The teams were set up in back close to each other to make it convenient for festive activities. This cooking unit caught my eye because of the water delivery system. Notice the five gallon jug of liquid on the side. It delivers liquid of your choice in a constant drip to an interior pan to provide steam and moister for the interior of the cooker. This was new to me. The public purchased tasting tickets and strolled the grounds sampling award winning barbeque. We were lucky to be judging and sampled and scored some fantastic meats today. We especially enjoyed the fantastic California favorite tri-tip. This beef from the sirloin is a cut that is fairly easy to prepare and delivers big beef flavors. There was also a mystery meat which was called pork tri-tip. This meat was really a mystery because this cut is not as popular. It was also from the sirloin area of the hog and presented cooking challenges for the competitors. We enjoyed sampling and scoring this unfamiliar meat.

 We had live music today to provide a festive atmosphere. The Van Ruiten winery knows how to throw a party. Today's proceeds benefited the "Autism Speaks' organization. There was also a raffle held with local merchants and the winery participating. This type of event is fun for everyone. This is California bbq at its finest. See you next time.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


This is the real deal. It is Porterhouse Wednesday, a day I have just made up to showcase this beautiful USDA Prime Porter House procured from Alexander's Prime Meats. This was 38 ounces of pure beef love. It may have been one of the best steaks ever. Wow.

Saturday, June 3, 2017


We were watching the NBA finals last night and it is possible the commercials lasted longer than the game. A couple of commercials that caught my eye were two fast food giants bacon topped burgers. Wendy’s has the ‘Baconator’ while Burger King has the ‘Bacon King’. Today we are doing a side by side taste off. May the better bacon burger win.

Luckily Wendy’s and Burger King are located right next door to each other. We bought both and I would like to say they both were freakishly fast in completing the order. They had to be pre-made or they have a device to tell them I was on the way. Here are the advertised facts about each burger.


“Thick-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, two 1/4 lb* patties and even more bacon for a grand total of six (6) fresh-cooked, never microwaved strips. Topped off with mayo, ketchup and cheese on a premium toasted bun to hold the meaty masterpiece together.”
 950 calories
Cost:        $5.45 with tax

Bacon King

   Our BACON KING™ Sandwich features two ¼ lb* savory flame-grilled beef patties, topped a with hearty portion of thick-cut smoked bacon, melted American cheese and topped with ketchup and creamy mayonnaise all on a soft sesame seed bun.
1040 Calories
Cost;      $6.54  with tax

Both these burgers are very similar in cost and ingredients. Wendy’s asked me if I wanted a single or a double. I opted for the single so I am not sure if the calorie count is the same because the advertisement says two patties. The million dollar question is how did they taste and is one superior?

We have mixed results and possibly a tie in our burger battle. Ms. Goofy liked the Baconator from Wendy’s. She like the softer bun and thought the burger meat and bacon was better. I preferred the Bacon King. The bacon on the Bacon King was crisper and I thought the cheese was superior. We both agreed that both of these burgers did not look anything like the advertisements. The Wendy’s bacon seemed limp and lackluster in my opinion. The Bacon King’s bacon was crisper but bacon flavor was just not popping. Bacon was supposed to be the star of this show but only played a supporting role  with the condiments making both of these burger mediocre at best. Both Wendy’s and Burger King know how to push my bacon buttons by their media blitzes. They got me to come in.                            

Tuesday, May 30, 2017



Staci Jett female Pittmaster and television personality has won numerous barbeque competitions. She won ‘American Grilled’ and has been a finalist on ‘Chopped’. She now has cookbook author to add to her colorful and smoky resume. Her Southern and country roots with a swirl of pittmaster smoke have inspired her to pen “Secret Ingredient, Smoking and Grilling” “Incredible recipes from a competitive chef to take your bbq to the next level”. We at Mad Meat Genius have received a complimentary copy to read and try out a couple of recipes. We are going to make some Southwestern stuffed peppers and cornbread using Staci Jett’s recipes. Pull up a comfortable chair and let’s fire up the grill.

 The cover was adorned with an image of mouthwatering ribs inviting us to come in and join the bbq party. We strolled though the book page by page soaking in the beautiful, enticing and wonderfully food porn images getting inspiration along the way. I bookmarked several recipes along my barbeque sightseeing journey. Our second go through of the book we scanned several recipes. The recipes are written with easy and simple instructions. The author does assume the reader does have some grilling and smoking knowledge. This should be no problem because we live for the bbq. The book covers main dishes to sides and ends with cocktails. There should be something for everyone. Let’s try a couple of her recipes.


