Alright picture this, it’s Saturday and it’s nice outside. No place to be, no responsibilities. Perfect for watching TV and taking naps, agreed? Agreed. Later in the afternoon I had a few cool, refreshing beverages and fell asleep watching a movie on my computer, in my bedroom.
A while later I heard someone at the front door knocking, gave it no mind and went back to sleep. Not only did I not care, was too snuggly and happy, didn’t want anyone ruining my trip.
Cut to Sunday morning to find 3 pounds of Tilapia fish, fat ones too, in my fridge. Along with a good sized bottle of good hot sauce on the dishwasher. I may have had a few drinks, but in no damned way did I go shopping for fish and hot sauce!
Nope, Creepy E had gone shopping, he mentioned something about getting me some on his next trip. But I never expected him to come in through the unlocked front door and install the goodies in my fridge while I was napping! But that’s exactly what he did, thank you! Score.
My copy hasn’t arrived yet, so this isn’t a review. This post is to let you know that Meathenge is in it!
And brother, or sister, it isn’t just a mention, we got an entire chapter! Blown away? I sure as gosh am. 3 years ago Tara contacted me asking for help. She’d always been a vegetarian and her doctor thought some meat might help with her ills. She contacted me, we exchanged a few emails about what she was looking for and what I thought I could provide. Tara mentioned that she was in the beginnings of writing a book and wanted to know if she could interview me while we cooked together. I’m a Leo, it’s all about me and if someone wants an interview? Count me in baby!
I’d been wanting to start up a grilling class, I thought it a perfect time to test my mettle. We set a day and a time, I gave her a few assignments to accomplish before she showed. One of which to spend some time at the butcher, discussing what she wanted to cook and to use his or her knowledge to bring it together. The day came and here’s my account of our afternoon together, A vegetarian reaches out and a grilling class is born. Here is her account of the same day, A visit to the Meathenge.
At least for me, a sleepy 3 years passed. Tara of course had run the gambit of emotions that nearly tore her psyche to shreds. A few weeks ago Shuna and I were exchanging some long needed emails and she mentioned that Tara’s book was out. I ran over there at break-neck speed, sure enough. She did it, she really did it. On that day I figured I got a mention or two, we hadn’t conversed since the class 3 years ago, I had no idea. It wasn’t until I went back the next day and read more on her posting revealing the debut, It’s a book!
Holy crap! Chapter 12: A Visit to the Meathenge. There it was, an entire chapter and check out the other chapters, am in pretty impressive company. I was on cloud 9 for more than a few days, euphoria to say the least. I had no idea. Wow.
As I arrived home each day, planning this post, I was met with more moisture and more mold in my home. It hasn’t been until today I’ve been able to pull myself up enough to string this all together in a somewhat coherent manner.
Here’s her press release for the book with a few more links. If you check out the recipes link, in there you’ll find my grilled bacon “recipe” that I wrote specifically for the release. You’ll also notice that’s my picture there of a bacon rosette! The Butcher and the Vegetarian press release. Since this book is really a big deal, it’s widely available both locally and online. Go now! Go get your copy and support Tara and her endeavors. I wish her nothing but huge amounts of health, money & fame.
Was pretty much cooking for myself last night, Tiny E’s consumption of food really doesn’t amount to what most of us call a meal. I had time, I had pork chops and if I ruined them it wouldn’t ruin anyone’s evening. I wondered what it’d be like to put the center cut chops in to the oven at 250 degrees until they reach 190 degrees (pully aparty).
I used a glass casserole dish with a chrome rack installed, this would keep the meat up and out with the heat able to get all around. Marinated with kosher salt, preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2 hours later, at 190 degrees internal temperature I had a real piece of shit for dinner. The loin portion of the chop didn’t have enough fat to keep it moist. While I had no temperature spikes, the fat was gone! And, considering the method used, there was no browning, no flavors. It was dry, flat tasting pork that just didn’t deliver.
“But Biggles! I see browning !!!” says you. Heh, just because I ruined dinner doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun. I grabbed the propane torch and browned it myself!
It looks a heck of a lot better than it was. Don’t do it.
I received this meat for free, I did not pay for it. I was asked kindly if I wanted some free meat to review on Meathenge. I contemplated this on The Tree of Woe until the answer came to me, “Free meat? Shit yeah!”
These two meats kinda surprised me, first I wasn’t expecting beef bacon and when I see the word tri-tip I think roast. I held these two little guys and giggled, “This ain’t no tri-tip.” And brother, or sister, I know tri-tip, I’m from California. It’s supposed to have 3 tips to the roast and these were little meat logs. Next, I kinda stared at the beef bacon, a little disdain coming forth. You see, both myself and Chilebrown of Mad Meat Genius are bacon snobs. He and I have been through quite a bit of bacon that was not made from a pork product and it’s rarely above mediocre. This isn’t because it was bad or whatever, but it’s tough to beat grilled pork belly bacon. We’ll have to see.
