For years Meathenge has attracted a very nice collection of human beings. From readers, enthusiasts, families making food products in their basements and not the last of all inventors who bring their product to market on their own. The latest and greatest would be Rolfe of Craycort who sent me a cast iron replacement for the Weber kettle for review.
Well, this time I wasn’t offered free stuff (costs the guy too darned much), but I was so impressed with his creation I wanted to stop by and give you a view in to what’s going on in the world of portable cooking pits, The New Frontier.
Gareth Noble of The Settler’s Kitchen Company stopped by a few weeks ago and asked, “Hey Biggles, what do you think of this?” I grilled him about smoker temps (can it hold it at 200F?), available work surfaces, cooking in decent winds, fuel types, build quality and types of metals used. Gareth knows his business, knows key points of metal designs and execution. And dangit, a very fine fellow indeed.
It’s got a hand-driven spit by jiminy! MmMMM, spit roasted meat. The fire is held in the black portion, more to the left to fire up the smoking chamber. Over this one is able to set fry pans or hang dutch ovens over. You can use pre-burned fireplace sized wood for fuel and the smoking chamber gets hot enough to make bread without a thought. Cook, smoke, grill, bake, rotisserie? Portability? Yup, it’s got it.
Check this out, the black portion of the machine slides underneath the powder-coated smoking chamber, bits and pieces are put in the smoking chamber and the shiny legs are used as handles and you can walk out of camp with it using the rear wheels behind you, pulling it! There’s tons more cool features and would offer you go visit his web site to check out the details. Nice shootin’ there Gareth, good luck.
The Settler’s Kitchen Company
Editor’s note: This is a poorly written, almost no real technical specificity, only meant to springboard you in to your own exploration on the subject. But the impact was so impressive, so huge that I have to say for me it’s as big as the actual implementation of the world wide web.
First off, I’ve been digitizing 35mm prints and negs, since 1994. I still consider myself a middle of the road kinda guy when it comes to the “magic” behind the scenes both in hardware and the inner workings of the internets. I can say that I just stumbled head long in to something that really needs bringing to the forefront for us huddled masses.
Have you ever been sitting at your computer, monkeying around in Photoshop or similar, working on your precious images? Getting them just right? Then uploading to your blog or something like Flickr only to view them online and find they’ve lost their luster? Cute little white babies now have grey skin? The reds don’t have the intensity they did only moments ago? I sure have and figured these online photographic web based communities must be compressing them to some degree and they lose their punch. I mean, I have my ICC monitor profile loaded! Heck, have even used a Spyder to calibrate my monitor in the past.
I was wrong. My brother inlaw, Darkleynoone has been voicing this same concern. While in Photoshop, his images are great, but then when he uploads to Flickr, the intensity is gone. Lighter skin tones turn grey, the immense reds are toned down. I’ve noticed the same thing and gave him my best explanation, “I got no idea. Compression and you lose your color bits?”
I was wrong. It occurred to me this morning that really sounds like a color space issue. I spent some time on google and I was on the right track. Then, I read it. I felt like such an idiot, I’d known it all the time and not realized it. I knew the answer and didn’t apply myself. When you’re editing your images in Photoshop, it’s managing your color space, this would be sRGB if you have it correctly. Your DSLR should be set to sRGB if you have it correctly. But you know what? Your goddam browser is showing you some ilk of RGB. That’s right, different programs show you different color profiles. From your image editing software, operating system viewer to your browser, different color profiles even if you have your ICC profile loaded.
After spending all day discussing this with the two brother inlaws I work with Organtitus says, “Firefox prolly has a plug-in for that.”
They do! I did a search for the Firefox plugin by typing in color management. It wasn’t until I got home that I was able to download it, configure it to my i-mac, and restart firefox and go check out Flickr.
I felt as though I’d been punched in the face, kicked in the groin and tossed to the floor. Just using Firefox on my mac, viewing Flicker, it was just like that. Cracky, KuFlup and a Crunch. The ICC embedded images on Flickr jumped out at me like a 3 legged wolverine on acid and a cup of hot joe.
It’s an entirely new world. I’m here to testify!
Of course this is all pretty much fluff here, but supported by web-based fact on solid ground. You’ll need to search for WEB BROWSER COLOR MANAGEMENT or some such in google and do some work on your end. But I’m telling you, you’re missing 30% + of the web’s intensity by NOT doing this for your browser.
Here’s a link regarding Web Browser Color Management that helped a lot on my travels forward. The approximation is maybe 90% of the world wide web cruising community knows nothing of this and they carry on just fine. But if you have the discerning eye, this is critical. It’s changed my life.
This software and technology was tested on a 2 month old i-mac and a PC running XP sportin’ a Viewsonic P810.
