This year’s cooks

Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 5.21.06 PMWith the smell of hickory smoke still filling the beard and a digestive tract that continues to be uncertain about where it has been it’s time to give the summary of this year’s Rib Event. A kinder and gentler set of sauces this year kept us from the problems encountered when ribs are in heat…

Talking smart- note the cooler
talking smart
Still talking- note cooler again

sixplattersThirty two adults and hoards of smaller creatures attended this year’s last minute event with two dogs, six cooks and a new trophy brought to the event by last year’s winner- Jeff.  A new feature this year was the number of  people who unexpectedly  stopped by to see what kind of bargains we had at the “garage sale”! Seems that to the idle passer-by the driveway full of working smokers had the appearance of a rummage sale. Although, one guy did stop to ask questions about the various kinds of grills we were using to help him make a decision. We gave him a beer and shared our vast knowledge of smokers and grills. Unfortunately, it seems, he is likely to buy a Green Egg. Makes ya wish you had given him a Blue Moon.

Cooking started around 10:00 and continued right up to the judging at 5:00 pm (17:00). Here are the results in the order they were judged:

  • Doug swore to no secret ingredient with just a hint of heat and some pre-brining.
  • Brad went with a 1-2-3  rub-glaze-mop with a hint of mint and bourbon.
  • Jeff went with a bit of heat in his rub with a final mop to kick things a bit further.
  • Isaac went with a marinade and mop using habanero peppers and pears. He also tried a hybrid smoker, mini grill treatment.
  • Kyle forsook  the smoker altogether and went with the slow, dry, fall-off-the-rib treatment on the Weber.
  • Trevor went for the long smoker treatment with a bit of root beer in the sauce, not having any cola around the house.
Isaac’s 3D mop pile

underwayIn the end Jeff took the popular vote and the Judges Overall Award. He is seen at the left checking out the potential changes in the barometric pressure that might impact the timing of the mop sauce. To complete the sweep he also walked away with the most heat nod from the judges. Isaac is still wondering how his habaneros ended up in second heat. Hard to tell what will happen when ribs are in heat.

Nonetheless, all ribs were deemed more than edible with Kyle taking second overall and Isaac third. For those doing the stats for the event baby backs were the ribs of the day thanks to a sale at Rainbow Foods although we noted that Cub Foods has ribs on sale this week as well. Only two of the contestants made spare ribs.

Klubb game underway
Klubb game underway

The day was sunny and breezy, perfect to keep the coals alight and the games fun. The usual mix of beverages arrived with the special addition of some Kinship IPA tapped in the garage ‘frig. Side dishes showed up as well with the winner being Missy’s remarkable seven layer bars. However, the hit of the day seemed to be Isaac’s retro Schmidt Beer aluminum cooler with built-in bottle opener. Adam was unable to join us a a cook this year but made a fine addition to the judging staff. Thanks to those who filled in as judges. Serious work for the seriously committed.

Trays ready for judging
Trays ready for judging

As soon as we can pry it from them we’ll put the top three recipe’s on the site. Note that there are no recipes posted from last year’s winners. Hmmm…

IMG_0343In a hasty short notice fashion we are formally announcing our annual Rib Cook-off the weekend of June 29. The Saturday event will be the same as before with a group of judges deciding on the winners in a series of categories and the public choosing the ribs of the people. No big rule changes this year with the exception that meat may arrive rubbed and marinated. Should be fun, if you are attending bring along a side dish or some beverage to share. Eating and judging begins at 5:00 with people beginning to arrive by mid-afternoon.

Look for items from the event here. The group is warming up with a discussion of the rules and such at the Blue Door this week. We’ll get a posting up as soon as we can.

Past rib events are at this link

Last years judge's row!
Last years judge’s row!

republicThe crew had to find a burger joint where Isaac would finally find a burger that he could enjoy. After a brief search the crowd agreed that the Republic on Seven Corners might serve our needs. Mom earth helped by blessing us with a beautiful 75 degree evening and a West Bank campus full of students just excited to be able to be outside. It was tough to walk by the remarkable Town Hall Brewery on the way to the place.

IMG_0281Since we came for burgers the group covered the burger menu. Offerings from blue cheese to cheddar+bacon to Guac+Salsa and the fried egg topped wonder were all delicious with no complaints from the team. The side is lettuce (seriously) so we ordered the sweet potato fries and regular fries as sides. The side sauces were all good with the group loving the homemade sorta catsup sorta  vinagarette. Our concern with the place is that all burgers were in the 9 -12 dollar range which is fine for the hipsters and the urban elite but for regular guys looking for a great burger it seems a little silly, especially without some fried starch included in the price. It also seemed a bit odd for a college bar. But then, maybe that’s why college loans are so large these days.

On a more positive note, the beer selection was large and had a good run of local and not so local fermentations. Again, pricey with many pints running somewhere around $6-$8. Not a single Summit on the list which is always suspect in this area. Nonetheless, good selection and the flight of three 8 oz glasses for $10 was a good buy.

IMG_0282For those wondering, we believe that tIsaac is still searching for the good burger. His expectations are not high. A good burger will do. We are guessing that on our next outing he will once again find a good looking sandwich from the menu. Perhaps the rueben or some turkey concoction.

