Friday, September 12, 2008

Brock & Andrea 9/08

This was a weekend of suprise impromtu BBQs. Brock was at the store and saw a big hunk o' pork that he couldn't resist and thought "I better call some people to help eat this thing". The Hardcore Meat staff will always help you eat hunks o' pork.

Now all BBQs we cover are subject to the same rigorous HCM rating system and since this was a last minute get together with guests invited via text message, it's inevitable that some of the rating catagories would be a little light, but I can't help but give an extra point somewhere in there for SPONTINAITY!

1. GEAR: Their BBQ grill has come on some hard times so it was not participating at this event, but the smoker picked up the slack and delivered with all high marks. Nice choice of all natural wood chips and coals! 2 points.

2. QUALITY OF MEAT: You cannot beat Brock's white meat. Great job on the pork. Slow cooked/smoked for 4-5 hours. 2 points.

3. ALCOHOL: Beer, wine, etc... the usual suspects. 1 point.

4. SIDE DISHES: Fortunately there was a Spaniard in attendance who save the Sides catagory, cuz you can't count on me w/ my QFC bought cucumber salad. 1.75 points.

5. CROWD: It was a small crowd... all good people... Ben was there from the Rez... but here's the clincher. Pat's wife Nami was there and that shit is RARE! I mean, this girl never makes it out. We're talking as rare as Bush saying something intelligent - that's like, what, once every 4 or 5 years? 2 points.

6. MUSIC: There was some music coming from the Garage-mahal but I couldn't really hear it. Come on now B&A, you guys love music and you have a lot of good stuff - crank that shit up! .5 point.

7. SETTING: Beautiful back yard (really beautiful) with water fall and hammock - AND, Andrea gave me a blanky and let me take a little nap in said hammock. 2 points.

8. DESSERT: Cherry pie w/ ice cream and some kind of raspberry chocolate cream pie which was some how laced with crack. 2 points.

9. DID WE LIKE YOU?: Not only did Andrea give me blanky for my nap, but Brock gave me his pants. 2 points.

Total score: 15.25 Thanks for the Q, kids!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tom & Mikal

Well it sure was a good weekend for BBQs. Great parties on both Satuday and Sunday. Even tho the weather wasn't cooperating this particular Sunday, Tom's jerk chicken more than made up for it.

1. GEAR: This is the best Weber BBQ I've ever seen. And he's not using those whimpy little brickets you get from QFC either, those are real hard wood lump coals. Bravo Tom, bravo. 2 points.

2. QUALITY OF MEAT: You cannot argue with Tom's jerk chicken. It is fucking delicious. Great flavor and tender juicy meat. I would expect nothing less from a guy who works at a gourmet restaraunt. 2 points

3. ALCOHOL: 1/4 barrell of Elysian ESB and the coolers with white Bordeaux - perfect with jerk chicken. 1.75 points.

4. SIDE DISHES: A good variety of sides to fill yer belly with. Nothing from Safeway and most, if not all, were organic. Mikal made a really tasty potato salad and someone brought a Jamaican themed rice and bean dish. 2 point.

5. CROWD: The hosts are fun, loving, creative artists, so it only makes sense that their guest would be cool people, too. Some kids, some older people, some middle people. Many people remembered my name when I couldn't even remember their face from previous gatherings - that's some good people . 2 points.

6. MUSIC: They are very much into music and have really cool vintage stereo equipment. I wish I had a photo. Music was piped into everyroom, too. 2 points.

7. SETTING: A great house with a view of the water and the I-5 bridge, plus cool funky decor that one would expect from a couple artists AND a big back yard w/ fire pit. 2 points.

8. DESSERT: Gourmet ice cream provided by yours truly(Salted Caramel, Balsamic Strawberry, Jasmine Green Tea, Cardamin, and Sprinkles) and a really good cheescake. 2 points.

9. DID WE LIKE YOU? No, we loved you. 2 points.

17.75 out of 18 points. Wow. You should be proud.

