Chilebrown at home

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


It was a three day weekend for most of America. What is more American than a cherry pie? We made a home made cherry pie from farmers market fresh cherries to celebrate this holiday weekend. We also threw in a pork shoulder roast procured from the U.C. Davis Meat Labs to make this a very tasty weekend.

This pie was a creation that I made up as I went along. It is a little chore to pitt several pounds of fresh cherries. We do have a fancy pitting utensil but sometimes it missfires and only a plug of cherry is removed. I did my best but one wayward pitt will be somebody's prize in this pie. The pitted cherries were briefly boiled in a pot to soften and thicken. The crust and topping was a combination of chopped almonds, butter, brown sugar, flour and oats. I like making this crust because you basically just stir all the ingredients together and go. A brief trip to the oven and we were ready.

I hope your weekend was as tasty as ours. We reflected and honored the memory of veterans who gave their life. We did it in our way with cherry pie. I almost forgot to say how wonderful our pork roast was. Oh my! Till the next time.

Sunday, May 27, 2018


Kramer knives offered me the opportunity to buy a special pocket knife. I did not hesitate because anything made by Bob Kramer is guaranteed to be quality, collectible, and a very special tool. The handle is made of cocobolo wood. The blade and handle are etched with the Kramer knife logo. This is a hand forged beauty that I am proud to own.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


It is time for the yearly ritual of stocking up with charcoal briquettes. Memorial Day charcoal  sales at the big box stores are a tradition that we take advantage of. This year the price is 9.88 for a double bag of 18.6 pounds. This is almost half off the regular price. It makes sense to buy 372 pound because it will be put to good use. If now I coul only talk Ms. Goofy into unloading the truck.

Monday, May 21, 2018


The Burnie Grill looks like a whole lot of fun. How about a meal cooked over your own self contained campfire grill. The Burnie Grill is an alder wood log embedded with alder wood charcoal. This cooking log is notched for air flow and has a charcoal starter cube for ignition. You light a match, step back and 20 minutes later you have a cooking vessel. It may be environmentally green and politically correct because it does not leave any trace except some ash and it is made of all natural wood.  Burnie claims this notching of the grill stump comes from an ancient Nordic technique. You will have to supply your own cooking grill but that will not be a problem here at Mad Meat Genius lab. Pull up a stump because we are firing up the Burnie Grill.

We are cooking a couple of steaks tonight. The Burnie Grill is lit by a fire starter in the center of the log. Once lit, the charcoal surrounding lights fairly quickly. It was a breezy evening and we were ready to cook in 20 minutes just as the brochure claimed. The instructions also suggested having some water to extinguish any flames if the wood started to flame. This was prudent Intel with our windy conditions because we experienced wood  flare ups. We cooked a filet and a T-bone steak. The grill was crowded and we adapted. We did notice the heat a little uneven on the cooking grate. It was a little challenging with the fire flareups which we extinguished immediately with the water. One thing I really enjoyed was the smell of smoldering alder wood. It was like we were camping and sitting around a campfire. Our steaks were done and tasted very good. They had a definite hint of alder wood smoke.

Overall the Burnie grill was fun. It was very easy to light. It did have some challenges with even cooking temperature on the grate and flare ups I loved the smell and flavoring of the Alder wood. When we had finished using the Burnie Grill it was put in our kettle grill to allow burning down to ashes. I would purchase the Burnie grill if I was going on a campaign trip. This unique cooking device may be a little too much for home use. I do love a challenge and the Burnie Grill was actually a whole lot of fun.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


"Pop-up restaurants seem to be popular these days. It is a cheaper alternative to opening a brick and mortar establishment. Shaw's Texas Style BBQ comes through my home town about once a month. He sets up right in the local auto repair shop parking lot. I thought it was about time to give his bbq a try. I live only two blocks away and could of walked but chose to drive because I wanted to bring home dinner right away. Shaw's sells chicken, ribs, sausage and tri-tip. I chose a three way combination excluding chicken. I also committed an error of judgement and forgot to ask for the sauce on the side.

Once home I opened the Styrofoam clam-shell to reveal a whole mess of sauce covered bbq. It did not look to appetizing to me. The spareribs had been band-sawed in half to make little rib lets. The tri-tip was buried somewhere in the swimming pool of tomato based, sweet and liquid smoke flavored bbq sauce. The potato salad looked commercially made and the beans may or may not have been freshly harvested from a can. I would like to tell you how it tasted but all I could really taste was the sauce. The tri-tip seemed to be tender. The sausage was dry and the ribs were tough. Oh my, sometimes you just cannot please this bbq judge. Next time Shaw's passes through town so will I.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


