Chilebrown at home

Sunday, December 30, 2018


Our bbq friend and leader of the championship competitive bbq team ‘Son of Smoke’, Derrick, gifted me a bbq rub Honey Bacon BBQ by Meat Church BBQ. I had expressed interest in this rub because, you may have guessed already, I am a dupe for all things bacon. Meat Church bbq has a line-up of different seasoning rubs for the bbq enthusiast. They also are a sponsor for Derrick’s bbq team. This is going to be good. Grab a chair and let’s cook some bbq.

I glanced at the ingredient list to find a specific addition that caught my fancy right away; honey powder. I have had this ingredient before and it works wonders by several different properties. It adds a sweetness that helps in the overall balance. It can also help in the browning of the meat by helping with caramelization process. I did not see any bacon in this ingredient list but I did see natural flavoring. We have our fingers crossed.

Our first application was on a pork shoulder roast. They were on sale at Wally World and who does not love pulled pork. We applied the rub overnight before cooking in our smoker. Nine hours later we had the yummiest looking roast. It smelled fantastic. The bark (outer layer of roast that has caramelized) was just like meat candy. It was not overly sweet but had a toothsome quality that was addicting. We took several tastes before we pulled the pork. This rub did the job to create a very sweet savory combination. Did I taste bacon? Maybe if you consider a smoky component that mimics bacon. To be fair this had been in our smoker and I am not sure if it was from the rub or not. It was very flavorful and we were happy.

We tried this rub on some chicken wings. They were good. They were not great. They had a sweetness that was welcoming you to have another bite. This may be a personal preference but we like a little heat to add some pzazz to our wings. We could have easily added some other spices. Did this taste like bacon? Not really.

Overall Honey Bacon BBQ by Meat Church is a great rub for pulled pork. It added a sweetness that created the most wonderful meat crust (bark). This rub used in a combination with some other spices has the potential for being a fantastic rub for chicken too. Did it taste like bacon? When I close my eyes and wish real hard I can always taste bacon.

Friday, December 28, 2018


My sister, 'The President of Cookies" gifted me so many fun products this Christmas. She gave me a huge stocking full of food products full of bacon, chile peppers and spices. She knows what I like. Today we will try a hot pepper bacon jam made by Terrapin Ridge Farms. I am usually disappointed in so called bacon products and a quick litmus test is to read the ingredient list. I want to love this jam so against my better judgement lets read the list.
    Ingredients:  sugar, roasted red bell pepper puree, jalapeno peppers, vinegar, salt, bacon, honey, dehydrated pork broth, smoke flavoring, pectin, lemon juice, natural flavorings and several preserving chemicals. Just a quick note on this list. I condensed the list and lumped the chemicals all together and nothing seemed out the ordinary. What my personnel red flag was the smoke flavoring. I am not a fan of liquid smoke. Period.

The lid is unscrewed to release a campfire of smoke aroma. This product has a chimney full of liquid smoke. We tasted this on a buttered homemade English muffin. I will cut to the chase and say I really like it. There are real bits of bacon in this thick sweet spicy jam. The red pepper puree is special with its sweetness and pepper flavor. The jalapenos give the jam a gentle heat that whisper a warmness to your palate. The real bacon pieces are a texture and pleasant bite of saltiness that is a vital component in this mix.  I was concerned about the liquid smoke. It is a little heavy but adds even another level to this flavorful jam. The sugar and honey is the binder to combine all these separate ingredients to form a harmonious symphony of flavors. BRAVO. This jam would be perfect with cream cheese and crackers or in a cheese tortilla roll up. We have a winner today. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


What a wonderful Christmas. Prime rib, Christmas cookies and a long stay on the couch was the extent of my day. My sister, "The President of Cookies" gifted me an updated Mad Meat Genius insignia. I present you with the new and improved Mad Meat Genius badge of courage.

Friday, December 21, 2018


Twas the week before Christmas minus a couple of days that we picked up the all mighty aged USDA Prime rib roast. It has become a Chilebrown Christmas tradition to order a prime rib roast from Willowside Meats in Santa Rosa. We ordered this roast months ago in anticipation of this special Christmas day meal. This roast is hung and dry aged for almost three weeks to create the most beefy luscious meat we have ever had. Oh my!.

Inside Willowside was a beehive of activity. We were not the only ones picking up a roast. I gave them my name and sure enough a 'cut & tied' meat present was delivered to us. After paying the tab of course. While we were there we also picked up some other meaty treats such as pork chops and ground beef. One does not live by prime rib alone.