Jeremy and Megan, August 23, 2008

I have to admit, it was with some trepidation that I came to review Jeremy and Megan's pig roast and crawdad feed. I had only met these guys a couple times, and Jeremy hails from Kansas, one of the world's capitals of great barbecue. What would a perfect 18 look like, and would I even recognize it if I saw it? And if a man with the audacity to serve his friends a goddamn entire roasted pig generates such doubt in me, what does that say about me as a reviewer? Fortunately, Jeremy and Megan's congeniality and generosity put my mind at ease.

1. Quality of grilling gear.

This is the Caja China pig roasting box. Ideally suited for roasting pigs up to 70 pounds, it is heated with hot coals arranged on top. A man who owns one of these is clearly committed to the art. Not only that, but there was also a 25 gallon stainless steel pot with a propane fired burner for boiling crawdads. Easily 2 points here.

2. Quality of meat.

Any barbecue that starts with 50 pounds of boiled crawfish is something special. Who even knew we had these critters up here? According to Jeremy, Lake Washington is one of the largest producers of crawfish outside of Louisiana. And these suckers were big, more like small lobsters, they actually had some claw meat.

And did I mention the pig? This was an animal who had given himself up in his young adolescence to nourish 40 hard working young people and prepared with a great deal of care and respect. (I asked Jeremy why there was no apple in its mouth and his response was emphatic: "Because it's demeaning to the animal.") The roast was to perfection, not dry in the least. I do not share others' fondness for roasted pig skin, but the meat was lean, tender, and delicious. Hardcore meat has no precedence for extra credit, so unfortunately we can only give 2 points here. However, we are very impressed and well fed.

3. Alcohol.

We've always said, it's not about extravagance, it's about what suits the party and the keg of Miller Genuine Draft was just the thing. There was also a well stocked bar inside and I finished the evening with a whiskey. 2 points.

4. Side dishes.

There were many, fancy cole slaws and a curried baklava recipe. But I want you to focus on these 6 words: Macaroni, cheese, and bacon bundt cake. I am being serious. 2 points.

5. The crowd.

This was my first time with the Kansas clan, and what a great group of kids. These people seem really tight with each other yet we, the newcomers, were able to mingle with ease. There were friends that go back as far as high school and it's always such a pleasure to find people who enjoy each other this much. 2 points.

6. Music.

About half way through the party, Jeremy asked me what his score was. (Note to others: this is a big no-no and could potentially interfere with the reviewer's buzz, with devastating consequences. I decided Jeremy was simply making conversation and was simply unfamiliar with the academic points of barbecue review.) I had to be honest. The music seemed innocuous enough, but I had barely noticed it. It was quiet and whatever it was that was playing seemed designed not to offend. At that, Jeremy invited me inside to take over. And what I found were 2000 vinyl LPs. Most of what we were listening to was old school rap and 70's soul. Kool Moe Dee. Isaac Hayes. Stevie Wonder. Yes, someone put on the new(?!) Guns n' Roses at the end of the night, but there's always some yahoo like that. With such an embarrassment of riches, why was the volume so low, Jeremy? Hardcore Meat wants to dance! I'm forced to take off a quarter point. 1.75 here.

7. Setting.

Well, the purpose of the party was to celebrate the completion of the new deck, and a fine deck she was. Jeremy and Megan have a really sweet pad, with lots of great details and the weather was beautiful. 2 points.

8. Dessert.

There were a number of great desserts (including a bowl of candy bars -- rad!) but I have to admit the coconut creme pie baked by yours truly capped them all. (Do you hear that people? Invite me over and I am liable to do something like bring coconut creme pie.) 2 points.

9. Do we like you?

Ordinarily, we usually finish off by saying how much we enjoyed our hosts' company, but for once we actually mean it. Jeremy and Megan are sweet, generous hosts who we are happy to have met this past year. Jeremy was clearly having a blast in his grandfather's jumpsuit, tending the gear and feeding an army of his friends. We'd be happy to share meat with them again, any time.

17.75 points.