1 1lb (454g) bag frozen sweet corn1 jalapeno diced
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chipotle powder
2 cups (244g) shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1 1lb (454g) bag mixed mini sweet peppers1 tsp (6g) Montreal Chicken Seasoning
1 tsp (15ml) olive oil
3 boneless chicken breasts
1 15-oz (454g) can black beans, drained and rinsed

Prepare your grill for two-zone cooking. If you are using a charcoal grill, burn the charcoal on only one side of your grill. If you have a gas grill, only light one side of your burners. Preheat the grill to 275 (135C)

Combine the chicken seasoning and olive oil in a small bowl and rub over the chicken breasts. Grill the breast over indirect heat for 10 minutes., then move the chicken to direct heat and grill for another 10 minutes, turn a couple of times. Remove the chicken and allow resting for 5 minute before chopping it into a fine dice.

In a large bowl combine the beans, corn, jalapeno, cumin, chipotle powder and cheese. Carefully stir in the chopped chicken. Cut each pepper in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Fill the pepper with the chicken mixture, place them in a baking dish and return to the grill over indirect heat. Cook for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and tops start to turn golden.

This was a combination that worked. The Montreal seasoning with a kiss from the grill really made the chicken element stand out. The sweet peppers with the slight jalapeno sting were comforting flavors for this Chilehead. This would be great as an appetizer or a main course. I might stuff it into larger sweet peppers next time because we did have filling left over. This was a winner, winner sweet pepper dinner.

Sweet Corn Bread

1 cup (140g) cornmeal
2 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
 1 1/3 cups (270g) sugar
2 tbsp. (16g) baking powder
1 tsp (6g) salt
1/3 cup (160ml) vegetable oil
1/3 cup (75g) butter, melted
2 tbsp. (40 g) honey
4 eggs, beaten
2 ½ cups (590 ml) whole milk

 Prepare your grill for two -zone cooking. If you are using a charcoal grill, burn the charcoal on only one side of your rill. If you have a gas grill, only light one side of your burners. Preheat the grill to 350 degrees (180 C and grease a 9 by 13-inch (23 by 33-cm) baking dish.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir just to moisten. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, place on the grill over indirect heat and cook for 45 minutes, or until it starts to brown and show cracks. This recipe can also be prepared in muffin pans. Grease or line the pans and adjust the cooking time to 20 to 25 minutes.

The cornbread smelled fantastic as it baked in our covered kettle. We followed the easy instructions with stellar results. This recipe produces a cake like cornbread with corn flavor and texture. My wife, Ms. Goofy loved the sweet cake like cornbread. She made some honey butter to go with it but it was not needed because this bread stands on its own. This method of preparation is perfect for a hot summer day when you do not want to heat up the kitchen with your oven.

This is a fun book that would be nice for coffee table browsing. The images are mouthwatering and most likely will inspire you to re-create. The recipes are simple and easy to follow. The author does assume the reader has some knowledge around the barbeque and smoker. We loved the simplicity of preparation of our two dishes. The cornbread was cake like and sweet with corn goodness. This recipe will go with any barbequed meat. Our stuffed pepper took a little preparation but was well worth the effort. The combination of seasoned grilled chicken, corn, cheese and topped with a little pepper bite from the jalapeno was a Southwestern treat. There are a lot more recipes that we want to try. This book is an inspiration.

Secret Ingredients
Page Street Publishing
ISBN 978-1-62414-389-2

Friday, May 26, 2017


California is known for its grilled tri-tip. Tri-tip is a triangle shape roast from the bottom sirloin. It is easy to cook and delicious. Ms. Goofy and I went on a Meat Adventure to Panizerra Meat Company in Occidental California. Panizerra is a wonderful meat destination to buy aged beef and sausage. Ms. Goofy loves the wine infused hot Italian sausage. The proprietors of Panizerra are fans of Mad Meat Genius and asked us to give their tri-tip a try. It did not take much twisting of the arm to say; Of course!. Let's give it a try.

This locally sourced USDA Choice roast weighed in at 2.5 pounds. It had been aged in a secret Panizera wet/dry method for 28 days. We seasoned it with a bbq rub and brought it to room temperature. We cooked it on a direct medium fire until the internal temperature reached 125 degrees. After a 15 minute rest we sliced the roast into slices against the grain. Ms. Goofy proclaimed this the best tri-tip ever. It did have a deep beefy flavor that we crave. It was tender beyond belief. How can I put into words the savory joy of each and every bite of beef bliss. I had not even finished my meal and I was dreaming of sandwiches for the next day. Panizerra Meat Company has combined great beef with their secret aging process to provide tri-tip that made a memorable meal. Bravo!

