Chilebrown at home

Monday, April 30, 2018


The organized bicycle ride in wine country, Campovelo asked me to drive a support vehicle again this year. I jumped at the chance to participate in this ride. My title is ‘Official S.A.G. Wagon Driver” (Support And Gear). With this fancy title comes a bright blue Campovelo 'Crew' t-shirt and the keys to a brand spankin new Subaru car. My chief duties were to patrol the bicycle route and provide support such as helping flat repair and or giving a ride to somebody who could not complete the course. I also had a doctor for a partner and navigator in my car. He really was a surgeon who would be available for any emergency gall bladder operations required during the ride. In truth my actual duties were to enjoy the beautiful scenery and sample and eat lots and lots of gourmet food prepared by celebrity chefs.

We did offer assistance several times to riders who experienced flat tires. That was actually kind of fun because we wanted to believe we had earned the food extravaganza to come. Our first rest stop was held at an olive oil ranch. Celebrity food Chef Chris Cosentino offered prosciutto sandwiches which were very decadent with prosciutto, tomato jam, and local ricotta cheese. We also needed to stay hydrated by cold brewed coffee, water; sports drinks, soda and I actually witnessed several bikers drinking a beer. Of course at the end of the ride plenty of adult beverages were waiting for the riders.

We circled the beautiful Lake Berryessa on this bike route. We then drove through the Napa wine region. All this wonderful scenery whetted my appetite for our final destination of the Krug winery. This was the starting and ending point of the ride. The riders were greeted by a festively decorated lawn area beside the winery. This is where the food extravaganza came to fruition . Plenty of wine and local micro-beers were available for the tired but happy cyclists. This S.A.G driver went straight to the wood fired oven to sample pizza. My next stop was Chris Cosentino’s roasted and fried pig station. Chris is known for his nose to tail meat preparation.

What a wonderful day. Beautiful weather, scenery and gourmet food is combination that cannot be beat. Being a S.A.G driver really works up the appetite in my mind. We did provide a service that was important. I did joke about my doctor being a surgeon but he also has plenty of experience with emergency trauma medicine. This ride had everything covered.  I was glad to participate and look forward to next year.

Thursday, April 26, 2018


As some of you may know; I like pie. I especially like pie that has smoked chocolate, candied bacon and pecans. This was procured at Phat Matts BBQ in Oakland. That is all.

Monday, April 23, 2018


Last night we just had some of the best chicken hot wings thanks to Rob's Manganero BBQ sauce. Rob Ryan a friend, bbq competitor and owner of 'Rob's Smokin' Rub has released his new bbq sauce 'Manganero". Manganero is a combination of mango's, habanero peppers and various bbq sauce ingredients. Rob has spent considerable time and research to come up with this special sauce. Habanero's can be very hot but used in restraint have a fantastic flavor with fruit nuances. Combine this with the sweetness of mango fruit and you have a base to create a wonderful elixir. We purchased a bottle and want to give it a try on some chicken wings.

We bought some pre-marinaded wings from our local Mexican butcher. They are marinated with the mild paprika and unknown spices. They were cooked in a hot indirect fire in our covered Weber bbq for 30 minutes. We then covered them in the Manganero sauce and returned them to the hear for an additional five minutes. They turned out fantastic. They were hot, sweet and sticky. The all important component of balance shined. The heat level provided by the Habaneros' was medium.This medium heat was complimented with a sweet component provided by the mango. This heat level was perfect to get a two paws up from Ms. Goofy. (Ms. Goofy will growl if the heat is extreme). I have tried many bbq sauces in my barbecue judging career and this one stands out with flavor, heat, sweet and lip smakin abundance.

Rob's Smokin Rubs

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


The Great White Hunter and I are on a mission to have lunch consisting of dry aged steak from Journeyman Meat Company. Ms. Goofy stayed home on this trip claiming she had to change the spark plugs and clear the fuel injector of the Racing Honda. Thanks to my perfect navigation and the Great White Hunters lack of Parking Karma we arrived and parked in the back lot.

We had several choices from Journymans meat vault and we chose the Akaushi Red Wagyu rib-eye. Our trusty butcher sliced all the trim so our actual steak weighed out at 12 ounces. The steak was handed off to the Chef. He seasoned said steak while a cast iron pan heated in the wood burning oven. The smoking hot pan was removed from the oven and both steaks and a generous glob of butter was added to the pan. Butter was used extensively throughout our meal today. This oven was very hot and the actual cooking time was under 10 minutes. It was then rested for almost the same amount of time.

