Chilebrown at home

Sunday, August 29, 2021


Triple digit weather and smoky skies (from wildfires) did not sway the festival attendees at Rio Vista Hot August Bites. It was hot. Thankfully this pampered judge was sequestered in an air conditioned judges room. I still did venture out to see a lot of happy people. There was a chili and rib contest and the public was invited to sample and judge both. Despite the sweltering heat the public was out in force to participate.

This festival had all the right moves. There was bouncy things for kids. Lots of venders selling crafts and knick knacks. Of course a couple of politician and the Rotary Club was present. A vintage car display with plenty of shiny chrome was here to view. There was two stages for music. If ribs and chili was not enough there was several food vendors.

There was approx 35 teams competing in the rib cookoff today. There was a lot of local talent and backyard cookers serving up there best version of ribs. All the competitors paid an entry fee and were supplied ribs to cook. They cooked for us judges and then also cooked some for the public. The public voted for their favorite to crown a People' Choice champion. We had three flights of 6 entries to make a full day of judging. I have to say the judges were impressed with some mighty fine ribs.

What a fun day. This is what we love to do. We hope to return to a "normal" bbq event schedule soon.


Wednesday, August 25, 2021


 Ms. Goofy and I are polishing our judges badges for this Saturdays "Hot August Bites". This event will be held at the small delta town of Rio Vista. There will be plenty of ribs and chili for the public to enjoy. You can also vote on your favorite to crown a People's Choice champion. I hope to post some pictures  at a later date. See you there.

Saturday, August 21, 2021


A sharp knife is a safe knife, so the saying goes. As some of you may know I collect Buck knives and custom kitchen knives. I recently purchased a Benchmade Meatcrafter knife. This knife will be used in the kitchen as a type of filet knife. It is described as a hybrid hunting knife and comes with a plastic sheath. My hunting is done at Safeway and this knife will never leave the kitchen . The blade steel is CPM-154 and has a patented "Select Edge" technology. What is "Select Edge"? A good question and the information I can find it is sharpened at a 14 degree angle. Most kitchen knives are sharpened to a 17-20 degree angle.
  This is not an endorsement for this knife. Time will tell how it will hold up in the kitchen. It has a pretty steep price tag of 150 dollars. Why did I even buy it? My friend owns a knife shop in Oakland California and highly recommends Benchmade knives. (Disclaimer; he is a Benchmade Dealer). My present filet knife has been sharpened so much it was time to replace. Benchmade offers a free lifetime sharpening service if you want to pay the postage. I do like knives.


Saturday, August 14, 2021


We are in Richmond California to visit a local bbq establishment; CJ's Barbecue & Fish. CJ's is located 2 blocks away from my farmers market. I have worked at the Farmers Market for over 8 years and have never visited. Recently a gala event was held to celebrate the 75th birthday of owner Charles Evans and the 22 anniversary of CJ's restaurant. This celebration was covered by the local newspaper. Charles Evans is loved and respected in the community. I also have a personal connection to his brother in law Keith Jones who is a great friend. After my farmers market I took the long two block walk and gave a visit.

CJ's is a small venue with to-go only orders. The menu is on the wall and you place your order at the counter. I did get to meet Charles and we had a nice conversation. He is very personable and makes you feel like an old friend. The menu has the usual suspects for a bbq joint with some fried fish too. I was here to try the bbq and ordered brisket and ribs. Once home I opened the clam shell box to release the aroma of bbq smoke. Both meats had a heavy hand on the smoke. To accompany the bbq meats was a house made bbq sauce that was sweet with molasses and brown sugar. The ribs were seasoned nicely but had a little chew to them. The same with the brisket that was sliced and chopped. When you combined the sauce and meat it made for a good meal that this Mad Meat Genius finished to the last morsel. The beans had the same molasses and brown sugar theme and the Cole slaw added a cooling texture to compliment the meal.

CJ's is a local bbq establishment that is loved by the local community. Charles Evans is a popular fixture in the neighborhood. I never even mentioned the dessert case in the restaurant filled with home made cakes and pies. You know I will be back.

CJ's BBQ & Fish 
2401 Macdonald Av.
Richmond Ca.


Saturday, August 7, 2021


The disasters continue to wreak havoc with the bbq world and life in general. A wildfire in Northern California has cancelled the annual Lassen BBQ Cookoff. It is held in Susanville California. The fire has not reached the town but this shot was taken at 2:23 pm in the afternoon. Needless to say it is major chaos in this town. We can only offer moral support and prayers for this community. 


Sunday, August 1, 2021



It was a DOG day in July. Dutch Oven Gathering at the local Elks Club was the place to be on a Saturday afternoon. It was time for the boys & girls to break out their trusty black iron and create a food extravaganza. We had a small crowd of 25 people this time out. Vacations and scheduling limited participants but that did not damper the festivities. When ever one attends a D.O.G. it is a given fact that you will over eat and roll out of the event satisfied. Today did not dissapoint.

Ed is showing a pot of his braised ribs. He sauced these fall off the bones at the end to create some very tasty ribs. This barbecue judge was very impressed. You might of seen my score by the barbeque sauce painted all over my face. Yours truly made a dish of Chileverde on a custom Cowboy Wok. This is black iron in the form of welded plow disc to form a makeshift Wok. Technically it is not a Dutch Oven but the rules here are very lax.


Pictured below is an actual cheesecake baked in a Dutch Oven. I can personably vouch that is was very tasty and impressive.

It is so nice to be able to gather with friends. To eat, drink and just swap stories makes for a wonderful afternoon. This simple form of entertainment is crucial for well being. I cannot wait for the next D.O.G.