We are home now and I am counting the days and hours until the house smells of cooking prime rib roast. As a child, I could not sleep in anticipation of Santa. Now days I sleep well dreaming of aged USDA prime rib roast. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2018


We are going to a housewarming party thrown by two of our barbeque friends who happen to compete on "Team Bacon". Rob & Sherri are our hosts and barbeque competitors. When you go to any party that is thrown by  members of the barbeque community you should expect fantastic barbeque meats. We were not disappointed and would like to share a couple of tasty images with you.

It was a brisk winter day for an indoor/outdoor gathering but Rob & Sherri had a very nice patio with a gas flamed fire pit. You could also stand next to their new barbeque unit to stay warm and feast your eyes on some mammoth cheese stuffed potatoes. They had to be cut into smaller proportions because there was so much fantastic food available today.

These were some tasty jalapeno poppers stuffed with cheddar cheese and sausage. They had just enough heat to say HELLO !. The four meats; chicken, ribs, pork shoulder and brisket were served today. Of course Rob & Sherri had to represent with their finest meat cooks because that is what competitors do. I especially liked the brisket today. 

Competitive teams will not always reveal their cooking secrets but Sherri did demonstrate one of her seasoning techniques. I call this the 'Kissing Crane' seasoning method. I hung out in the kitchen trying to absorb any pointers or secrets. I was joined by this little furry character that knew plenty of wayward trimmings would come his way.

Chicken and ribs made this a complete day. What a great housewarming party. This Mad Meat Genius definitely had to loosen his belt after an afternoon of eating championship bbq. It was a great day to hang out with friend and welcome Rob & Sherri to their new home.

P.S. Bonus points for such a great team name; Team Bacon

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Tis the season for lemon cheesecake, Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. We here at the Mad Meat Genius labs have been busy with the Holidays but Ms. Goofy found time to bake the most luscious lemon cheesecake. I am one lucky S.O.B.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


I love a good fat hot juicy spicy burrito. They are filling, satisfying and comfort food in my book. If you lived in the Oakland area during the 80's Taqueria Morella was an institution in the fast Mexican food genre. The bar "Talk of The Town" was attached to this popular restaurant. Some people might say that it was located in a rough part of town. I would reply confidently; Taqueria Morella is the best place to find a cop but you may have to interrupt his lunch. Sadly they have long closed but the memory lives on. When I heard that some of the original cooks have re-created the food offerings from the old Taqueria Morella with their own place Ramiro & Sons Taqueria, we had to explore.

Parking Karma was not needed today because there is a public parking lot right next door. We were there at the noon hour and did grab one of the last spots. Ramiro & Sons is located in  Alameda off of the main Park street. It is also located less than half a block from the local high school. Inside is a pretty bare bones establishment. The menu is on the wall and you place your order at the counter. In fact you tell your burritorista (word?) what you would like and he makes it right in front of you.When it is done you pay and grab a table.

 When at a tacqueria one must order a super burrito. You choose your meat which usually is beef, pork or chicken. I also ordered the quesadilla one of my favorites from the old restaurant. At the old restaurant they had the best verde salsa in squeeze bottles which you could bring to your table. Ramiro & Sons did not have the squeeze bottles but they happily gave me a small cup with extra sauce. This sauce is important because it is a flavor bomb of heat and chili goodness. One takes a bite and then pours a little more salsa on the next bite. My quesadilla was hot off the griddle with ooey, gooey cheese. A little pico de gallo added an extra hit of texture and flavor.

The burritos are large. Maybe not as large as I remember but I have grown  large which may have clouded my memories. I had beef and Ms. Goofy pork carnitas as our meat choice. This burrito had the perfect ratio of beans, rice, guacamole, sour cream and meat. Each bite contained each component. There also is a specific way to eat a burrito. You unwrap the foil from one end of the burrito and hold the foil wrapped bottom. Bite from the top and work your way down removing foil as you go. If you do it correctly you will not spill burrito goodness all over your mitts. The ingredients were fresh and satisfying. The cooks definitely have recreated the taste and feel of an old friend of a food memory. If you are in Alameda I would recommend giving Ramiro & Sons Taqueria a try.

Ramiro & Sons Tacqueria
2321 Alameda Ave, 
Alameda, CA 94501

Monday, November 26, 2018


The weather has been brisk but the climate is Hot in the Chilebrown household. We have run across several hot products that have literally warmed our taste buds. The first is Atomic Hot Links from Butler Gourmet Meats. With a name Atomic Hot Links one would think these meat tubes may create spontaneous human combustion. They were warm but had more bark than bite. They had a heat level that was of medium warmth that was satisfying.