I, um, well, er, um, yeah it’s like that. Kelly Williams the marketing & pr coordinator in Chicago for Big Ass Hotdog sent me a press release a few days ago. I just sent the link to my sister who immediately poo pooed it. I sent her the press release and stated this must go up immediately.
I, um, well, er, um, yeah it’s like that.
7 Lbs +/-
100% veal, beef, pork
50 servings per dog
Made to order every Tuesday
It’s a real hotdog that feeds 50 people and it’s only 30 bux! Don’t believe me? Click through to read the press release!
Editor’s Note: Ya know, nobody has ever accused me of being current. Here we find JLee, on her birthday (over a month ago), at the Grub Shack in West Texas. Joe Bob is doing all the fancy shootin’ with his electronical camera rig. Check it out, it’s a trailer with an awning out in the middle of fricken nowheres! JLee says:
I had been reading about this place on a blog, The Field Lab and then I saw Betty Doyle on youtube and knew we’d have to come here. A tiny place out in the middle of 360 degree desert eye candy, serving up hearty, filling food. This was by far the best breakfast of the trip. Egg, sausage & bacon on Texas toast, mmmmm. A couple of the ‘regulars’ were having biscuits and gravy, cracking on each other and life in general. Not a hipster or laptop in sight, aaaah.
The Grub Shack
Hwy 118 & Terlingua Ranch Rd
If you’re interested, or not, you really should visit The Field Lab link up there. I’ll bet it’s a lifestyle in a place you ain’t at or livin’ in. Here’s one of my favorite links on The Field Lab, it’s labeled Poop. I find it pretty humbling when I feel so high and mighty about buying locally grown and ranched food, then read about how someone has taken it about 10 steps further to do well by the planet. Cheers!
Annnn, since this picture was taken, Betty has packed up and headed out to take care of some sick relative. The Grub Shack has new people serving up the food action today. I don’t know yet if Betty plans on returning any time soon.
Yeah baby! I cooked something! Even got a few pictures worth posting too. Sure, it’s no Bacon Tamales like Chilebrown of Mad Meat Genius just did. But I was so inspired by Jerry of Cooking by the seat of my Pants recpie for Cottage Pie that I couldn’t resist.
I ran across the post a few weeks ago and thought to myself, I could totally cook that. Brown ground beef with goodies, make mashed taters, assemble, bake in hot oven. Yeah, it took me a few weeks before I would attempt such a feat, but I did it. Now I own its soul.
You already know how good they are and how easy it is to prepare, so I won’t go in to the gory details. It came together in a few minutes and I jacked the oven’s temp over Jerry’s version to 450. Z and I ate the entire pie it was so good, so perfect. I’ve always been a fan of the saying, “Less is More.” But now I’ve proven it yet again to myself, it’s true!
Oh boy, I can still taste it, smell it crisping up in the oven, ungh. Wanna see that again?
I wanted to stop by and let you know all is well here at Meathenge Labs. We’re hosting today’s meal and yes, it will include gravy! I have my little crockpot all set to sit on the table to keep the “sauce” warm. There’s nothing sadder than cold gravy.
Hugs, Kisses and Warm Thoughts to you all,
Lordy, it must have been 3 weeks ago when Chilebrown of Mad Meat Genius gifted me more than a few pounds of No Name Bacon. It wasn’t long after when he posted his review of No Name Bacon. He and Ms. Goofy are a machine, they can get it done. I’m not a machine, I’m lucky to find clean underwear and get my wagon gassed up on a weekly basis.
After going through 2 pounds ourselves here at Meathenge Labs and 1 pound to my sister and husband Meathead, we’re giving the No Name Meat Company more than a few thumbs up.
It’s a good, solid commodity bacon. Good fat to meat ratio, great smoke flavor while cooking, good smoke flavor for eating, a nice semi-low sugar content with an easy finish.
If you see it, and want good bacon, buy it. This bacon is Meathenge Approved.
Urp, sorry. Saul’s Restaurant & Deli has been open since 1986, doesn’t seem too terribly long. But for anyone to has enjoyed the faire, it feels as though it’s been a lifetime. My mother frequented it so often that if anyone she knew would come to eat, the waitresses would send home cookies for her. My sister and her husband Meathead go all the time, I’m sometimes in tow, pried from underneath from my rock.
It’s a little on the large side for a “deli”, but perfect for a restaurant. Saul’s has gone out of their way since the beginning to bring their customers not only an excellent Jewish Deli, but also the best in local, sustainable and organic ingredients. In-house made pastrami? Yup. In-house made pickles? Yup. In-house made tons of other goodies? You bet!
