Yup, it’s my birthday week and I took yesterday off. I didn’t have much planned but a nice lunch at a new BBQ joint out in Antioch with Chilebrown. He sent me an ad a week ago and thought we should go check it out, considering who we are and all. They’d opened July 31st, so after only being open a week we didn’t know what to expect. It was a day to throw caution to the wind and head out for an adventure.
A few days before, CB’s co-worker made a trip to Oregon for bacon. Apparently he’d filled 2 giganticus sized coolers full of bacon and bacon like products. Some of which I knew CB had asked for and hopefully a little would trickle down to me, heh. This also means we get to have a bacon tasting before lunch, how nice.
I showed up at CB’s early, about 11am. He tossed 2 cast iron skillets on his fancy commercial range and removed a plastic bucket from the fridge. He pulled back the top and said, “Here’s 14 pounds of pork belly curing for bacon.” It sure was, dang. After the bucket was out of the way, he removed about 3 or 4 huge sized bags of bacon. First up he sliced some of Redmond Lockers & Custom Meats Inc bacon, oh man. The fresh porky smell along with sweet smoky wafts was wonderful. Next to slice was the A&B Meat Market bacon, both of which are belly bacon. Each got its own skillet, we have to make sure the flavors of each are preserved!
The gentle caress of the gas range gave us the the bacon doneness we needed. Little bit chewy and a little bit crunchy. This way we can see where it comes and where it goes. I need to taste the cool white smoky fat and the crunch of the belly, it’s all good. I went for the Redmond bacon first and CB did the A&B. It was a moment held in time, we both stood in the kitchen, leaning against the counter. Ghod the Redmond bacon was good, excellent sweetish flavor with a smoky pork finish. I grabbed a slice of the A&B while CB grabbed a piece of the Redmond. Munch munch. Lordy. The A&B was a little milder on the sweet side, but the smoky goodness along with the excellent pork meat flavor was an contender as well.
I veered towards the Redmond bacon and CB was very happy with the A&B. But when it comes down to it, they’re both amazing hunks of cured smoky goodness and get four thumbs up. That was the appetizer, now for lunch. Ready to head out to Antioch to Applewood BBQ?
We couldn’t have asked for a better day for a little road travel. It was mid-day, very little traffic, 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. East on highway 4 out to Antioch we flew. We didn’t have an exact address, but it was off the Hillcrest exit on Deer Valley Road, wherever that was. We made it out in about 30 minutes, easy. The area is all pretty new-like, you know? Malls and more malls with a few Mega-Lo Marts or nine. It was easy to spot, up there on the left, Applewood BBQ. Hmmmm.
As we pulled in, we noticed it was quite a large place. Much larger than any “BBQ Joint” I’ve seen.
As we walked in, it was a restaurant and no where near a joint. It looks dead-on like a chain restaurant, but they swear they’re the only one. That’s fine.
Since they’ve only been open a week, there’s is NO way anyone should publish a review. But since I’m irresponsible, I’m going to publish this adventure. Take it with a grain of salt. Of course I’ll put in my two cents, but it’ll be a kinder, gentler 2 cents.
They have wagon wheels on the walls, traditional country & western on the music and a really nice outside eating area. It’s clean, well put together and plenty of staff. There’s booths along the walls and tables elsewhere. We were seated promptly and given our menus. CB inquired about a tasty cool beverage, but they don’t have their liquor license yet. Ah well, we can live 45 minutes without a cold, refreshing, lovely, pure, glistening beer. The menu don’t read like a BBQ Joint. You can’t order 2 way combos or a rib sandwich (smaller portion than dinner). They have a full rack of pork ribs you can get or a half rack and it comes with sides. There’s a sliced meat dinner, brisket or whatever they have available. They do have other goodies though, burgers and what really struck my eye was the Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy. It was so tasty sounding that I mentioned it to CB. The youngin’ slingin’ rags on tables heard me and said a lot of people order that. Our water (with lemon wedges) and CB’s soda came promptly and our order was taken even quicker. The place had a few people in there, all the booths were taken and a family took a table. Within a reasonable amount of time our food showed up.
Here’s CB’s half rack rib dinner plate:
Here’s my sliced brisket dinner plate:
My two initial thoughts were, “That’s not enough,” And, “How come the meat is so black?”