This last week we were lucky enough to have not only a dry week (rain, not booze), but the days got up to the high 60 degree mark. What with the mold problem in our tiny home, I spent each evening grill-side cooking dinner. Even if it was dark and had to cook by flashlight, it was a necessary therapy.
If’n yer interested, click on through to the other side and let’s see how all this came out, eh?
You’re correct! “The Swamp” is the answer and the name of their tent where they spent a few seasons before Winchester showed up. In any case, they lived in a tent named The Swamp and I live IN a swamp.
I’m still dealing with high-moisture content in my home and a pretty nasty mold situation. I’ve got about 90% of it taken care of. I removed the last remaining carpet in the house, it was in the boy’s room. 10 years of little boy use and it was more than time. It wasn’t good and spent more than a week scrubbing furniture and applying an anti-mold growth formula my boss came up with. I bought another dehumidifier (this makes 2 now) and a hygrometer to give me an idea as to what room needs dire attention at what time. It’s been a nightmare to say the least and Tiny E is still suffering.
My only solace has been permitting weather to allow me to grill dinner every night for the last 3 days. The smell of the wood, the hickory, to enjoy the flavors of simple, grilled food. It’s all I have at the moment and I simply do not have any time or inspiration for Meathenge at the moment. Know what I mean, Vern? Yeah, it’s like that.
Hoist a cool one for us, fry some bacon with love. We’ll be back in and online here pretty soon.
I dug deep for this one, looked, looked and then searched. I came up with nothing, then searched again. I came home and found it!
It might not come off so quickly as Martian Food, but at third glance seemed to have a lot to do with Penises and Turds. Ick.
Here is my submission, however so late as it might be, Penises and Turds.
I’d send you a direct link to the post, but this is the best I can do for Zoomie of Zoomie’s Station’s Martian Food Contest posted on Feburary 2nd.
2 days ago (the clock is ticking!) Zoomie of Zoomie’s Station announced a contest. If you go take a look, she cooked something, snapped a shot and it looked absolutely unrecognizable. It looks horrific even! If you take pictures of your food, you’ve most certainly come across at least a handful of shots like this. Sometimes, it’s after you’ve posted it or handed it to friends and received some really odd, quizzical looks. She’s offering up a photo contest of your own and the best out of millions will receive a prize! Go see, it was posted February 2nd, just follow the link above. And most of all, have fun.
I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to post this or not, but since the images came out and I did a few things differently this time I thought I would offer it up.
I’ve been wanting to do a whole chicken in the crock-pot since I did the pork, yesterday was the day. I called it Eyeball Chicken because I opened the fridge and looked for, then grabbed stuff. No measuring, used my eyeball for portion control. I did use a lot of the ingredients and portions from my Crock-pot pork shoulder taco heaven – Or, I did it, I did it, I did it !!!
As previously stated, ya can’t just dump stuff in to the pot and walk away, you must do some extra things to bring everything up. Meaning, after cooking for 3 or 4 hours, the chicken was not brown or appealing to say the least. I jacked my oven up to 550, installed the bird to a cookie sheet with a cooling rack, popped it in the oven for 15 minutes, worked like a charm.
Before you prep anything, put your cup of broth or beer in the pot and jack the heat, high or low.
Whole chicken – washed dried and trussed – rub with favorite rub – s&p, granulated onion, dried parsely and ground celery seed, whatever.
liquid – 1 cuppa – add to pot, turn on
carrots – peeled & sliced
celery – peeled a bit and sliced
onion – mine was big so didn’t add it all
mushrooms – sliced a few times – way less than bite size
garlic – as much as you want, smooshed then sliced once
tomatillos – brown in broiler
I realize my choice of ingredients here pretty basic, except maybe for the tomatillos. Am still attempting to get my process down, then I can move on. Ya dork.
Install veggies to warming pot, lay trussed and rubbed chicky over the top. Install lid and walk away until everything is done, mine was on high for nearly 3.5 to 4 hours.
Sigh, looks like your typical crock-pot meal, the chicken was really pale and the broth was thin. What to do?
The chicken needed color, decided not to use the propane torch, figured I’d burn the rub. So, I jacked my oven’s temp to 550, rack in the middle. I needed it hot and fast as the chicken was already done, had to get the heat everywhere at once. Used a cookie sheet with a steel cooking rack, installed chicken to oven for 15 minutes.