The next product was Fat Cat Cranberry Habanero Relish. This is a wonderful product that will liven up any turkey sandwich to exciting levels. It is a perfect balance of heat, sweet, tart and yuminess. We are no strangers to this relish and you can read the whole review by this link here.

The last hot product we have acquired is Vermont Ghosted Maple syrup from Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's in the infamous store that has everything you have always wanted but do not need. Ghost peppers are some of the hottest peppers around and have been slowly making their way into a lot of mainstream products. I am not sure if this is just for the novelty or people are embracing the heat. We have not tried this yet. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 22, 2018


It is that time of year to overeat and indulge with familiar traditional treats. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pie and one of my personal favorites gravy. To quote an old friend Dr. Biggles; "It's All About the Gravy Mang". Ms. Goofy has made us her famous pecan pie today. We here at Mad Meat Genius would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2018


Armadillo Eggs, or Atomic Buffalo Turds, what ever you want to call them they are delicious. These cheese stuffed jalapenos, wrapped in sausage and bacon were the end results of a Meat Adventure that brought the Great White Hunter out of hibernation. When Ms. Goofy is practicing her All-Star Wrestling techniques the Great White Hunter steps ins and participates on our Meat Adventures. Today we made several stops at Farmers Markets and several meat markets.

We were at the Petaluma Farmers market and found a booth selling meat products from 'Sonoma County Meat Company. The bacon looked pretty tempting.with the promise of Heritage Cross Pork what ever that meant. I believe the vendor said this was a Berkshire cross breed. Enough said it was put in the shopping cart. You know I jest when I say shopping cart because in California we are charged 10 cents per shopping bag. One must carry their own cloth, preferably hemp politically correct shopping retrieval vessel. We then proceeded to a couple other meat stops.

Once home, it was time to put this bacon to use. Armadillo eggs sounded like a challenge. This involves hollowing out fresh jalapenos. They are then stuffed with a mixture of jalapeno flavored spreadable cream cheese and grated sharp cheddar. They are then rolled in sausage and today we used a Dakota sausage from Lockeford Meats. This was wrapped in our bacon from Sonoma Meats. This was a thick cut bacon so I only used one sliced per egg.

Two hours in the smoker at 250 degrees with several apple wood chunks turned the Armadillo Eggs a deep smoked color. They were then bathed in barbeque sauce and put back in the smoker for 10 more minutes. They turned out fantastic. The bacon was very tasty with a sweet pork profile. I say sweet because of the cure and the actual "heritage pork' had a sweetness that was prevelant. It was very smoky because in essence it was double smoked by its time  at Sonoma Meats and our smoker. Overall the bacon wrapped Armadillo Eggs was spectacular with smoke, sweet, spicy, not to hot, jalapeno, cheese goodness. Ms. Goofy also made this spectacular Oreo-Cookie Cheesecake that topped off a very special meal.

Thursday, November 8, 2018


We start out this story with a hearty bowl of ‘Thanks’ to our fellow bbq Judge Aaron for telling us about Chili Joe’s in Petaluma California. Chili Joe’s is a small six table restaurant that specializes in house made chili. Ms. Goofy and I are certified chili judges but never actually get the opportunity to judge sanctioned contests. We love a bowl of red and were excited to give this establishment a try. They have been open less than a year and if it was not for the heads up by Aaron we would have not discovered this place. Parking Karma was in full force evident by the Racing Honda parked right in front. This may be a good omen.

Inside is a very small xix table room with a small counter to place your order. A red flag immediately flew with little post up notes proclaiming the chili con-carne was sold out. We asked the clerk why and she replied;  it is popular and certain ingredients are not local and they were waiting on deliveries. There were plenty of other choices on the menu and placed our order. Luckily a table broke right as we placed our order.

Our meal was delivered promptly. Even though the signature chili’s were not available, the house and “Green-Go Chili Verde was available.  Green-Go Chili Verde; Succulent chili-grind pork shoulder, skillet seared and simmered with poblano & Hatch Chile peppers, tomatillo, pinto beans onion, garlic, fresh herbs and roasted spices. Topped with Petaluma Creamery jack, sweet white & green onions, crema fresca, fresh jalapeno and cilantro. This was a bowl of green chili to die for. It was mild but so flavorful with green chili love. The balance of spice and fresh green chili flavor was everything that makes chili so addicting. I may order a large bowl instead of a cup next time. The menu says a bowl comes with  organic corn street tortillas.