After a few mouthsful both CB and I came to the conclusion that the flavor was ‘decent’. The black portion of hte food didn’t translate in to the final product. I don’t think they have the sides down yet and you most certainly don’t serve food in a condiment ramekin. There was only 2 spoonfuls of corn and beans in there! It was actually kinda funny as it flew on to my lap and about the table. There wasn’t enough room to use a spoon in the ramekin, tee hee. CB ordered a side of onion rings, that really hit the spot. They were quite airy and crunchy and I just adore onion rings.
Alright Applewood BBQ owner, as you know you’ve got some work cut out for you. You’ve successfully made it through getting the doors open and hiring competent staff. That’s more than I could ever do, for sure. Let the staff do what they do best and get your rear in the kitchen. No more food from cans, that needs to end. It’s not tough to make your own “cajun corn” and simmering a pot of cowboy beans couldn’t possibly be any easier. Call your gramma right now and ask for her potato salad recipe, make that. Make it fresh every day. While you’re at it, ask her about cornbread, see if you can get that recipe too. The rub for the meat seems to be just fine, says I. Watch over each batch of smoked meat like a hawk. BBQ isn’t something you can just install in a shiny metal box and expect it to be perfect each time. Cooking times are going to vary from season to season and you need to be there fussing. Take samples of your meat throughout the day, always. On the weekends hire local bands to play outside on that awesome deck. Get a portable grill for the same deck and do chicken, burger and tritip Sundays. You’ve got an amazing corner up there on that little hill. Easy to see from all sides. It’s a great location right off the freeway and dammit, Antioch deserves the best. Do you have ANY idea what kind of business you could turn if you went fresh and babied the meat each and every day? How proud would you feel if someone came in and said to you, “Hey, I heard about how great your barbecue is from a few friends. So, I drove 50 miles to see for myself.” At that point all your hard work would be worth it, right there.
Meathenge is pulling for you.
3431 Deer Valley Road
Hours vary right now, call ahead.
Redmond Lockers & Custom Meats Inc
353 SE Railroad Blvd
A & B Meat Market
61223 South Highway 97
Bend, OR 97702
Happy Birthday to My Meat Angel!
I will try to remember that food doesn’t go in ramekins and that BBQ is not easy.
This restaurant is lucky to have you, dare I say. Can’t wait to see what you pull off in a few weekends…
Mmm, that’s some tasty sounding bacon. Please be sure to post a follow up report on Applewood in a few months.
Oh you bet. So far how I’ve done it is go back 3 times no matter what. This usually takes place over a year or so and I’ll hit them up in maybe 3 to 5 months. Seem fair?
And next time I’m ordering the chicken fried steak dinner!
Oh, I would so try the chicken fried steak. Heck, I’m deliriously happy with biscuits ‘n’ sausage gravy. (They got that?)
Well Biggs old man, CB’s work mate is a wise bird indeed. Very tough choice on the bacon. Living in Sisters which is almost exactly equidistance from both A&B, and Redmond meats (about 20 miles), I am a frequent connoisseur of both. I personally like A&B for their Kal Bi short ribs, and their other homemade Hawaiian fare.(I lived in Hawaii for about a year.) Their sausages are also quite good. Redmond Meats has a shoulder bacon that I particularly enjoy; as does my family. Redmond also has great shanks of different varieties, and some very high quality prosciuto. I’m not sure of the brand, but it could have come straight out of Molinari’s on Columbus. Both A&B and Redmond are real Mom and Pop operations with friendly and knowledgeable Moms and Pops. If you or your friends ever want to save yourselves a trip to sunny Central Oregon, email me and I would be happy to do a little shopping for you. I just find it so funny that one of the only two food blogs that I read consistantly is discussing local meat markets. Hell, I was born in Bend! Happy Hunting. B.C.
You don’t EEven know what you’ve just done. I suppose you should really start looking in to doing this for a business because this is where that is going.
Thank you so much for stopping by!
And as I reread your email, it was Chilebrown that started this whole thing of driving to Oregon for bacon.
My sister and her husband have made the trip from here along with many others. It’s Chilebrown we have to thank!
Have you considered the Bacon of the Month club? I know I have.