We sat in the comfortable eating area. It was almost like dining in somebody's living room with the couch like seating. Our meal arrived on a wooden cutting board. Another flavored pat of butter was melting our our precious steak. Some very delicious crunchy, charred, soft at the same time vegetables accompanied our special protein. Our steak was a flavor bomb of beef that had the signature Umami experience. You would take a bite and savor the next bite. This is one special steak. If we could have any criticism was cooking the steak in the oven did not create a meat crust that is achieved by using a high heat grill. Even with this observation we both cleared our cutting board to the bare wood. This was one special lunch. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Devine intervention may have played a part in today’s bbq competition at the St. Pius Church in Redwood City California. It was only last year when buckets of rain poured down on the Hog n’ Heat competition but today we have beautiful spring weather. It was a gorgeous day for a rib and chili competition. Yours truly was present and would love to share some images with you. Today’s competition brought out 36 local backyard and ‘Pro’ competitors. Twelve of these competitors entered their special and unique chili recipes to be judged.

The event was held on the school grounds of the church. There also happened to be an old fashioned soap box derby that was a lot of fun for these young competitors. It was actually a lot of fun for this old boy scout too. We arrived to the cooking arena and spotted some familiar faces.  The aroma of smoking ribs permeated our senses. It only whetted our appetite for our judging duties to come.

The public was invited to purchase competition style ribs in the cafeteria. The ribs were priced at two dollars a bone. They had a fun and unique way of serving these ribs. You would purchase food tickets and exchange them for the team ribs of your choice. Each bbq competition team had a dedicated area marked by a sign. When you received your rib it had a little flag inserted telling you the team name. This was a wonderful and fun way to get your rib on. Competition chili and cornbread were available too.

This bbq sauce by Mayhem Mikes caught my eye for its fun name. The atmosphere was jovial. There was a V.I.P. tent that was occupied by a fund raising raffle winner. I am not sure about their team logoed tent being winners but our location was in 49er territory. (Oakland Raider Fan). Beer and wine was available for purchase if you desired. It was great to enjoy this bbq and chili filled day.

We did leave before the award ceremony so we do not know the winners. Everybody was a winner today. I will update when the information becomes available. In closing I would like to leave you with some inspiring words.

Judging competition ribs is a hard job to do. It takes discipline, fortitude and drive to sample & score some of the best bbq in the nation. We make the commitment and sacrifice so that truth, justice, excellence in Barbeque and the American Way of Life may be strengthened and preserved forever.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


The Meat Adventure continues 10 miles down the road to Ripon Ca. We are visiting Austin Meat Service in downtown Ripon. Ripon is a small town and I thought it was only a freeway exit until today. The butchers at Long Ranch Inc.told me that Austin Meat cuts and wrap pork for their customers. It was so close I thought it was worthy a visit. Parking Karma was not needed today because I could of parked in front, back and even chose across the street.

I walked in the door and saw the refrigerated meat cases. Enlarge the image and see what the first sausage I saw and later purchased. A huge signboard listed all the meats with prices available. They had a nice selection of house made sausages that also had several pepper themed flavors. I could not resist habanero and jalapeno sausage. The beef offered was USDA Choice and it was reasonably priced. I picked out a marinated tri-tip to add to my cart. This was a small shop and you could see the butchering area. It was clean and ready to process any pork Long Ranch would send. Someday we may have to take advantage of this service.

The residents of Ripon have a local butcher/meat market that is very nice. We did cook the marinated tri-tip. It had a teriyaki style marinade. It added a sweet carmelization to the smoky exterior meat crust. The beef had a slight tug to the bite that is usually associated with sirloin. It also had great beef flavor. We cannot wait to try the special sausages that we purchased.

Monday, April 9, 2018


Pork, pork and more pork is the theme today. We are on a Meat Adventure to Long Ranch Inc. Long Ranch is a family run pork producer located in Manteca California This small family run business started in the 50’s and now processes 8,000 Duroc crossbreeds annually. It is located on a country road in the middle of Manteca farm land. This is a destination that you would probably never casually drive by. In fact I drove right by it the first pass. Once I was in the driveway I had two options for entrance. There was a big barn that said “Enter Here” and a small shed that said “Meat Market”. My nose pointed me away from the “Enter Here” barn and chose the Meat Market.

