Meathenge Salad

Not sure what came over me, but I made a salad. Not even bacon in this sucker, no ma’am. This right here is a bowl completely filled with perfectly diced green things, red things, shaved an orange root action with some carefully rinsed garbonzos. Severe craziness, I faced my fears, I own these vegetables souls.
For the last 2 Sundays I’ve hosted dinner parties for one reason or another. Tiny E’s birthday was by far the best of the two versus Easter. What this typically means is I supply, cook and serve the meat. If you’re interested in anything else? It’s up to you to bring it. Oh sure, I have napkins and utensils. But it’s up to you to bring the beverages, dinner rolls, appetizers, BBQ beans, salads, whatever else you’d normally expect to already be there. I’m all about the meat.
Today, Mother’s Day, was being hosted by my dear sister and her husband Meathead. All well and good, but last week I got an email stating they were going to supply, cook and serve the meat. What the hell am I supposed to bring then?
I had to meditate on this salad stuff. What did it mean to me? Should I get a recipe for “salad”? That seemed kinda silly. Sure, I could have made it more difficult than it needed to be, but I’m not wired that way. Keep the salad simple, baby steps here pally boy.
This morning found Biggles in the vegetable section, mildly freaking out. I’d been able to keep myself in check during the week, but it was go time. Sure I’d purchased veggies for garnish, adding to soups & stews, pot roast and crock-pot meals. But this was different. This salad thing had to be good on its own, it needed to be edible.
I quickly pulled myself together and started with greens, then moved along quietly. And by quietly I mean, complete and utter stealth mode. I have a reputation to uphold here! I can’t be seen buying such things without a large hunk of meat to simmer along with.
I did it, pulled it together and came out on top. I made a salad and it was good.
And speaking of good, as I turned around with my salad knife in hand, caught my sister with a burger slurpee. MMmmmMMmm, burger slurpee.
xo, Biggles

Forgetful Entry #19 – A / wtf?

And, Dang. I know it’s been a while, but dang. A few moments ago was cleaning out the folders on my desktop and ran across a few pictures I’d taken a few months ago for a post. Yet another meal that lingered, then fell by the wayside. It took me nearly 5 minutes to sit with the pictures and the name of the jpg before I could remember anything about the meal. Shake those cobby webs Biggles!
Chilebrown of Mad Meat Genius gifted me a bottle of Kansas City Cowtown BBQ Sauce, and apparently I smoked a chicken, then glazed the sucker with the sauce. See?
Um, I don’t think ol’ CB knew what he gave away. Or maybe he did realize the gift he gave me and I apologize for it taking me 2 months to post about it. But this BBQ sauce is hands down, among some of the best bottled BBQ sauces I’ve ever had. Heck, it’s a better BBQ sauce when compared to some of the ones I’ve made or been served over the years. The damned stuff is really good, tangy with a finish of sweet, smoky goodness and thick enough to stay put. Sure there are the purists and the elitists who won’t do sauce, but sometimes sauce is good. Sometimes I like having sauce with my smoked goodies and if and when I decide it’s time for sauce, dangit, I’m going to have some sauce! Even makes an impression 2 months later.
Hmmm, or maybe it could very well be that I only had a bowl of cereal for dinner and I’m hungry. Either way, if you see this sauce on a shelf or online somewheres, it’s Meathenge Approved. Hungry or no, it’s a solid contender.
xo, Biggles

