Monthly Archives: June 2013

Alaskan Moron’s Wildlife Guide

Who doesn’t love BBQ, beers, and a gentle bike ride through nature?

What better way to spend your Saturday than communing with one of Gob’s snuggly creatures and sharing some delicious BBQ.

Cuddles the Love Bear (Source: Flikr, via Wikipedia. Photographer: HBarrison. Reproduced under Creative Commons)

Alaskan Moron’s Wildlife Guide:

1. Drink beers (probably the more the better)

2. Bike ride into wilderness with BBQ in your pocket (or a satchel)

3. Confront bear and offer to share said BBQ

4. Get mauled by bear

Apparently step 5 is getting charged by wildlife officials with illegally feeding animals.

No word on whether this person completed step 6, which is removing yourself from the gene pool via the mauling. This guy is expected to survive.

Edited to add: How did I overlook this totally obvious pun? Don’t baste your BBQ – Maull it! (even if their sauce is thin dreck)

(Source: Wikipedia)

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Happy Fathers’ Day: Stay Safe

Another wonderful Fathers’ Day is upon us. It’s a great day for quality time with family.

1980, when men were men

1980, when men were men

I’ll be smoking pork ribs and having my dad come over for meat and beers, and distributing some sausages. All the while, I’ll have my own three monsters kiddos at my side.

Fathers’ Day is, at least in my family, a great excuse to drink a beer and get the smoker going. Stay safe, America. The BBQ is fraught with peril; Just ask my own dad.

Note my sister wisely fleeing into the basement for shelter

Note my sister wisely fleeing into the basement for shelter

Say, Pop, did you marinade those veggies in a bunch of olive oil? Huh, that sounds good. You aren’t going to pour that over the open flame coals, are you? I see… is this how you lost your hair? My hair loss was law school stress, but yours was FIRE IN THE HOLE!

Note the lack of protective eyewear

Note the lack of protective eyewear

Pro Tip: Don’t dump combustible foodstuffs over any open flame while you are looking down on and standing adjacent to said flame.

Stay safe this Fathers’ Day.

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Non-Traditional Legal Fees

Do you speed when driving your car? I fix tickets for friends, family and clients. For that, I get non-traditional (as in non monetary) legal fees.

(NB#1 – Background: I’m not sure where you’re reading this blog. It has a global reach for some reason. But in Missouri, in central USA, when someone gets a moving violation that ticket frequently results in “points” against a driver’s license. Those points accrue and eventually cause insurance rates to rise. This is a pure hypothetical situation: You are speeding, doing 70 in a 60 MPH zone and get a ticket. Officer Friendly gives you a citation with a court address and hearing date. You come to me. I send your ticket and some lawyer-y paperwork to the court requesting that your moving violation be amended to a non-points non-moving violation. In my experience, these requests are usually granted [this is extremely subjective and based only on my actual experience in mid-central-eastern Missouri]. Your speeding is now littering or illegal parking or [my favorite] excessive vehicle noise. That $100 speeding ticket is now a $150 non-moving violation and has $50 court costs. You get zero points and pay the municipality coffers a little extra, money that you would otherwise spend in duplicate to your insurance carrier. I’m talking simple speeding or rolling stop signs here… no DUI, resisting arrest, open container, reckless driving, etc. I don’t handle that nonsense.)

(NB#2 – Disclaimer: I strongly doubt this is necessary, but I’ll be safe: The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. Nothing here is legal advice. Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship. Submitting a comment or emailing me similarly does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you seek legal advice from a BBQ & Beer blog, you fail at life.)

The Missouri Supreme Court Rule of Professional Conduct 4-1.5 states that my fees must be reasonable for the work performed and that I may accept property in exchange for legal services. My clients and I have come to the understanding that my reasonable non-monetary fee for handling a traffic ticket is beer:

Law school pays off!

Law school pays off!

I’ve been paid all kinds of beer for tickets, but this client did it right. Just this year, I had a modest bar tab paid after some pickup basketball, I was given some Fat Tire by a friend’s adult daughter, and now this bounty of Urban Chestnut. I’ve even accepted a borrowed Keystone Light from an indigent friend client on a night I wasn’t drinking. What can I say… I’m flexible and generous.

Earlier this year I wrote the Terms of Use for a friend’s website. He told me to go Full Snark, so I did. I took a really nice Belgian beer sixer as payment. I had as much fun writing that silliness as I did drinking the beer and telling the story of writing the Terms of Use in exchange for beer! (NB#3 – I have received prior verbal permission from this client to tell this story and link to the TOU on this blog.)