The Action BBQ photographer takes a break to enjoy a crawdad

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Metia Meets "The Man"

This reviewer doesn't make all of his income from this blog. OK, I actually don't make any money here. Instead, I have a job at a cool little company on the Eastside. Some of the things that makes this job cool are no dress code, "beer fridays", work from home, and they were nice enough to treat us to a little BBQ last week. They had many grand ideas for this Q, but they were all shot down by the same building management that forbade me from bringing my bicycle inside, so they ended up getting 60 pounds of takeout from Dixie's BBQ up the street.

Normally, I would not review an event such as this because our rating system is more geared for private parties, but since the BBQ scene has been a little slow the last couple weeks, I'll give Metia the spotlight.

1.Gear. Obviously, I didn't see any gear, but I imagin Dixie's has quite the set up. You can't give too many points on imagination, tho. 1 point.

2. Quality of Meat. There was chicken, beef, and pork. Tried beef and took some of the chicken home. It was OK. A good, tangy standard sauce, but the meat wasn't anything to get your panties bunched up about. After the feeding was over, most of my co-workers were moaning and holding their stomachs. Instead of wishing they could magically be un-full so they could eat more, they were wishing they could Ctrl-Z so they could feel better. And a side note about "the Man" sauce: I didn't see any of the sauce at our BBQ, but I've had it before and liken it to being maced in the mouth. No flavor, just pain. 1 point.

3.Alcohol. There was a wide selection of sodas and juices, but no booze. If we can have beer on Fridays, why not Thursdays? 0 points.

4. Side dishes. Beens, potato salad, Caesar salad. 1 pt.

5. Crowd. A lot of good people there. It was fun sitting w/ my fellow designers, but people didn't really hang out too long. Seemed like they ate, talked to the people they worked with, then went back to their desks. 1.5 points.

6. Music. Not even Musak. 0 pts.

7. Setting. In the "Big Kitchen" cuz they were scared of rain. 1/2 point.

8. Dessert. 3 kinds of cookies. The chocolate chip cookies were about 40% chips. Nice. 1 pt.

9. Did we like you? Nothing special in the way of hospitality, but it was free and very nice of them to do, plus how could I not like my fellow Metians? 2 points.

It's admitedly hard to live up to the Hardcore Meat standards, but not bad for a work function. 8 out of 18 points.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Yost House

U S A ! U S A ! U S A !

This little shindig had a clear theme throughout the house... U S A !!! Everything was red, white and blue and freakin delicious! As one might expect from the 4th of July weekend, there were many BBQs going on, so the HCM team had to split up to cover all of the BBQ action. This reporter was lucky enough to get invited to Jen's mom's house ( ok, it's Jim's house, too) out past Gig Harbour.

1. Gear. Gas grill, basic tools. Nothing to write home about (or on a blog). 1 point.

2. Quality of Meat. Chicken: Off tha hook. Pork ribs: Whoa. Some links: Good for lunch. Now I must clarify that the ribs and chicken were actually baked, then warmed on the grill, but hey, they could have microwaved them for all I care - they were free and delicious. 2 points.

3. Alcohol. Beer and wine with talk of hard stuff somewhere. 1 point.

4. Side dishes. A wide assortment of salads, some cous cous and a Cowboy Caviar dip that had people freaking out. 2 points.

5. Crowd. Great diversity and range of ages. No fights. 2 points.

6. Music. There was music inside and it had it's moments. And the music that was timed with the fireworks made me laugh, but not in a good way. But then again is there such thing as bad laughter?... hmm... 1 point.

7. Setting. The house was right on the sound. We lit fireworks off the dock and they had a barge out in the water with real fireworks. Oh, and they had little towels for drying your hands in the bathroom. We even played lawn darts!! When's the last time you played lawn darts? 2 points.

8. Dessert. Lemon bars, apple pie, and brownies. Maybe it was my munchies talking, but those may have been the best brownies ever. 2 points.

9. Did we like you? Georgiann and Jim were first class hosts and fun to hang out with. Did I mention they fed a bunch of people they didn't know? 2 points.