Wooden cutting board and food bowl restoration – Biggles Method

For many years Jlee and I have been sharing a beautiful, dark in color, hand-made, and quite large cutting board. It was made by a friend of hers who makes musical instruments out of fancy kiln dried, then seasoned wood. It’s kinda cool when you’re slicing and chopping on it because the wood resonates a lot like some kind of wood instrument, it sings to you. We both love it dearly, I get it for a few years, she gets it for a few years, see how it works? Well, we’re both avid cooks and actually USE our equipment and after a couple years of hammering on a wooden cutting board, it gets pretty gooky, stained and downright, well, kinda ganky.
If these had been plastic, it would have been off to the recycling bin for the both of them. But no, they’re made out of wood and can be brought back to life. And brother, or sister, this method is going to give you the shakes it’s so easy.
My standard way of handling wooden cutting boards and similar wooden bowls for food was to, wash with soap and warm water to get most of the gunk off. Dry well. Start with 120 sanding paper on a vibrating finishing sander or by hand. Then move on to 220 to get a nice smooth finish. Dry thoroughly, then rub liberally with food grade mineral oil. Done and good for quite some time. But that makes me have to find tools, time and inspiration.
That’s hard and I don’t feel like doing all that. But I do enjoy taking care of my stuff and if you continue on, you’ll find a method I tried a few months ago on a wooden bowl that was being tossed out by a friend. It was scratched, stained and stained badly from something sitting at the bottom for too long.
A few weeks ago I was gifted back the large, most awesome cutting board of all time, how exciting!
True to our ways, she’d been a busy woman using it to steady her home coffee roaster (I just sold the roaster on ebay) and many other tasks. It needed cleaning and restoration. Egarly I thought back to the bowl I had easily brought back to life with nearly no effort and thought the cutting board would do just fine going through the same process.
Take a look, click on the image for a little larger one. Sure, they’re not new, they still have some patina from over the years, they’re totally clean and ready for another coupla years of heavy use. What do you think? Wouldn’t they be grand in your kitchen or on your dining room table?
Would you like to know the scoop?
Wash them for a few minutes under warm, sudsy water to loosen up the gank, scrub lightly with a stiff brush. Just enough to get them wet and a little cleaner.
Set them in your sink and squeeze enough liquid automatic dishwasher detergent to cover well, rubber gloves on, and rub over entire surface to be cleaned. Let them sit for no more than ten minutes.
Rinse well, very well, all over you will rinse. Pat dry and allow them to sit for a day and truly dry as best they can. They’ll look horrible, just as the first image shows, that’s nasty!
Rub liberally with food grade mineral oil, use paper towel to wipe off any excess, and that right there, is that. Look at those two pieces, that’s exactly how they are supposed to be. Well used, well taken care of and ready for action at any given moment.
So, for just a little more effort than washing your dishes, your wooden cutting board and/or wooden bowl is ready for use! Don’t you agree?
xo, Biggles
ps – I realize there’s probably millions of people who’ve done just the same thing and there are surely books that go over the same. But I haven’t read any of those books, nor have I ever talked to anyone with the same idea. For today, I’m pleased with myself.

Happy Turkey Day Everbody !!!

Happy Turkey day every one and all! Meathenge Labs is still here, been doing a lot of work to the outdoor kitchen area. Tore down the existing thatched roof and put in a real bamboo roof, 3 separate outdoor power outlets, lights, gardening, refinishing wooden-top work areas and related. Even had a new back door put in. It’s all had tendencies towards goodness.
All things considered, and I do mean all, am doing well. The sheer volume of tasks I need to complete on a daily basis puts me up before the sun and am spooning out delicious meals from the crockpot for the most part, by about 8pm or so. I even had to start organizing personal paperwork and had to purchase an accordion looking item to keep them all in order. After 46 years, this is a first for me. For crissakes I don’t even wear a watch, nor do I keep a check register!
If you’re interested to see some of the pictures and business I’ve been up to, I do tend to use flickr more often now that I have myself a fancy smartphone handy. So, if’n it matters, step on over to Meathenge’s Flickr Account and have a snoozing gander.
xo, Biggles

Crock Pot Pork Shoulder mish mash

I was sitting and watching tv an hour ago and had the idea of you’re looking at. Greens, shitake, onions, garlic, carrots, fresh rosemary, thyme, salt-free beef broth, little red taters, set to high all day.
Remember, crock pots take more work than one might think. Just tossing in ingredients and not browning the meat is a logical fallacy (thanks Cookie!). Don’t add much moisture, I just added 1/2 cup of beef broth and it will probably be too much, I can reduce it later. Also, season well, that’s what crock pots like. Now get to smell this sucker cooking on high all day!
xo, Biggles
But wait, there’s more.
Umph. I’m full.
4.5 hours on high, 1.5 hours on low. Meat was 210 to 220 when pulled. Neither the meat, carrots, onions, or mushrooms were fall aparty. You could remove everything with tongs, just like that. Juicy, tender, fell apart in your mouth to ever last part. Even the meat had some tasty bark to it. As expected the sauce was a tad bland, good by any standards but I wanted perfection. So I separated all the bits from the juice and reduced by 1/3. Used it as gravy over the food and taters.
I’m full now.