3905 Main St.
Occidental Ca.
(707) 874-9770

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Napa is famous for World Class wines but they also have a great place for burgers. Today we stop by "Squeeze In Hamburgers. We were on a Meat Adventure and needed to stop for nourishment. The original Squeeze In Hamburgers is located in Sacramento but the Napa destination is a lot closer. We also saw an article on "Check Please" on the video below. It was time to experience the cheese skirt.

The inside is fairly small with several tables and counter service. You place your order at the counter and then grab a seat. One thing we first noticed was all the toothpicks in the ceiling. It was not the most appetizing component of this establishment. Apparently it is a tradition to take the toothpick that holds your burger together and put it into a straw and shoot it into the ceiling. The menu is on the wall which has your standard burger joint faire. When you are at the Squeeze Inn one must order the Squeezeburger with cheese to experience the cheese skirt.

We sat at the counter and watched the fry cook do his magic. At least a quarter pound of cheese is put on the burger. A cover is put over the burger and cheese to steam and form the cheese skirt. The burger with cheese skirt is delivered to your table molten hot. Be careful because it is hot. There is no rigth way to eat the cheese skirt. Some people (Ms. Goofy) fold the cheese skirt back into the bun and others tear the cheese skirt and eat it separately. Which ever way you choose this is a fun/tasty burger. We can now cross the cheese skirt at the Squeeze Inn Hamburger of of our bucket list. Yum.

Fast forward to the 10:20 mark to see actual footage of the Squeeze Inn.

Squeeze In Hamburgers
3383 Solano Av.
Napa, Ca. 94588

Saturday, May 20, 2017


John & Sue Hard, Godfather and Godmother of hot sauces, who also run CaJohn’s Fiery Foods, are celebrating a twenty year anniversary of their hot sauce company. The Hard family are heralded as pioneers in the hot sauce community and are much respected. To celebrate this 20 year milestone they have created a special hot sauce comprised of habanero, chipotle peppers and spices that were aged in a Jim Beam bourbon barrel for a year. This recipe is one of CaJohn’s favorites and the signature ingredients of bourbon, black cherries and vanilla have been doubled. This promises to be a very special sauce.  Let’s take a look.


Brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, red habanero chiles, tomato paste, infused bourbon (bourbon whiskey, black cherries, vanilla beans), chipotle chiles, salt spices, natural applewood smoke flavoring are the listed ingredients.

Aroma & Texture:

This is a fluid sauce which pours easily from the bottle.  This elixir is dark adobe red in color. No seeds or pulp are present. I open the top to smell fine smoky bourbon. There is a faint fresh smell of apple cider vinegar. (As a personal aside; Thankyou for not using an annoying flow restrictor. Flow restrictors are a Chilebrown pet peeve.)


Bourbon, cherries and smoke are my initial flavor hits. Tomatoes with habanero nuances join in this party. The last flavor component to join in the festivities is a subtle sweetness from the sugars and maybe the bourbon. This is an interesting sauce. It is not a scorching hot barn burner grab a carton of milk hot sauce. Heat is present but plays a supporting role in this celebration. I dig this sauce already. It has a lot of flavors going on here. Every time I take another taste I get another level of enjoyment.


Surprisingly this sauce is medium in the heat department. The habaneros and chipotle were used in restraint. This sauce is more about flavors. I would give it a click over the mild mark to two stars out of five.


I could not wait to try this and the only thing in the refrigerator was a homemade lemon cheesecake my wife Ms. Goofy had made. Why not? This may come as a shock but it worked. The rich cream cheese added a calming comforting effect to this complex elixir. The bourbon and cherry flavors with the hint of vanilla complemented while the smoky chipotle added a component which intrigued. You know I am a bonafide Chilehead when I have hot sauce with dessert. I think putting hot sauce on your dessert may be a little extreme for most people. This sauce would pair well with any grilled meat. Because this sauce is not scorching hot I believe it would be popular with any food and for any person that is not a seasoned Chilehead or hot sauce lover.