Your grandmother would be grins from ear to ear to be served their, “Chicken in a pot.” A home-made chicken soup that contains it all, and about half the size of the Titanic. One of my favorite parts though is their policy about NOT trimming the fat off their pastrami brisket. Pretty cool, eh?
To be perfectly honest though, the reason I go back is the fact is that the quality of their ground beef is so high they can offer their burgers cooked rare. That’s right, rare.
The burger is so perfect, so wonderful. It’s served on an Acme bun, resting by itself. Next to it lay nestled good leaf lettuce, thin red onion and tomatoes so read they hurt your eyes. You can order cheese and/or pastrami as a topping, I chose pastrami this time. Sure you can get real french fries, potato salad or whatever. I find they detract from the burger. When cooked rare, I suggest you do not lay it down. Once you hold it how you want, eat it. The juices are the one you want in your mouth, not on your plate.
I love Saul’s, as do many. If you’re looking for destination burger and pastrami, Saul’s is the place to seek. After your meal, you’re left to wander Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto with The Cheese Board and Chez Panisse and many others.
Saul’s Restaurant & Deli
1475 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709
Editor’s note: Joe Bob and JLee continue on in their West Texas walkabout.
We had breakfast at Marathon Coffee Cafe. Um, huevos and such. NBD. Cozy joint. They serve Big Bend Coffee (roasted in Marfa) here. And they sell the beans. If you’re camping or touring, and you have brought the ‘proper’ equipment, get your beans here. And make it yourself, the right way. Get everything else at French Co. Grocer, Hwy 90 & Avenue D. They got wi-fi, ice, beer and food and medicine and love.
We loaded up on stuff and headed to Big Bend Ranch State Park. Sorry no pictures. But I will tell y’all we saw many Daddy Long Legs with 6″ leg spans. No kiddin. And we weren’t drunk either.
French Grocer – Marathon, TX
Editor’s Note: Yay, another fine post from JLee and Joe Bob’s trip to West Texas. I like the part where you can see they’re selling portable carport thingies as well as booze & ice. 600 bux?
We came across a few of these on this trip. Now, I’ve seen drive-up, window service liquor stores. These are drive-thru. You can load up cases and cases of stuff, and a whole lotta ice. I’m sure there’s a story behind this way of doing business. I surely appreciate being able to just drive right into the store.
Earlier this year I received an email from a large ad agency, a man wanted to know if I was interested in reviewing Butterball’s new table-top deep fryer for turkeys. Hmm, free fryer and it’s large enough for a turkey? Duh. We’d chatted via email a few times for over a year, wasn’t just some nameless droid in a cubicle somewheres, actually had a personality and seemed to get Meathenge. Butterball’s version of the Masterbilt turkey fryer wasn’t out yet, was going to have to wait a few months, no big deal.
It finally arrived! Pretty darn large box, pretty darn large fryer. I opened it up and peered in. I looked, crooked muh hillbilly neck a bit and exclaimed, “Dang, no turkey is going to fit in that basket!” You see, I had a 5.2 lb chicken in the fridge and compared sizes, using just one eye ball. No way. I pulled and checked the instructions, up to about a 12 lb turkey, maybe 14. 11-12 lb was optimum, and it showed the little bird laying inside the basket. I wasn’t seeing it in reality though.
Those of you who know, finding a turkey under 12 pounds is nigh impossible in the off season, this being not Thanksgiving. Birds that small are a special order and even then youse takes yer chances. So, over the next few weeks I stalked the local mega marts, searching for my tiny bird. I finally found one, just under 12 pounds. Set to the fridge to thaw for the next week.
I could have gone fancy here with a brine, herbs, bacon stuffing or whatever, but I wanted to do a test run and see what the scoop was. Once that’s taken care of, then one can move on to some fancy steppin’. I got a real shocker on my next stop to my local grocery, 10 dollars a gallon for inexpensive cooking oil! And this cooker requires a full tub of oil, that’s 2 gallons to deep fry a turkey. While that is a lot of oil, that’s about 3 gallons less than the outdoor propane powered situations. Of course they’ll do a 14 pounder with ease, I’m still not convinced this table-top model will do a 12. I had my turkey, I had 20 dollars worth of cooking oil and I had the time, it was deep fry turkey day!
Translation: It was Thursday night (a work night), after a week in the fridge it still wasn’t thawed, it was dark out and I was having second thoughts about having 2 gallons of 375 degree oil on my counter and nobody around to call 911 for me. I’d just got over putting a burning ember hole in my left foot and the thought of deep frying myself wasn’t making me feel very good. So, I called my sister and brother inlaw over.