Rogue Wordless Wednesday !!!

Wordless Wednesday, yer doin’ it wrong. Not only am I not on “The List”, am using words.
Still here, still kicking, should have stopped by and let ya’ll know I was “On Holiday”. This means I’m a lazy ass and haven’t been cooking much. The boys and I have spent most of our summer in front a computer screen, or plinking cans with a BB gun of some ilk. We’re doing okay, school starts next week. We can hardly wait.
Happy Wordless Wednesday!
xo, Biggles
ps – Thems is slow, hickory grilled chicken breasts. Slow cause they gots no skin and no bacon. Gotta take it slow, they were so darned juicy!

Sumo Grub – Berkeley California

Last week Chilebrown of Madmeat Genius offered up a new place in Berkeley for some tempura fare, he mentioned Tempura Cheese Pizza. Yup, it’s like that.
He and Ms. Goofy (his wife) stopped by at noon on Saturday to haul my lazy ass out of the house and on a food adventure. I figured downtown Berkeley, noon, on a Saturday would be something of a snarl for traffic & parking. Traffic caused us to hit the back streets, but parking was right around the corner. We entered!
Sumo Grub is nice, clean, cute and had a handful of tables for in-house dining. The menu to the left was done on a chalk board, it was laid out well, very legible. Under burgers they have their 1/4 lb Angus beef and something called, “Vegan Meat”, I thought that was very cool. The woman running the front was exceptionally kind, helpful and cheery. The best part though? Is that they have a backyard for outside seating! It was awesome! Loved it.
The prices are exceptionally affordable, probably due to the location directly across the street from Berkeley High. So, ordering a bunch of goodies is of no concern for those of us that haven’t attended such a school for 30+ years. I ordered a cheese burger with onion rings, tempura mac & cheese and bottled water.
I really liked the onion rings, but the burger fell short. The poor beef patty was cooked beyond its life expectancy. But after meeting the owner and chef, I’m sure he’s working out the kinks and won’t hold that against him. I was the one that ordered a burger in an Asianny restaurant. Other than that, the bun was absolutely stellar along with the lettuce, and the green fleckled sauce stuff.
Here’s a shot of Chilebrown’s Chicken, Apple Sausage Tempura.
Here’s the Tempura Mac & Cheese. I’m a hard core mac and cheese guy, if it ain’t a home made southern mac & cheese, I’m not interested. I should be reviewing on its own merit, but I can’t.
When we were nearly done with our lunch, Chilebrown got up and ordered us a Tempura Heart Attack for dessert, it serves 3? This would be Tempura Oreos, Twinkies and ice cream.
I really liked the Oreos and the ice cream, the Twinkies were good. The owner really knows how to Tempura anything. This was the piece of resistance, what really tied it all together. The bread crumbs varied from item to item.
To sum it all up, Sumo Grub really shines in a few areas and I will go back to try some more dishes that compliment his skills.
Sumo Grub
2235 Milvia Street, at Kittridge
Open Monday through Saturday from 11am until “The freaks come out”
Closed on Sunday
xo, Biggles

What’s on your grill or smoker right now?

The membrane has been removed, entire rack rubbed with kosher salt, marinating. Cooker is nearly ready, great smells. What you gots?
xo, Biggles
Editor’s Update (next morning):
Fired up the new cooker last night and smoked these babies! Removed membrane, rubbed with Kosher salt, smoked with hickory. Juicy! Click on the picture if you so choose.

Way Out West BBQ Championship in Stockton California

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Woo hoo !!! This coming Saturday is another semi-local BBQ Championship coming up where me, Chilebrown and his wife get to spend the late morning and early afternoon judging que. It’s a Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned event and we’re KCBS sanctioned BBQ judges.
Everyone needs to come out and spend the day, it’s never a day for just watching people cook. There’s tons of other vendors and events wrapped around the cooking. It’s a family situation always and enjoyed by small, tall, short, fat or skinny. Come out and spend the day at the Way Out West BBQ Championship in Stockton California.
You heard it here first at Meathenge, we’ll be there judging and enjoying.
xo, Biggles

Just for fun, on a Thursday evening, smoked pork ribs.