The door was locked but I could see the meat cases full of pork products calling me to purchase. I went to the barn and went inside. If you do visit Long Ranch be prepared for a sensory adventure. This is a pig farm and there are certain odors and sights that are unavoidable. I found two helpful yellow aproned employees and we returned to the retail part of the farm.

The retail store was not a whole lot to see except several refrigerator cases and a counter. This was a pork lover’s dream though. Sausage, bacon, ribs, roasts and even stuffed pork chops were available.  I filled up my cart with multiple items. I asked the clerks numerous questions about the farm. They were more than happy to answer. They then brought me back to the barn for a small tour.

This section may not be for everyone. We are so used to seeing meat products clean and packaged that viewing and smelling live animals adds another dimension to the adventure. We went into the barn to see the holding pens. This is where customers can pick out a live animal for processing. The pigs seemed happy and actually approached us. They were separated into various sizes. There was a large scalding tank. Customers who want a whole pig pick one out and it is dispatched and cleaned immediately. It can be roasted whole or sent down to another butcher 10 miles down the road for cutting and wrapping.

Long Ranch Inc. is a great destination for fresh pork products. We just tried some spare ribs last night and they were fantastic. The Duroc Cross is flavorful and tender. We cannot wait to try the bacon, sausage and stuffed pork chops. Today’s adventure was a true meat experience. The sensory smells and sights of a real working farm makes it real and personal. I cannot wait for the next Meat Adventure. In fact we are driving 10 miles down the road to see the next butcher who cuts and wraps Long Ranch hogs.

Saturday, April 7, 2018


Aged premium beef has been the theme around here lately. It was Ms. Goofy's birthday and she wanted to have dinner at Clove & Hoof one of our new favorite hipster destinations. Clove & Hoof serves fantastic burgers, Philly Cheese-steak and they also run a premium butcher shop. Tonight's special was a dish whose main protein was dry aged New York strip. This steak was served with tarragon English pea puree, brown beech mushrooms, melted leeks and chimichurri. The beef had a ton of beefy flavor but was a little on the tough side. This did not matter because the sum of all the parts added up to a fantastic composed tasty dish. Clove & Hoof specializes in selling beef from small farms raised using responsible and humane methods. The flavor department shined tonight.

Ms. Goofy loved her Philly Cheese-steak. She will not order any other item from the menu it is that good. One thing I have to mention is the fries. They are fried in beef tallow. This makes for one delicious fry. There is a distinctive exterior crunch to reveal the soft pillow like potato center.The beef tallow adds a certain nuanced flavor. These are not bland, unexciting burger accompaniments but bursts of french fry happiness that has you reaching for another and another.  They are splashed with just the right amount of salt to keep your doctor employed. This may be the perfect fry. We cannot wait to return for our next meal at Clove & Hoof.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Proceed with caution because you may be opening Pandora's box by witnessing the following words. Dry aging beef is a process that evaporates moisture and begins the natural process of enzymes breaking down. This is achieved by hanging meat for several weeks in a temperature controlled environment. What all this does is concentrate beef flavors and makes beef more tender. The process is time consuming and also takes up valuable room in the establishment making this beef more expensive. It is also a practice that has been following by the wayside in the meat industry. Journeyman Meat Co. does take the time and effort to dry age beef but you will pay a premium for this service.

We are at Journeyman Meat Co. and found some wonderful dry aged premium beef. This was one steak I could not pass by. Grab on to your chair and I will tell you the price tag; 38./pd. I had the butcher cut me a 22 ounce beautiful 31 day New York strip steak. The butcher cut away at the outer layer which has been spoiled from the aging process. He revealed a beautifully marbled steak. This particular beef was from Texas; named red Akausi American Wagyu. I could not wait to get home to cook it.

A very hot direct heat charcoal fire would be used to cook this special steak. The steak was seasoned with salt & freshly cracked pepper and let to sit for an hour to bring to room temperature. Approximately 4 minutes per side with rotation for grill marks would bring the internal temperature to 115. We wanted this steak to be medium rare leaning towards the rare side to experience maximum tenderness. A long ten minute rest and we were ready to experience the pleasure. Beware, once you have bitten into a dry aged steak no other steak will compare. Yes, it is that good. Tender with concentrated beef flavor that will make you stop after every bite and sigh. With this price tag it is not a beef we will be consuming every day but I guarantee once you have tried it you will be hooked. This was one of the best steaks ever.