15 out of 18 points - a rating to be proud of!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Brian's "Indy 500"

The HCM staff was going for a ride around Lake Washington when we happened to come across a little road side BBQ down on Rainier Ave, so we pulled over and sampled some of their meat. Five bucks bought me a couple ribs with Brian's home made sauce from Indiana.

1. Gear. It was a rather deluxe charcoal grill. It had a knob for raising and lowering the coals. 1.5 points.

2. Quality of Meat. My ribs were quite good. Not "blow your mind good" like Brock's smoked-for-7-hours ribs, but I did appreciate his special recipe for the sauce - kinda sweet and mild on the heat. Indianapolis style, we were told. And he had a good variety of beef, pork, chicken and links. 2 points.

3. Alcohol. No alcohol, just water and soda. But damn a beer would have been good. 0 points.

4.Side dishes. White bread. Somehow it was perfect. 1 point.
5. Crowd. We didn't really hang out too long, and it wasn't really a party, but Brian's five kids were playing in the lot. I gathered that Brian owned the hair styling place next door and a few of his customers were milling around. 2 points.

6. Music. Just the sound of traffic. 1 point.

7. Setting. Brian was set up next door to his Barber shop business right on Rainier Ave. just South of Fil and Carries place. It was basically an empty lot but it was perfect... 2 point.

8. Dessert. Just the Peanut Butter Clif Bar we carried with us. 0 points.

9. Did we like you? Hell, yeah. He and his buddies seemed nice enough. We talked briefly about how much Evel Kneivel kicked ass. "I don't care if you're black or white or whatever. Everyone likes Evel Kneivel. Evel Kneivel's a bad motherfucker." The concept of karma came up, but again, this wasn't a party, so we didn't really get to socialize as much as we wanted to. 2 points.

And that brings us to 11.5 out of 18, which may not seem like much, but I was very happy with my food and I would encourage any of you to pull over and grab a quick rib for the road, the training food of champions.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fil and Carrie -- June 7, 2008

Fil and Carrie's party this past weekend featured a surprise guest! Earlier in the week, Carrie had invited Ben to come up from Arizona to her party but she didn't realize Ben was already scheduled to be here for a course. The look on Carrie's face was priceless.

As usual, Fil and Carrie put on a great spread and great fun was had.

1. Check out this gear.
Stainless steel, triple burner, heavy duty knobs. This is a quality grill. 2 points.

2. Quality of Meat. Solid Barbecue fair, with variety. Spicy sausage, beef ribs, a few burgers. This evaluator appreciates good meat but encourages branching out a bit more. 1 point.

3. Alcohol. Beer and wine, and lots of it. The party would have scored 1 point, but The Doctor's first taste of ice wine pushed it over the top. 2 points.

4. Side dishes. Our hosts really shined here. Home made pasta salad with artichoke hearts, spinach salad. Excellent variety of chips. Bravo. 2 points.

5. Crowd. As expected, all the cool cats in Seattle were at Carrie and Fil's, and some unexpected faces. Besides Ben, there was the return of both Sundi and Georgio, several of Carrie's coworkers and all the usual lovely party people. 2 points.

6. Music. Sound system consisted of a laptop and powered speakers, more than ample for the condo. Fil was in control of the sounds but loses a point for letting guests take over later in the evening. Sorry. 1 point.

7. Setting. Now, everyone knows Carrie and Fil have the swankest pad in Rainier Valley. Large balcony, lovely water view. Too bad it was ruined by rain. One may argue the fairness of deducting points for weather, but it's all part of the physical environment of a good barbecue. Those are the breaks in Seattle. Or you could fly all your friends to Maui. 1 point.

8. Dessert. Chocolate cake. Home made coconut cream pie. Our hosts didn't actually bake these, but they still get 2 points for having awesome friends who can throw down a pie.

9. Did we like you? Come on it's Carrie and Fil, our favorite people. They were graceful, relaxed, and fun. One million points.

Ok, adding it up, we get 15 out of 18. That's a hell of a score for a hell of a party. Thanks you two, we had a great time!