If I thought I could do so, and still maintain my girlish figure(rotund), I would seriously consider the Bacon of the Day club. B.C.
There was a peacock on the front porch looking for bacon. That is my story and I am sticking to it. A&B ROCKS! Chilebrown
Happy Birthday, My Meat Angel. Looking forward to another year of seared, grilled, broiled, smoked, seasoned, salted, smothered, sliced, aged, braised, seared, photo’d, eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner and all the meals in between
year of Mr. Doctor Biggles!
I’ve considered it, but that’s a little organized for me. I figure as soon as I’m on a shedule, my psyche will rebel and that’ll be IT.
Well, ya know. We were cooking bacon and it was then, and only then, the peacock showed up. Personally I think you’re correct. However, until we’re wearing lab coats, it won’t count.
? So, next time, it’s lab coats mang.
Hey there Downtown Chilebrown: You are correct sir, A&B does indeed rock. If you ever get up this way again, go in and ask Al (the owner)to show you the hydraulic sausage extruding machine that he and a local machine shop owner designed. This guy is serious about his meat. Let me know if you need some more bacon. I’d probably ask you to pay for the shipping and dry ice, or whatever it takes. Other than that, I’d be more than happy to help a fellow bacon lover in need. I can always use another excuse to go into town, and I drive by the post office almost daily. What I need to do is order some meat or something from one of those fancy schmancy online places so that I can get a good quality, shipable(sp?), styrofoam
coolers and box. Happy Bacon…B.C.
I don’t care what anyone else says, I’m glad you lived this long.
Happy B day to you sir!
can we please get back to some recipes and cooking adventures with pictures? it seems like every time I come here I’m getting Fatted Calf stuff. Great. Wonderful. Can you just please cook? I’ve read all your recipe archives, and you never add to them anymore.
Sigh. Another food blogger who has forgotten why he/she got notoriety in the first place.
Point taken. However, I got notoriety because of me, not because of recipes. If you look through my archives it’s very few and inbetween that I laid down a recipe. I’ll do more guidelines than anything else. I don’t care much for recipes.
I agree with you on the Fatted Calf newsletters, they come once a week and lately I’ve only been doing a few postings a week. Fatted Calf is part of my life though, I see them each and every week throughout the year, there’s something of theirs always in the fridge and am always looking for something new that Taylor has done. And more importantly I’m using the opportunity to write about their newsletter as a writing exercise. Cause brother, I can use all the help I can get.
Something else to consider here is that Meathenge has been up for way over 3 years now, that’s quite a bit for a dumb blog, let alone a web site. I’m not the same person I was 3 years ago and neither is my life. Within this time I mortgaged the house so my wife could stay home and home school our two boys. While one might think the traditional way would be far easier and loosen up time for a person? Not even remotely. Not only am I working full time, I have a home and family to maintain on an hourly basis. After that? Meathenge. So, considering all this I’m actually surprised it’s even up and running at all.
Something else to consider, Meathenge is not only what you see on a daily basis, but there’s things happening on posts I did years ago. I get email from people on a regular basis about Adjusting Flame Height on Gas Ranges, La Caja China Roasting Box, New Scandinavian Cooking and others. Meathenge is alive and well and I couldn’t possibly be any busier.
Oh and something I’d like to share with everyone because I don’t believe it myself. You know that post I did a few weeks ago about Janis Joplin and her new musical? Well, it’s received well over 8000 hits in August alone. This is more than meathenge.com. I think it’s funny. Maybe I should stop cooking and review musicals? Prolly not eh. And I will not be quiting my day job.
Hey Biggles, if you come all the way out to Antioch again you should really stop in at Kinder’s Custom Meats. Damn good BBQ tri tip, and the pepper bacon? To DIE for. Get yerself a fat hamburger with the pepper bacon and smoky cheddar, all slathered in Kinder’s BBQ sauce. That right there is some heavenly grub.
I totally agree and I feel kinda silly I haven’t been yet. It’s on my List and I expect somewhat soon. I’m still overwhelmed by my score at Morants, I bought too much. Oh well.
Applewood BBQ is no more. They closed about a month ago and some other unlucky sap is trying to run a new restaurant there. I happen to agree with Anthony Bourdain that some locations are just cursed, and no restaurant no matter how good the food and service will survive there.