Don’t Pay the Ransom…

by zydecopaws on November 8, 2011

Last Thursday Pigdog and I snuck into Northern California when the authorities weren’t looking in an attempt to relieve the natives of some of their excess food. We were following up on rumors that there was to be a gathering of the BBQ Brethren in backyards and parking lots, complete with all the normal excess of cooked meat that generally accompanies gatherings of this clan. Along the way we scouted out potential sites for future gatherings. This one had some nice grounds, but the bathrooms were a bit small and difficult to get to…

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This one was another possibility, but we didn’t like that there was still a pumpkin on the porch several days after Halloween and the possibility of being mistaken for the former residents and being egged by ex-employees. Or current ones, for that matter…

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So we wandered into the hills of Pleasanton and followed the smell of suckling pig stuffed with fruit. This turned out to be a good plan as we ended up in the backyard of Brethren Marty with a bunch of other hungry folks and a spread that included not only the pitted pig but also some heavenly pastrami, BBQ paella, outrageous cole slaw, to-die-for cheesecake, spinach balls (who knew?), and a bunch of other stuff that was trotted out over the course of a very entertaining evening. Oh, and beer. Really good beer. Fortunately, Marty invited his neighbors, and a good time was had by all (although there appeared to be a few folks suffering the next morning). I’d love to show pictures, but my hands were greasy from pulling the pig and no cameras were harmed during the course of the evening. Besides, what goes on in Pleasanton stays in Pleasanton.

Saturday found us in the parking lot of Greenleaf BBQ in downtown Livermore. Somehow Tim from Greenleaf BBQ had convinced his fellow merchants to let us take over the parking lot again this year for purposes of charring meat, drinking beer, and telling tall tales. Apparently they have short memories. According to Sir Porkalot the the day went something like this:

  • 1:30am – Unloaded 1200lb smoker (with a little help from a winch, wench?, no…winch)
  • Cheese & Ale soup with crusty bread
  • Beer
  • Ribs – Style A
  • Stuffed pork tenderloin
  • Beer
  • Ribs – Style B
  • Spam Sliders – simple but amazing
  • Beer
  • Ribs – Style C
  • Sliced open my index finger
  • Beer
  • Beer
  • Chicken with Habanero Death Dust
  • Beer
  • Tri-tip stuffed with sausage (I can’t make this stuff up)
  • Beer
  • Ribs Style D
  • Beef Ribs
  • Beer
  • Brisket empanada (I think)
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Pulled Pork
  • Beer
  • More soup
  • Breakfast type Fatty
  • Fatty with Habanero Death Dust
  • Beer
  • Beer
  • Another Spam Slider (oh yes I did)
  • Brisket
  • More Habanero Chicken
  • Beer
  • Ribs Style E
  • Sausage Bread (wow)
  • Whole beef tenderloin (filet mignon) with a Lobster/Scallop magically inserted in the middle and topped with Bearnaise sauce, and of course…wrapped in bacon
  • Beer
  • More fatties being passed around
  • Another tri-tip shows up
  • Water
  • Oh what the hell…beer
  • Mixed berry Cobbler

I wasn’t there at 1:30 in the morning for the smoker unloading, and I didn’t match him on the beer drinking, but as near as I can remember the rundown of the menu looks pretty accurate. And as near as we can determine, none of his finger ended up on anyones plate.

As expected, there were a variety of grills in attendance again this year. That’s Pigdog standing behind the Easy-Up looking fondly at JB’s grill. That grill was by far and away the most prolific of the day; I think JB cooked enough for all of us all by himself.

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The UDS on the handicap parking emblem was presented to Landarc BBQ (Bob, of Bob’s Brew and Que fame for all the assistance he has given to other Brethren over time. This was a real work of art, all the way from the extra-large welded air nipples right down to the custom wood-carved handles.

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The CrockaQue also made the trip again this year, and although nowhere near as impressive as Bob’s custom UDS and JB’s monster meat machine still managed to hold its own. After all, where do you think those Spam Sliders came from?

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Now how does one follow up a couple of days like that? Well, in our case we joined our good friends Rob (Into the Flames, currently distracted by his Red Boat Fish Sauce venture, more on that in a later post), Bob (Landarc BBQ, mentioned above), Tom (aka Big Butz BBQ), and Matt and Charlotte (from Phat Matt’s BBQ in Oakland) for lunch on Sunday at Mission Chinese in San Francisco. We’ve heard a lot about this place, and I have to say it more than lived up to expectations. If you ever find yourself in San Francisco with a hankering for Chinese BBQ that is not run-of-the-mill, get yourself down there and have some Thrice Cooked Bacon. And some Kung Pao Pastrami. While you’re at it, add some Sizzling Cumin Lamb and Spicy Buckwheat Noodles. For those of you that like hot food, don’t miss the Mongolian Long Beans. And although we didn’t try it, the Smoked Beef Brisket is also supposed to be very good. All I can say is that this is not your ordinary Chinese food, and it’ll put a look on your face like this:

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The rest of Sunday was a bit of a blur; bakeries, driving over the Golden Gate bridge, a bizarre Applebee’s experience that I won’t recount in detail. We’ll leave that one by saying that dessert was free after all the other festivities. Who ever heard of bruschetta anything without tomatoes?

Yesterday was all about driving home via the coastal route. Highlight of the day (food-wise) was lunch at the Samoa Cookhouse. If you ever find yourself in Eureka, make time to have a meal here. Don’t worry about what you are going to order, they’ll tell you what you are having to eat, and there will be plenty of it. Plan on sharing, but don’t worry about running out of food.

The low point from a food perspective was the McDonald’s we ate at in Reedsport, OR. All I can say is that their bathroom is fairly clean, or at least it was before I got finished with it. And no, I didn’t order a McRib.

I’ll finish with proof that although I likely gained a pound or two on the trip, I still have a way to go before I catch up with this guy…

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