The Crumb Sweeper is a tool designed to remove crumbs from a tablecloth, used especially in fine dining situations. “The Crumber’ is the person who uses this elegant tool. The Crumb Sweeper is so much more than a tool that performs a menial task but a touch of elegance and a reminder of a gentler time when fine dining was a spectacle to be enjoyed. The main course is complete and the table is cleared for the dessert course. The tablecloth of fine linen has been cleared clean except for a few wayward crumbs that escaped the bolero jacketed bus person. In comes “The Crumber’. Usually the waiter, with practiced hands will gracefully sweep, to clear and cleanse the field of culinary delight. This simple, gentle act will signal the final course of dinning pleasure. Ben Lobenstein understands and appreciates this slowing vanishing act of fine dining. He has generously gifted me this gold monogrammed crumb sweeper from the Shaddowbrook restaurant. Thankyou Ben, for I will appreciate and cherish this symbol of food service extraordinaire.

Sunday, May 13, 2018


8th Livermore KoC Ribs, Chili, Cars, Brews & Blues, what more can you ask for? It was a beautiful sunny day in Livermore, California. We were there to have some fun. It just so happened that we judged a rib and chili contest. We would like to share some images with. Be prepared for a lot of shiny polished chrome and pictures of people having ribalicious fun.

Sunday, May 6, 2018


The skies were a little gray today but that did not darken the festivities at the Western Festival Elk Grove. In fact a little cloud cover provided a pleasant break from the heat sometimes experienced in Elk Grove. We are here at this festival to judge thirty five competitive barbeque teams. As allways we look forward to sampling and scoring some of the best barbeque in the nation. This was so much more than just a competition it was a gathering of festive people from the Elk Grove area. We would love to share some images with you.

There was a midway with carnival rides to make any child happy. An art and wine show displayed many local artists creations with the opportunity to sample local wines too. To add atmosphere a small trio of musicians entertained. Music was everywhere. A main stage had headlining acts while there was a couple of strolling musicians. In fact we were serenaded in the judges tent by a lone bag piper who announced with all of its blustery splendor the arrival of their meat teams entries. 

Pony rides for the children made me a little jealous. I am sure they had a weight limit and I really exceeded it after scoring chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. We judge so often that it still amazes me how fantastic bbq can be. Wow, we had some fantastic entries today. After our judging duties I strolled the grounds. I saw lots of booths promoting local business and charitable causes. I made sure to enter the contest to win a years supply of bundt cakes from the local baker.

The scores were tabulated and the winners were declared. Our friends Bill & Yvonne Sousa of 'Big Bs Down & Dirty, (pictured in the last image) took Reserve Grand Champion. The team, Simply Marvelous was the Grand Champion today. What a great day. We cannot wait till next weekend when we get to do this all over again in Livermore. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


This Mad Meat Genius is a huge fan of the Weber Kettle Grill. The publishers of ‘The Secrets To Great Charcoal Grilling On The Weber’ must of known this when they sent me this book to review. The author, Bill Gillespie is a championship pitmaster and has penned several other bbq related books. This book covers techniques, tips, recipes and step by step instructions on how to cook on the Weber charcoal grill. We have a copy of this book and would like to share our insight.The first chapter, “All Up In Your Grill” is a must read for any Weber charcoal grill owner. It unlocks the basic techniques for proper usage of the Weber.  The Weber kettle when used properly can do so many cooking tasks. Bill explains the techniques in easy to follow step by step procedures. There is direct, indirect and two zone cooking methods. Once you understand these basic methods the Weber can cook anything.
      The book moves on to recipes.  I would say most of the recipes are simple and basic but the ideas and techniques are fresh and vibrant. How about cooking a skirt steak directly on the hot coals? The images entice and inspire you duplicate the recipes. I particularly found the section on competition barbecue fascinating. This section will give the novice a better understanding how to duplicate award winning championship bbq. The final section has some very unique offerings such as ‘grilled lemonade and French toast.

We cooked some sausage using the two zone cooking method. The sausage turned out juicy and cooked perfectly throughout using this method. Notice the banking of the coals on one side of the grill. The sausage was cooked on the non-direct side for 14 minutes turning once. It was finished for one minute on each side on the direct side. This method is discussed and is so very simple. No flairs ups, perfectly cooked and maximum flavor was achieved using the two zone method.

The Secrets To Great Charcoal Grilling On The Weber is a great book for any Weber Kettle Grill owner. It would be perfect for the novice cook to explain step by step how to use the Weber. The images are so alluring that I would recommend reading this on a full stomach because you will want to cook. The recipes are simple and easy to duplicate. The chapter on competitive cooking was informative and a great starting point for any future competitor. After reading this book, I have new recipes that I want to try. Next time you come over to my house I may be offering you a glass of grilled lemonade.

The Secrets To Great Charcoal Grilling On the Weber
Page Street Publishing Co.
ISBN 978-1-62414-506-3