Separate the veggies from the broth, reduce broth by 1/2, added a little salt. I could have used a thickener to bring it to a gravy, but there were quite a bit of veggies left, quite a bit. Dumped half the veggie supply in to the broth and used the motorboat to whiz everything to the consistency you see in the spoon above. While it did have more of a vegetable taste to it, there was plenty of broth and chicken fat to bring it around nicely.
I found with a little bit of work before and after can really offer up some great results. It was just me and Z for dinner, but nearly the entire bird was gone in 30 minutes, it was that good. I know what you’re thinking punk. “Oh Biggles, if I’m going to brown the meat or go to that much trouble at the end, I might as well just use the oven or stove-top.” I get that, I do. But you see, what you’re doing is breaking up all the work so you can go do something else for the rest of the day. And, if you’re late coming back, or forget to come home due to beers, it’s no big deal.
Here’s the post I was talking about yesterday, did this a week ago or more.
Been looking for a simple crock-pot recipe/method, something that didn’t require too much effort. I have learned though, that one really should take the extra few minutes to brown this and/or that, reduce a juice, do a little more than just dump, cook and pray. I did it.
I’m still in the experimentation stage, so headed out to find some stunt meat. Something inexpensive and easy to deal with, a pork butt. My local grocery had some mystery butt in a clingy net, perfect. For all the reasons stated above, and because it was portioned in to an equal log of meat. I could count on the same cooking time from end to end, non-confrontational.
My Crock-pot is a 5 quart rig.
Pork butt – 4 to 5 pounds
BBQ dry rub
Carrots – 4-5 peeled & sliced
Celery – 2-3 stalks peeled & sliced
Onion – 1 whole – mediumish
Garlic – Fresh as much as you like (4-6 cloves depending on size), smooshed – whole
Chicken broth – 1 cup
If you’re actually reading this for a tidbit of juicy goodness for procedure, there is at least one thing in there you might enjoy. See if you can find it.
Either bring the meat to near room temp or not, considering how long this sucker takes to cook it probably doesn’t matter. I didn’t and it came out perfect.
Install broth to crock pot and turn to high or low depending on how fast or slow you want this to go. Clean, prep and slice all your veggies (not the dry rub) and install to pot for the pre-heat process.
Get your cast iron pan hot with some oil in there, maybe 3 swirls around the pan. Pat the roast generously with the BBQ dry rub. Then, roll the sucker with flour. Shake a bit to get any excess off, but make sure the roast is covered in both. Install to pan and brown well, 6 minutes a side?
Install your butt to the crock and put the lid on, yer done.
8 some odd hours later, when your butt is soft and juicy, pull. Remove netting, using two forks shred the sucker, set aside. Strain the bits from the juice using a strainer of some ilk, use a fat strainer and get rid of the liquid fat (there’s enough already even for me) reduce juice by maybe 1/4 to 1/3. Combine everything together in the large stock pot you used to reduce. And here’s the tidbit I mentioned earlier, add more of your BBQ dry rub to the meat & juice slurry.
Here’s the scoop, it doesn’t matter if you’re smoking, grilling or roasting a large hunk of meat, getting your spicy flavors to the internal portions isn’t possible unless you’re injecting. I’ve tried injecting and it’s a pain in the butt, so to speak and doesn’t deliver the flavors I can get by adding a little of the dry rub later on. Try it.
Simmer a little more and you’re done. Do with it what you will.
With little effort, this will work with any cut of meat that lends itself to a long cooking time. Even the boys did a face plant in the meat and devoured it.
I bless this recipe and method,
The Good Reverend Doctor Biggles
Where has Biggles been in over a week? I thought I already mentioned that, Mold Patrol!
Downspouts? I’m doing it wrong. That combined with heavy rains, a clogged fan in the bathroom and 55 gallons of fish water in the dining area, spells moisture. Then? It’s mold. And I ain’t talking about a little bit, I’m talking gut the room and clean everything with bleach. What sucks most is the fact I did this a month ago.
Why haven’t I put in a French Drain system? It’s $3200.00 dollars. Oh Biggles, it’s just a hole lined with junk, just dig it yourself! No. Have you ever seen an episode of The Simpsons? Picture Homer putting in a drainage system, I shouldn’t be doing that on yours or my home. Besides, this includes a sump system that physically pumps the water to the street. I’m in the flatlands, no downhill to head to. On a lighter note, I did find my dehumidifier in the garage and it’s working like a charm. In just one night it pulled over a gallon of water out of the air.