30 minutes later they were here, the oil was at 375, the turkey was thawed (soaked it in cool tap water), then thoroughly dried inside and out. It was time. I’ve deep fried things quite a few times and know now that one wants to lower the food slowly, s-l-o-w-l-y. With the instructions in my left hand, I lowered the turkey with my right, set the timer for 48 minutes and closed the lid.
The fryer has a filtered lid, so while there was quite a bit of steam, the smell of cooking oil was really minimal. After the 48 minutes went by, this is what I got. Um, not a bad looking bird, eh?
As expected it was moist, juicy from one side to the other. The breast meat was a little over done, would cut the cooking time down to 40 minutes next time. I rarely have over done breast meat, so I was kinda shocked at that. Still more than perfectly edible and it was consumed right there in the kitchen.
One can probably guess the bird fit just fine in the basket, I would not recommend anything over 12 pounds though. It’d be stuffed too tightly in the basket and would not allow the oil to completely cover the bird, and this is what you want for the best possible golden brown results. The machine seems to be built well enough, everything removes easily for cleaning. It’s got a drain pipe for the oil and it’s large enough so you don’t have to wait 20 minutes for all the oil, nor does it get clogged with bits. I left the machine on my counter for 2 days with the lid closed to see how smelly it might be and I have to say it was nearly undetectable. I did wake up the next morning with the Deep Fried Kitchen Smell, but it was easily dissipated with a few hours of open doors. No oil spray on cabinets, thank goodness. A cool feature I noticed while fumbling with the power cord, it’s held on to the unit with magnets. Which means if something happens, all you have to do is give it a gentle whack and the power is separated from the unit. As for clean-up, the oil tub and basket fit in my dishwasher with the top rack removed. All in all, I give this fryer two greasy thumbs up.
I did notice the box and instructions boasted that you could also use this fry for steaming and boiling food. I haven’t tried it, but I do know something about table-top fryers, once you use them as intended, they’re a dedicated machine. Getting that fried oil smell out is near impossible and any steamed or boiled food would have a fried oil flavor, so I wouldn’t actually plan on using it as such. You can try of course, but don’t be surprised when your taters come out tasting like yer oil.
All that said and done, I’m not hip to the deep fried turkey thing. 20 dollars worth of oil, gone. While the clean-up was “easy”, it’s still a pain in the ass. And now I have 2 gallons of waste oil I have to drive down and dispose of properly at our local hazmat dumping site. No waste cooking oil can be put in our recycling bins. But Biggles, it was oh so tasty, isn’t it worth it? Um, I like my turkey roasted in the oven, it’s a personal thing.
If deep frying a turkey is something you want to try or something you enjoy regularly, this rig will do it and with far less oil than the larger outdoor method. It’s safer too! No 911 call was made.
Author’s note a day later: I understand I can filter and reuse the oil. The issue is that I wouldn’t get around to using it for 3+ years. Annnd, just because I reuse the oil 2, 3, 4 times doesn’t mean I still don’t have to have it properly disposed of. Cheers!
Editor’s Note: OoOOoo, drinking booze in Texas, ain’t that just the best? JLee & Joe Bob head in for some cool refreshing beverages.
This place doesn’t serve food til 6pm. We got here at 5. Decided to drink for an hour. Only a couple other people there, so we got to hog the bartender. Matt, the NICEST bartender in West Texas. (see him at their website) Had a great selection of everything. I had my first Shiner Bock ever. It was frosty goodness. A shot of Macallan 18. Tried some local made pale ale from the tap. Then we ordered food. Hmmm. I had roasted pork, Joe Bob had chicken curry. Maybe it was an off night for the chef, we’ll leave it at that. Back to drinking. A tasty cocktail of vodka, citrus, and some thing I can’t remember. It left a real good taste in my mouth. I’ll go back there, try some other dish next time. Great place to sit and drink for a whole evening.
The Famous Burro
Editor’s Note: Here’s another installment of JLee and Joe Bob’s trip to West Texas. They’ve been back now for a week or so and we’ve got some insight to what’s going on in BBQ there. Pretty cool trip, eh?
Remembering McBee’s in Hondo, a very swell brisket. Very moist, proper smoke. Lotsa side carbs here. Appears I am eating off Joe Bob’s plate, pacing myself. I’m wondering if we’re just getting lucky, or if there’s better cows this year. This sauce was sublime. Joe Bob ended up putting it on the beans even. Requisite Dr. Pepper, if there’s no RC Cola.
JLee & Joe Bob
Hot Pit BBQ
309 Avenue F
Del Rio, TX 78840
All day it poured, far sooner than was expected.
The sun came out to offer some love, garden grew greener in only a few hours.
One should leave their guarded perch to view and experience what’s going on.
It’s pretty darned spectacular and to say the least, it’s pretty and makes you feel good.