This was one special sauce. I have tasted, reviewed and enjoyed so many sauces over the years and this one will go down in the memory hot sauce scrap book as being very special. We would like to wish the CaJohn's  Fiery Foods family another 20 years of success. I know this sauce will not last long but what a fun & tasty celebration. In conclusion I would like to paraphrase some words stated on the label; “I urge you to celebrate with us this passion that has become our legacy” Amen.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Have you ever heard of an all-inclusive three course meal for 13.00 tax included with  world class scenery right outside the doorway? The “Treasure Island Job Corps Center” runs a “Fine Dining Restaurant’ on Treasure Island right smack in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. We recently discovered this gem from some friends. This is a working restaurant that showcases the efforts of different job training classes of the Job Corps. The Baking Class, Fine Dining Class, Food & Beverage Class and the Pastry Class all collaborate to put together a three course meal all for the small sum of thirteen dollars. We would like to share a couple of images with you.

The Job Corps is located on the old Naval base and the location of the World’s Fair of 1939. Several of the Art Deco buildings from the World’s Fair still stand with also a lot of remnants of old naval buildings. The Job Corps has a campus with our destination of the “Fine Dining” room. We did have to go through security and show I.D. to enter this campus. Once inside we found the building with many students roaming the grounds in chef uniforms. Once inside we were greeted by a host and directed to our table.

The actual dining area is fairly plain. This is a working classroom and the emphasis is on the food and service. We were seated and handed a pre-fixed menu with several dining options. We also were asked what beverages we would like. (non-alcoholic) I had a delicious fruit smoothie. A basket of freshly made french and tomato & basil bread arrived too. Our first choice was of an appetizer: Duck Kofta, Goat Cheese and Grape Salad and Assorted Mushroom Soup. My salad was fantastic as Ms. Goofy enjoyed her soup which was made of portabella, shitake, cremini, cauliflower, served with white truffle croutons and pancetta.

We got to meet the head instructor Chef Ron Shoenburg. He was very friendly and told us a little about the restaurant and program. Our main course arrived and they both looked like they had just jumped out of a food magazine cover. My roasted leg of lamb was tender and flavorful. Ms. Goofy’s Harissa Glazed Half Chicken had a grilled lemon on the side that put this dish over the top delicious. We still had a dessert course to go.

Before our desserts even arrived we received a plate of candied almonds, white chocolate covered strawberry and house made chocolate truffles. My ‘Gatuau Crème au Buerre was decadent and might pretty to look if I do say so myself. Ms. Goofy had ‘Crepes aux Chocolate Noisettes. Oh my,  was this a fun lunch. The students of the Treasure Island Job Corps Center are heading for a bright future. We were happy to experience this working classroom.

Monday, May 15, 2017


Our friend Scott and fellow Certified Kansas City Barbecue Society Master Judge knows I love bacon and chile peppers. He gifted me a bbq rub that combines both of my favorite ingredients; Jallelujah. This is a bacon jalapeno rub made and sold by the competition barbeque team “Big Poppa Smokers”. Big Poppa has a reputation of producing award winning barbeque. This gluten and MSG free rub is an all-purpose rub that we are going to test on a pork roast tonight. Against my better judgement I will be listing the ingredients stated on the label. Have a seat and let’s shout “Jallelujah”

Sugar, coarse salt dehydrated garlic, jalapenos, onions and bell pepper, spices, natural bacon and maple flavors, jalapeno powder, corn starch, extractives of celery, natural hickory smoke flavor are the listed ingredients. The ingredient list seems simple enough. I am wondering about natural bacon flavor?

The top is opened to unleash a fragrant avalanche of fresh spices and a touch of smoke. I dip my clean finger into the spices and give it a taste. This salty sweet and jalapeno flavors actually tastes pretty good straight out of the bottle. The jalapeno flavor is mild but does leave a warming sensation. There is a smoke component and I will assume this is supposed to mimic bacon. The ultimate test will be when we try it on our pork roast.

I rubbed our roast an hour before the cook. I let the seasoned roast sit covered to bring to room temperature.We cooked the roast in a smoker/bbq till the internal temperature was 145. The roast caramelized from the rubs sugars to a beautiful color.  After a brief rest we sliced into the roast. The crust of the roast was delicious. The sugar, salt and spices really complimented the pork. The jalapeno flavor was present but the heat was absent. The actual bacon flavor was a little lost possibly because of all  the smoke from the cooker.

This rub gets thumbs up from the Chilebrown household. It is a good all-purpose rub. The well balanced combination of sugar, salt and jalapeno peppers shined as it caramelized and flavored the roast. I am a little hesitant to say you will taste bacon but there is a smoke component that is present. I cannot wait to try this with some chicken. There is a reason Big Poppa Smokers is a championship bbq team and this rub is a testament.