So, if anyone has a French Drain system putter inner that they can donate or a 5 quart enamel Dutch Oven, it’d be much appreciated. This is of course, unless Haiti needs it, then send it to them first. They need all the love and support they can get. I, on the other hand, have food and alcohol available to me. I’ll be fine.
I really can’t take any credit here, the crock-pot did it. Or should I say, didn’t do it. Actually, it is my fault I didn’t follow the recipe. In my defense, I rarely if ever follow any recipe.
As everyone knows I bought a crock-pot a few weeks ago and came up with this, Is it a crock, or not? I’m finding more crock than not. I’m okay with it now, it’s become the Zen of failing or not having much control over what I cook, it feels good. Last week April mentioned something about wanting to have a decent beef stew recipe for her crock-pot, but didn’t want to end up browning the meat first, translucentizing the veggies and whatever else took place outside of the pot. Me being the Meat Buffoon that I can be, decided to break the rules and try making a beef stew by putting everything in the crock-pot without doing anything to it. Just to see what I came up with, basically reinventing the wheel. Sure I could have done the typical “research” on the internets, but couldn’t be bothered.
I did something really silly, this time, for this recipe. I knew the flour would need to be a part of the ingredient list for the subtle thickish sauce that we all crave in any good stew. But I wasn’t going to take the time to brown anything and end up cleaning a 35 pound cast iron fry pan in the process. All I wanted to clean was a knife and a cutting board, that was it. Um, so I dredged the meat in flour, then just plopped the meat in along with everything else. I did do one thing I was pretty impressed with, pre-heated the crock-pot. Add liquid and turn the sucker on, brilliant!
Beef Stew Meat – 2 pounds (make bite sized or not, don’t matter. Looks like you get 50%+ shrinkage anyway).
A.P. Flour – 1/2 cup (makes a nice mess on your fingers and in your kitchen)
Onion – 1 Yellow er White – (I like the white ones)
Carrots – 4 – Peel & Slice
Celery – 3 – Peel a little of the ribbing and slice
Fresh Garlic – All you want (I did 5 big cloves)
Bay Leaves – 1 or 2 (I didn’t have any, so didn’t use them)
Salt – Kosher (add it)
Fresh ground black pepper – Grind it (add it)
Worchestershire Sauce – 1 tsp?
Chicken broth – 3/4 cup
Good hearty red wine – 1/4 cup
Note: Mess with whatever you want, but I suggest keeping the liquid amounts there.
Huh, lookie there. Sounds like a great beef soup recipe, don’t it?
After it was done, put a colander over a large pot and separated the bits from the juice. Used a fat separator thingy on the juice, put to stove and jacked the heat a bit. I reduced it until it tasted … flippen fantastic ! Woot. Reinstalled everything together and let cool, install to fridge for the next day.
Keeripes, that was most excellent. Both Z and I tore in to it like to rabid 3-legged weevils. So, I made beef soup. Duh. The flavors and textures were a lot more complex than one might think after so many hours and so little care, thought, effort. The small amount of wine added quite a bit of action to the final product, don’t leave that out.
I remember way back when, nearly 30 years ago. My mother went through a few crock-pots and recipes, I did my own searching. Mostly I escaped the grasp because I wasn’t able to fuss with my food during the cooking period. You get what you get, no chance for tasting, changing direction and/or redirecting to a final end that tasted as good as you could do in the oven or stove-top.
As with any situation, time changes everything. I need help. No longer do I have hours in the late afternoon and evening to give what I want to eat and serve to my boys. I would really like to have something tasty and somewhat healthy at the end of the day wherein I would really like to only serve or cook rice, er mashed taters. I figured maybe the crock-pot would have another life here at Meathenge Labs.
Earlier today I picked up a large 5 quart rig, it was time. They feel as cheap as they ever were (no longer in the color of an avacado) But with the internet, I figured I could find some guidelines to use the damned thing. Nope! Between the included recipes and what I’ve initially found on the net is quite the contrary.
So far, it’s all about the canned, the packeted and then again, the can. Sure you can use the fresh vegetables and the meat, but if you truly know what you’re doing? The onion soup packet or the mushroom soup is an ingredient. If you’re really a Home Chef, you’ll add the fancy “Brown Gravy” packet.
It’s 2010 and was just only then 2009, so dreamed maybe the cooker would come with decent recipes. The first one I viewed about pork chops and rice included a can of mushrooms. A can of mushrooms?
My brother inlaw Darkleynoone, a skilled cook and crock-pot stud interjected that I needed to lower the moisture addition, it’s tough to do dried herbs in a crock-pot and to maybe cook the starches separately. I totally understood.
But what’s with the large glut of complete crap in regards to the crock-pot and ingredients?