Biggles having some fun today, is all.
Blind Melon – No Rain
Ooooo-oo-oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo-oo
All I can say is that my life is pretty plain
I like watching the puddles gather rain
And all I can do is just pour some tea for two
And speak my point of view
But it’s not sane, it’s not sane
I just want someone to say to me no, oh, oh, oh
I’ll always be there when you wake, yea-ah
You know I’d like to keep my cheeks dry today
So stay with me and I’ll have it made
And I don’t understand why I sleep all day
And I start to complain that there’s no rain
And all I can do is read a book to stay awake
And it rips my life away, but it’s a great escape
All I can say is that my life is pretty plain
You don’t like my point of view
You think that I’m insane
It’s not sane, It’s not sane
I just want someone to say to me no, oh, oh, oh
I’ll always be there when you wake, yea-ah
You know I’d like to keep my cheeks dry today
So stay with me and I’ll have it made
And I’ll have it made
And I’ll have it made, oh
Lord no no
You know I’m really gonna, really gonna have it made
You know I’ll have it made
Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh, ahhh
What fun! Love you all, Biggles signing off.

Pissy Wednesday – One is a flavor, one is a bear.

The English language and I have been at war since the beginning, it’s a love & hate thing. I’m one of those word snobs (I didn’t say I was good at it) and really try my best to make sure I use the correct their, they’re & there. See my point? I would never say the whether is turning cold early this year or I’m knot going! On the other hand, I don’t like rules. So, the outcome can sometimes turn in to a mess. A fun mess, but a mess all the same.
Well, I’ve had enough! There’s a great, huge and quite large faux pas going on right under our noses and it’s making me crazy. The poopetrators do it every day. This would be misspelling one, specific, little word. One version is a flavor and one is a bear.
Can anyone guess what this little word might be? I’ll count to ten, 1 2 3 4 6 … .Uh listen folks, the word is smoky. Smoky flavors !!! The word Smokey is either Smokey Bear or a slang term for a police officer. You don’t get smokey flavors from your smoker !!! GAHHHHHHHHHHH. (Picture Biggles swatting the air and stamping his boots).
Pissy Man has left the building.
ps – I smoked an 11 pound turkey last night in the new outdoor cooker I’m about to review.
xo, Biggles

Meathenge Lab’s Moldy Update

Yeah !!! Some of you may remember late last year I was going through some real hell with moisture problems here at the lab, mostly my bedroom. In 1 month I ended up having to gut and scrub my bedroom for mold twice, moisture content out of this world.
This has been an ongoing problem for years, but it has been getting progressively worse. I didn’t have the money or the skills to install a French Drain. I made do with dehumidifiers in several rooms of the house with a mobile hygrometer to see how things progressed day and night. Even with the balmy weather and dry winds, I’d have to start the dehumidifier in my bedroom at 3am and shut it down at 6am. In 2 to 3 days, I would collect 1/2 gallon of water. Just so you know, that’s a lot. Heavy moisture in, around and under a home is not a good thing, it’s bad. Real bad. It’ll destroy a foundation before you can raise a child.
After months and months of saving, I finally got enough pennies to have a French Drain installed along with a sump pump. I live on the flat lands and gravity flow is of no help here. Today the most awesome group of guys started digging. I found Manuel’s company on google a year ago locally for Richmond California and he’s turned out to be the most responsible, skilled and able guy I’ve met in a long time. The trench is not only dug perfectly & properly, but it’s smoothed out as though they were Aztec Gods.
As with previous jobs, I have no doubt that within a few days that Meathenge Labs will be moisture free for years to come. I can finally decorate my bedroom and install clutter as I see fit without worry of moisture that transforms to mold. Ain’t it great? Now I can spend more time sleeping, napping and cooking.
Jaripeo Landscape
Manuel Jasso, owner
New lawns, Fences, Trees, Concrete, Drain Systems, Hauling, Retaining Walls, Stump removal, Sprinkler Systems, probably more.
License #876389, References available
510 620 0998 Office
xo, Biggles