If you’re speeding in STL, you could go to the cesspool of legal services on Craigslist and pay anywhere from $35-$50+ for getting a ticket fixed, or you could call your attorney buddy (not necessarily me) and offer some suds for a shot at a non-points violation.

The bottom line is I hope this particular guy speeds more often because I really enjoy good beer.

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Tubed Meat Review: Swiss Meat & Sausage Co.

En route to the Gasconade River for drinkin’ in a boat fishing with my family, we pass right by Swiss Meat & Sausage Co. in the eponymous boomtown of Swiss, Missouri , just south of Hermann. I enjoy frequent hot beef injections, especially from competition-tested award winning meat makers.

Pleasant surprise? Buy four, get the fifth free. So of course I got five:

That's a lot of calories. Delicious, delicious calories.

That’s a lot of calories. Delicious, delicious calories.

If you can’t see it in the photo, my five choices were Boudin, Buffalo Italian Sausage, Chicken Bacon Ranch, Jalapeno and Swiss Cheese Bratwurst, and Best of Show Bratwurst.

I also snagged some impulse buys, because my saturated fat levels felt a little low:

Exotic treats

Exotic treats

The Elk Snack Stix didn’t make it very far from the store. It was spicy and delicious, but not that greasy. The Buffalo Summer Sausage was cut up for snacking later that day. It had the gamey savory flavor of summer sausage but included the distinct flavors of buffalo. Another winner.

Over the next couple weeks we found excuses to cook each of the sausages, and even managed a return tip to load up on some favorites and buy some extras for my parents.

Someone loves their parents (me)

Someone loves their parents (me)

I don’t know about you, but if my adult son showed up with award winning tubed meat, I’d be thrilled.

Having sampled the braunschweiger in the store, I can tell you it’s awesome. What is the stuff? Pork liver sausage. If you can get past that description, you might enjoy it. The sausage is loosely packed and spreadable, but I only remember eating it in big slices on wheat bread and saltines with processed American cheese and deli mustard. It’s a serious childhood taste… I felt a flood of memories come back with that greasy, savory sample. Not quite Anton Ego eating Ratatouille at Gusteau’s, but close.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve sampled (and re-sampled!) each of the aforementioned meats, always grilled.

Happy moments before dinner

Happy moments before dinner

Boudin

Without seeing Duck Dynasty, I’d have never heard of Boudin. When I went to check out, I only had four packs of sausage in my cart. The clerk told me I got a fifth free, and I made that fifth the Boudin.

Each tube is loaded with pork, onion, rice, milk and spices. It was tender and savory, each bite full of onion flavor. My kids weren’t very interested in sampling the Boudin, which probably prejudiced their bites. I, on the other hand, enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m no poet so I can only tell you it’s a flavor profile unlike anything I’ve ever had before – one that was quite delicious. My only gripe, if it can be called that, was that the sausage casing was particularly thick and didn’t cut cleanly unless I had a very sharp or serrated knife, and even then it was prone to tearing when sliced. No sauce of any kind was needed on this, or any other Swiss meat for that matter.

Buffalo Italian Sausage

This was, besides the Best in Show, the #1 kid favorite. Buffalo, being so lean, is mixed with pork and spices to create a gamey, tender sausage. Bites contained very little grease, despite the presence of the pork. I’d imagine that making a quality sausage out of buffalo that doesn’t dry out or lose flavor takes skill, and Swiss seems to have mastered this skill.

I’m surprised and thrilled that this is one of the sausages that my kids have requested the most. We’ve made a return trip to seek out (at least in my son’s mind) this specific meat.

Chicken Bacon Ranch

The only disappointment for me, but it turns out my wife loved it. I thought the sausage was quite dry and too heavy on the dill, with very little bacon to speak of. It wasn’t my thing, either from a texture point of view or taste-wise. I thought this needed something else, but it’s hard to say what. Again, it’s totally subjective because my wife thought it was superior to the Buffalo Italian Sausage.

Jalapeno and Swiss Cheese Bratwurst

Everyone loved this sausage. It’s my wife’s favorite, I think it’s amazing, and even my very picky children tried and liked it. My seven year old son had two, a spectacular feat because the jalapeno bits were visible green chunks! The key to the success of this sausage, as agreed by the adults that sampled it, is the perfect size and selection of the cheese. Each bite of meat included a tongue-enveloping morsel of semi-molten cheese, well seasoned and proportioned. These are clear winners in a strong field.

Best in Show Bratwurst

When I first ate these, I remarked without hyperbole that these might be the best bratwurst I had ever eaten. I think to well-known commercial bratwurst (such as Johnsonville), baseball stadium brats from Busch III, and even hand-crafted bratwurst from local stores (Schnuck’s and Sam’s Club, notably) and there’s no comparison. Swiss brats somehow had zero superfluous grease. They were tender, well-seasoned, perfect tubes of pork.