Ms. Goofy had Frito pie with the “La Street Chili’ that was very good because she cleaned her plate not leaving any Frito chips for me to finish. This too was a mild chili with beans that we found out later can be customized with added heat. In fact, I quote; “Extra spice and/or extra red chili-grease on request” (Chili Grease?). The combination of heartwarming chili with salty Frito chips cannot be beat.

I had a “New Mexijoe” burger; Char-broiled beef patty with flame roasted Hatch and poblano peppers Petaluma Creamery jack cheese , flame charred sweet white onion slab and green onion-garlic mayoli on a toasted potato bun. This was a juicy burger that satisfied. The roasted hatch and poblano was mild addition that added texture and green pepper goodness. The cheese was ooey and gooey to make this a very good menu choice. I do wish the Hatch pepper had a little more heat. Ms.Goofy had a cheeseburger and was not as enamored as myself.

A side of CJ’s cornbread had to be ordered. This was called Santa Fe style with sliced jalapenos and red peppers. This came with orange/honey butter studded with sweet peppers. How can you resist warm cornbread and sweet flavored butter. I really enjoyed it.

We definitely have a virtual reservation to return to try the signature chili’s. The menu also has other chili influenced items to be explored  Chili Joe’s is a small establishment and I am afraid this could be a detriment with possibly becoming too popular.. Hopefully they can work out the ingredient supply situation because the chili we tried was fantastic. One can only imagine how great the signature chili’s could be. We love a good ‘Bowl of Red” (or green) and look forward to our return. Thankyou Aaron.

Chili Joe's
312 Petaluma Blvd S,
 Petaluma, CA 94952

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Those of you that recognize this mounted skyward cow will know where we are. We, actually Ms. Goofy is in Lockeford California at Lockeford Meats. Lockeford Meats is famous for their delicious and reasonably priced sausage. This fact is reinforced by the lines to get in the store on the weekends.  Ms. Goofy was attending a dog show near by and had to stop by, and I am glad she did.

Ms. Goofy loves the "Dakota Sausage' evident by this pile of sausage tubes. It is a mild sausage which is a combination of pork and turkey. It is one of my favorites too. This sausage is mild enough to be enjoyed in multiple dishes. She also knows what I like and bought several sausages with the title Bacon Sausage.

This sausage was a little darker in color than the Dakota. We fried the sausage in a cast iron pan until browned and internal temperature reached 150 degrees. It was juicy and tender when bit into. It had a smoky flavor as bacon would. I believe I noticed a sort of breakfast sausage type of spice. It too was mellow and mild like the Dakota. Overall did it taste like bacon? I would answer; sort of. What it was, was a very yummy and delicious sausage that I would not hesitate buying again. Meanwhile we have a few more Dakota Sausages to consume. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018


We found Palenque Grill quit by accident. We were actually on our way to a different restaurant and it was closed. A quick search on our fancy smart phone tether devices  and Palenque popped up. Palenque Grill has only been open a couple of months and it was time to give them a try.

Parking Karma was turned off today because they do have off street parking in their lot. We came in at the noon hour with a practically an empty house. Be prepared to practice your high school Spanish because the menus are not in English. Palenque Grill is located in San Pablo which has a predominately Hispanic population. Our waitress spoke English perfectly fine but apologized for her lack of confidence in speaking our language. This was not a problem and we proceeded.

Freshly fried tortilla chips with salsa with a oh so very slight pepper bite was brought to the table to whet our appetite for the meal to come. Ms. Goofy informed me they were pressing fresh tortillas in the kitchen for our meal. This will add bonus points immediately to our critique. Our meal was delivered promptly.

The carnitas plate was fit for a food magazine photo cover. It was stunning. The salsa were fresh, The carnitas were crisp on the outside with fried goodness and soft on the inside with pork love. Ms. Goofy had a burrito made with the same carnitas and really liked it too. The beans and rice were okay but the carnitas with fresh house made tortillas and salsa just made me plain swoon with Mexican delight.

I have to mention an appetizer we ordered called 'Cowboy's Ball" They were fried dough with a center of jalapeno, cream cheese, fresh corn and bacon served with sour cream, spicy ketchup and french fries. These were hot off the fryer and were delicious. To be honest, we could not tell there was any bacon in them. They still were addicting with the cream cheese, jalapeno and fresh corn.

We felt very lucky today to find Palenque Grill. This restaurant definitly deserves a return trip to explore other menu options. I was too full to experience the Jamaican Cheesecake listed on the menu and will report back later.

Palenque Grill
1439 23rd Av.
San Pablo Ca.