UPDATE 6 hours in the pot:
I work maybe a 6 minute drive from home, decided to come home to see how things were going. As I opened up the front door, the smells were really good. Nothing compared to my traditional pot roast, but still quite good. I probably added too many veggies, but wanted enough to use them to eat and not just a disposable addition. I did add a cup of chicken broth, maybe next time I won’t. If you click on the image, you can get a little larger idea and can see there’s plenty of moisture in there. Dang, those meat additives release a lot of moisture! And considering how little evaporates during cooking, I may end up reducing them later in a sauce pan. Yeah, pull meat and let it rest for a bit. Strain veggies from broth, reduce. So far, so good.
ps – And two hours after that? It’s done.
Update a few hours after that – Dinner was served:
I’m blown away, completely. This was better than good and for a Wednesday evening meal. I totally kicked your ASS. This isn’t to say it didn’t take some effort, it wasn’t something I just threw together and walked away. I’d added too much moisture (1 cup of chicken broffs). At nearly 8.5 to 9 hours I set the cooker to warm for another hour while I drove for 1.5 hours to pick up Z from school. When I got back I separated the meat, and then the veggies from the broth. I reduced the broth until it tasted how I wanted, then added a slurry of cold water and corn starch to give it some consistency.
If you learn the cooker’s ways, positive and negative, and can stay away from canned and packets, this cooker is Meathenge Approved. It may take a few tries, fortunately it only took me 1 try to make a National Class meal. I’m huge and need to go take a nap.
Editor’s Note: Joe Bob of Denver CO, our ace reporter out standing in his field, checks in with this most awesome taco lead.
After commenting on the Ice House in Ozona, TX I had to run down the street to Tacos Tijuana for a end of 2009 Meathenge review.
This joint has been here about forever and has the best tacos in Denver. I grabbed 4 pork units to go and it cost me all of $4.28. They serve all kinds of other great Mex food which I have had but for a quick lunch this can’t be beat. The usual double corn tortilla with pork and required pork lube, grease, flowing everywhere. Topped with onions etc.
I provided the hard cider which has a fancy label but is bottled over in Modesto by E.J. Gallo. Taste more like Gallows though. Yikes. Tijuana is open 7 days a week and often runs an outdoor spit under a pop up tent for quicker taco fixes. Complete with ethnic jukebox. A must stop when in NW Denver.
4406 Sheridan Boulevard, Denver, CO 80212
(303) 477-0121 (West 44th. at Sheridan)
By “review” I mean that I got this bacon for free to see what Meathenge Labs thought of it. Pretty cool, huh? I spent some time reading through U.S. Wellness Meats web site, there’s tons of decent content in there. Wellness was founded by John Wood, a fifth-generation farmer. In the beginning he used traditional ranching methods, but over time took a sideways look at how he was doing things and thought there could be a better/different way. Starting in ’97 he raised a few of his cuties on a 100% forage diet, rotational grazing and making sure they had the best forage action on a daily basis. By 2000 it was in full swing, the tests proved he could make a better product this way.
I read in their FAQ page addressing how come their not certified organic, made me sick to my stomach. They state it better than I do, so I lifted this from their page without permission:
“All U.S. Wellness Meats pastures and animals have been maintained with organic principles in mind since 2000. Unfortunately, the state of Missouri dropped a state-run organic-certification program and turned it over to a private certifier several years ago. The private certifier wanted 3% of the gross income of the preceding year to maintain the license. We politely said no, and felt if Thomas Jefferson were still alive he would concur. Sadly, greed has infiltrated a noble cause. 50% of the Missouri organic producers have let their certification lapse since this situation was created by the Missouri legislature.”
You read that correctly, ranchers have to give up 3% of their income to maintain certification. Sigh.
Anyway, enough of that it’s making me mad. I had to take another look at the bacon to make myself feel better. Listen up, they got good bacon! The meat is substantial and the fat is creamy, very mild & clean odor upon opening up the package. I preheated an old 14″ cast iron fry pan and set to cooking, used a bacon press. It’s nice and thick, so it takes a bit to brown and finish. Once it was patted dry with paper towels, it went in to my mouth. Excellent meaty texture on the teeth, low on the sweet cure, a good clean finish. For my package, I noticed it was quite lacking in smoky flavors, kinda surprised. A while back I had a chance to get two packages of bacon to try, one was smoky, one was not. So, I can’t say whether the lack of smoke flavors is typical or just something that happened. Maybe it wasn’t rotated and/or flipped in the smoker, that could have been it. I just don’t know.
In any case, I’m going to give this pound of bacon 3.85 out of 5. With good smoky flavors, I would have given it a 4.75 out of 5.