When you buy “Best in Show” bratwurst, you expect some really tasty meat. I was genuinely surprised at just how good these bratwurst were. I’d buy these again in an instant.

In sum, my trips to Swiss turned out to be well worth the detour. Certainly as long as my family is fishing on the Gasconade River, our route will pass through or near Swiss. Besides, we only bought a few different varieties. There’s several dozen other kinds of bratwurst alone for the sampling… many of which I’ll be eating this summer.

If you love tubed meat like I do, take the trip to Swiss. If you can’t make it, they ship nationwide, so you have zero excuse.

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Texas Beer Review: Lakewood Brewing Company

Have you got any friends? I’m sure you hang with the neighbor to watch some NFL game, or you play a little poker with the dude in the parish, or perhaps you get a beer after work at happy hour with that jokester from marketing.

You do? Great. I don’t care. I’m talking about Real Friends.

Real Friends read your BBQ & Beer Blog and say, “Hey, I live in Texas and I think that Texas beers are under-represented on your blog (which I enjoy quite a bit). I’m mailing you a large custom sampler of Texas beers in a giant box at my own expense. All I ask in return is that you consume and review those beers.”

Do you have one of those friends? No? Well I do.

Are you loved? I am.

Are you loved? I am.

May sweet Jebus smile down upon you, Andy Axsom. I have known Andy for over 15 years, since we were both students at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO. We pledged the same fraternity and co-ran the chapter as president and vice president (he was good cop; I was incompetent cop).

I loved Andy, but was always a little bit concerned about him. He was a big dude who liked to eat fast food and drink beer (my kind of guy), but his metabolism was a little too flummoxed by his caloric intake. One day recently he woke up and realized that if he wanted to improve his way of life and live to be an old man, he was going to lose a shitload of weight through diet and exercise. He’s now a handsome man on is way to full fledged Adonis, and I’m goddamed proud of him.

He blogs about his weight loss and has been on television a few times. I blog about BBQ and beer, and if I’m ever on tv it will be a perp walk or me mooning the local weatherman on location at the pumpkin patch.

Andy moving from large to in charge
(Reposted without permission)

Out of deep respect for both Andy and the Republic of Texas, I’m duty-bound to thoughtfully consume these beers and discuss them in turn. Such is the burden of my hobby.

First in line are two beers from the Lakewood Brewing Company. Lakewood is based in Garland, Texas, which is apparently a part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis. Never been there, but the reasons to visit Dallas just went up +1.

Two samples from Lakewood

Two samples from Lakewood

Andy blessed me with both the Hop Trapp and Temptress. The former is a Belgian-Style IPA (sounds interesting) and the latter is an Imperial Milk Stout (oh yes oh yes).

Pertinent beer information

Pertinent beer information

I’ll review them in turn.

Hop Trapp: Belgian Style IPA

Pouring this beer, I can’t find any fruitiness in the beer’s bouquet. No fruit aroma, just the distinct hop scent of an IPA. I love the color and cloudiness in the glass (the wrong glass… I know).

Lakewood IPA

Lakewood IPA

Only upon sipping this beer did I pick up some exceptionally faint fruit notes in the hops. I could not have told you that this beer was Belgian-inspired if I was blind. Based on taste and texture alone, this is a pure and straightforward IPA.

What I liked was the restrained aftertaste and nearly nonexistent effervescence – this is a very refreshing beer. The bitterness is well-controlled (or that’s what I wrote last night while drinking this and other beers), and I really enjoyed it. This is a great summer beer. Hot deck, bugs buzzing around you, pull this out of a cooler. Nice IPA.

The Temptress: Imperial Milk Stout

I’m a milk stout fan… that’s no secret. I like the smoke, the roast, the chocolate flavors. Let’s see if Lakewood’s stands up to my standards.

Lakewood Milk Stout

Lakewood Milk Stout

The color is great, the head is nice. I love the toasty smell as the glass comes up to my nose. The stout flavor is strong with a nice smoky toasty flavor. It’s smooth over the tongue and brought a surprising hoppiness to the palate. The ABV above 9% means this is another sippin’ beer. I really enjoyed it.

What I liked about these beers is that Lakewood took two straightforward concepts (IPA and Stout) and did them really well. Do I think the IPA was Belgian-inpired? Meh. Was the stout an imperial milk stout? Maybe. They were, though, above average beers for IPAs and stouts. Both were supremely drinkable and very enjoyable.

My recommendation for Lakewood Brewing Company’s Hop Trapp and Temptress: Drink These Beers

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