Biggles’ very own Chicken Conspiracy of 2012

Editor’s Note:  All is well here, no complaints.  There really isn’t much going on worth mentioning in the cooking department, that’s the bottom line. That’s why no posts for such a long period of time. Love you, miss you!

The older I get, the simpler the roast chicken gets.  Wash, more than pan dry inside and out.  Kosher salt well, truss.  Install to 450 degree oven for 1 hour, pull and let rest for 10. The salt dries out the skin and turns it in to chicken skin candy of love, especially on the wings. Meat, even the breast meat, is tender and juicy with good solid chickenny flavors. I can do this.  Well, up until recently I could do it.

Yeah well, maybe 2 months ago I was running in to bloody thigh meat, regularly.  Even the breast meat from time to time would be under cooked. Wing joints, thigh joints, not even remotely done. After 6+ chickens roasted, I was nearing tears after removing the bird from the oven, wondering what to expect this time. I was convinced I had run across The Great Chicken Conspiracy of 2012 just as I had found The Great Potato Conspiracy of 2011.

The hell continued, 7 chickens roasted, 8, 9, 10 chickens roasted. It was a nightmare, I was nearly ready to throw in the towel. I chalked a few up to not being thoroughly defrosted, even after 2 days in the fridge. I stopped trussing the chicken, allowing more heat to penetrate the thigh crevices. I checked and replaced the batteries in my Thermapen. I gathered other odd thermometers to get a gaggle of readings. I pulled apart the oven to make sure the burner assembly was firmly in place and operating correctly. I routinely used a proper oven thermometer to make sure the oven came up to the correct temperature.  All checked good.  Still, no luck.

A beaten meat man, I admitted defeat. Not such a tough thing to do at the ripe old age of 47. Today, I’m firmly convinced I have no idea what’s going on, in and/or around me. I got no idea, I’m generally working off of reflexes these days. I did what any truly defeated man would do, I read the instructions.

Turns out, no matter what temperature the oven is, roasting time is based upon the weight of the bird. I know what you’re thinking, “Biggles, no f-ing shit !!! What a pathetic doof.” All true, but wait.  See, I’d been roasting birds for so long, basing my weights on birds of the past.  It used to be you could buy chickens that were 3.5 pounds, 4 pounds and big birds were 4.5 pounds. The 5+ pounders were stewing chickens, not tender little roasting chickens. Well, for the last however many years, you’re lucky to find any chicken that’s less than 5 pounds. If you reach in, find the smallest chicken in ye olde chicken patch, you’re most likely going to pull out a 5.5 pounder.  And this bird, my good people, will not roast in an hour, or at least this is my observation.

Of course, these weights will vary depending on where you are and where you shop for your chickens. But, what’s up with these older chickens? Buy any pieced out chickens lately? Breasts the size of your forearms, thighs the size of your feet! I simply cannot buy a 3.5 pound chicken any longer, not possible. And since I’m still unemployed, buying fancy chickens directly from ranchers ain’t possible, I have to rely upon the local cheap marts for food these days.

All is well in the roasting chicken department at Meathenge Labs.  It just takes longer now.

xo, Biggles

Knife Sharpening Class with Eric Weiss – Monday, June 4th

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Who here takes the time to have their knives professionally sharpened at least twice a year? Raise your hands. Yeah, I didn’t think so, but there’s a few of you. Who here sharpens their own knives? Excellent Chilebrown! Anyone else? There’s a few of you, good.
Listen up, I don’t care what kind of knife you use in the kitchen, it could be a 500+ dollar hand-made Kramer knife or something you found in the basement years ago. No matter who made your knife, it ain’t worth a bag of wet marbles unless it’s sharp. I’ll choose a sharp 15 dollar hardware store kitchen knife over any other dull knife. Here’s your chance to learn how to sharpen your own knives from the Master Knife Sharpener Grand Poobah of All Time, Eric Weiss.
How cool would it be to be able to sharpen your own knives properly? Very cool. And now you have the chance to learn the craft the right way. Register today, time is running out!

KNIFE SHARPENING CLASS
With ERIC E. WEISS

Monday, June 4th, 2012
6:30pm – 8:30pm $65.00
Paulding & Company, A Creative Kitchen
1410 D 62nd St., Emeryville, 94608
You will be taught to hone your knives to perfection by hand.
A sharpening stone and honing oil is included in the price.
Bring your chef’s knife and paring knife and 1 other.
Eric’s sharpening experience spans over 30 years. Born in England, raised in Germany, his love affair with all things sharp began in boyhood. This devotion grew with him through military service to the Queen, and comes to fruition at Bay Area Farmer’s Markets, Restaurants, Catering Companies, Retail and Private Homes. During this unique hands-on class Eric gladly shares his true wealth of historical, cultural, and scientific knowledge about the blade.
Class details/registration at
Paulding & Co.
510-594-1104

xo, Biggles

Jalapeno Poppers via 11 year old boy & youtube

I’ve got 2 boys, 1 of which will eat pretty much anything and enjoys it all.  The 11 year old however, ain’t quite as easy to please.  So, when you-know-who found a recipe for the J Poppers on youtube and wanted to make them?  I backed him up 110%.  He selected Jack & Mozzarella made in to a slurry with cream cheese.  Even sliced open the peppers and cleaned them out himself.  I’d always done them by slicing off the top, but he did it lengthwise so they made a cheesy boat.  Wrapped with bacon and in to a pre-heated Char-broil Smoker Roaster Grill set to maybe a little under halfway on the volume knob.  Dang boy!  They were good.

xo, Biggles

Meathenge turns 7 years old!

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That’s right, snoozy little Meathenge turned 7 years old on May 29th 2010! Pretty cool, eh?
Not much going on at the Lab these days, obviously. The boys are getting out of school for the summer this week, so hopefully will be able to get back to grilling and smoking my brains out. I have been sent a fancy outdoor cooker for review and have been using it quite a bit. The chicken breast you see above was rubbed with kosher salt, then smoked. So juicy, so tender.
Other than that, boring. So, celebrate with me and hoist a strip of bacon to thine mouth. Happy Birthday Meathenge!
xo, Biggles

Martian Food Photo Contest !!!

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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.
xo, Biggles

I do apologize

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How much does it suck to have a blog’s post say something timely, and have that specific time (such as Friday) come and go by days?
A lot.
Which is why I’m posting this, it’s not fricken Friday anymore you bone! The boys and I visited good friends up in Calistoga this last weekend, great time. Here we have fresh corn over mesquite in a hole in the ground.
More to come …

Ith Pretty

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For the year of 2008, as many know, I just mowed my garden with a 6.75 hp, gas powered mower. I didn’t/don’t have the time and the water rationing put the lid on the coffin. So what! Throughout this year I’ve received fruits, vegetables and root things from tons of nice people. Pears, zucchinis, bacon, maters, apples, garlic …, uh and others.
Ain’t gifts just the best?
Biggles
ps – Didn’t have enough dumb words to fill the space, really wanted to share the pretty garlic that Big D gifted me the other day. Ith Pretty.

Squeezing Summer for all it’s worth

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Where or where is our little meat henge, where or where could it be?
Fishin’, bikin’, hikin’, eatin’, basically just goofing off and attempting to enjoy every last moment of summer. That’s where. See, for many of youse guys, summer is when it’s warm. For persons such as myself, summer ends when school starts, this would be next Tuesday.
The image to the right is Tiny E at Highland Lakes, 8600 feet up in the Sierra mountains off hwy 4. See? That’s what we’re up to!
Yay for us. See ya’ll later, bye!
Biggles

Manteca de Puerco Alert !!! – Got Lard?

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Oh man, oh man oh man, oh man. I knew I should have asked months earlier, but here it showed up at my favorite market, Joya de Ceren!
Shut it, Little Miss Lard is Bad.
I want to see raised hands. Who here, when walking in to a taqueria and see, “We use NO LARD!”, walk out directly? Good, thank you. You know, you understand the love that is manteca. From greasing a cast iron skillet, griddle, to refried beans, tamales, savory pie dough and browning meat & veggies.
Lard is King. And since I now have a tub of fresh lard in my fridge? I’m King. Nyah.
Biggles
Joya de Ceren
12545 San Pablo Ave
Richmond California
(510) 235-5315

Am I going to let this week go out without a post?

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Am I going to let this week go out without a post?
Yes, yes I am. Been way too damned busy to post or even cook something worthwhile. We’re doing fine here at Meathenge Labs, just lacking time & inspiration. In fact, in the last 3 days my diet has been downright nasty. It’s even coming out the pores of muh skins. Leaves with the thought of specific Vegans that tout a diet that consists of meat will leave you smelling bad. Bullshit. A diet that is bad, nasty and isn’t good, leaves you smelling the same. It has nothing to do with eating meat. I usually smell great, hunky and full of goodness. Hooboy, not today though!
The photograph today is of my little grapefruit tree. While I mowed my garden and left it dry, I’ve been cultivating my citrus. Lemons, grapefruit, limes, oh my!
Cheers to you and yours, all is well here, just kinda boring. Sorry we’re normal.
xo, Biggles