We had a great evening out with conversation running after sundown: and that counts for something. But in the future, when needing to meet someone on seven corners, there are a couple of better values available.



To wrap up the run west I’ve got a happy ending to report, but more of that later. After the Outlaw Saloon adventure we moved west to Reno. Stayed at the El Dorado ( again, a Priceline find) and wandered over to the Tractor Restaurant in Hurrah’s for a late dinner. Way too much food as the bacon infused waffle pile was mounded into a dish that was easily eight inches off the plate and the homemade hash platter was nearly as high with a tasty crab cake on top. We washed it all down with some corked Belgium, leaving the casino way too full.

The Happy Ending
But then, the happy ending. To wrap up things in an appropriate western way we stopped by the In and Out Burger in Daly City. It was on the way to the airport and finally have us a chance at a remarkable burger and collection of fries. Kyle tells me that the fries are cut just before they hit the fat and they tasted like it. We got the burgers “animal style” which added thousand island, onions, and some other needed additions. A great way to end the road trip.

Look for a normal Guys Night soon. Stay hungry.

So, the need to visit a real saloon got to be too great. Kyle and I decided to travel to Rock Springs, Wyoming to check out the saloon at the Outlaw Inn. Perfect setting with the only wait staff in the room having been at the job for a few decades and the locals collecting about the bar in cowboy boots and hats.

No taps but a reasonable lager from up the highway and the never miss Sam Adams lager available by the bottle- don’t think of asking for a glass. The music was a curious but good blend of classic rock and current country with our favorite being the country classic “but I just want to talk about me”.

the food
The chef downstairs at the restaurant made the meal and did not disappoint, although our Mancuisine pals may be less than happy with us. Rather than the usual burgers and fried goodness we went for a German trout platter and a blackened chicken Caesar salad. Both were great and will sit well with us during the long day in the car ahead. Turns out the cook invents something he’s never made before every Thursday and the Trout was this week’s offering. Served with thin potato pancakes and a curious mix of cabbage, tomato, and other stuff it really hit the spot.

Although the gal at the bar did ask what salad dressing we wanted on the Caesar salad she was great in all respects. Especially given that’s he had not been able to sneak outside for a smoke for the last three hours (as told to hotel staff stopping in for a beer before going home).

Given that last night we ate at a Mexican place called Carlos O’Kelly’s in Lincoln, NE (that’s right- O’Kelly’s) at least the outlaw name on the saloon seemed appropriate.

With the rush of the yearly Chili Cookoff Event behind us and the digestive systems back on track it might be good to give the highlights of the evening and tell the tale of the seventh annual event. Imagine that, out first post for this yearly celebration described a get together at Trevor and Missy’s place with six chilies and one judge (Scott).

From the first event!
From the first event!

Let’s do this in order. The group gathered as the bakery closed. The cooks came in the back door and slipped their chili into a soup warmer. Three warmers gave NINE chilies all numbered anonymously and waiting for the crowd.  Guests started arriving with a six pack of beer/ cider/ soda/ water with some folks walking through the door with a side dish. Isaac navigated the closing of the restaurant inviting the last couple customers to join us for the event. Somehow none took him up.

The crowd is always a great mix of ages, lifestyles, occupations, and connections to the cooks.  We’ve had some issues with the concrete sequential nature of the crowd in the past with many somehow needing to start with chili number one and tending to drain the lower numbered buckets first. The instructions to dig in were given with an extra suggestion to start anywhere and a quick plug for GS cookie sales. Both the chili eating and the cookie sales went well.

Here’s some details on the nine chilies (in no particular order)

Cook Chili Comments and Ingredients
Adam Adam claims that his secret ingredient was tomatoes
Brad This chili have homemade salsa and mole sauce
Carson Carson’s was the guest chili inspired by his dad’s chili it boasted beer and tabasco
Doug Doug often has the most heat. This year he worked with the amazing Habeneros
Isaac Isaac stepped up the meats using chirizo, turkey, beef combined with great northerns
Jeff Jeff went for Texas style chile using chunks of amazing brisket
Kyle Kyle went with ground turkey and plenty of heat (won the heat award)
Trevor Trevor’s winning entry added hominy and pumkin among other surprises
Turtle Bakery The Turtle donated at great chili made by one of their cooks
Cornbread diversity
Cornbread diversity

Eating started at six with the results announced around eight. All chilies went well with nearly equal amounts of each taken during the night. Something for everyone! Trevor won the event this year with Kyle winning the heat category.

The cornbreads were a new event this year and will certainly be continued next year. Here’s some details on the selections. Just like the chilies, each one was unique and well eaten.

Cook Cornbread Comments and Ingredients
Joan Joan made the mix with creamed corn and olives
Lisa Lisa baked the bread in cast iron with jalepenos
MacKenzie Macenzee blended cheddar cheese, creamed corn, and Jalepenos
Missy Missy had pumkin puree added to the bread
Pam Pam slipped in nutmeg and walnuts
Trina Trina used pumkin bread spices including ginger to make a sweet bread

Thanks to everyone who showed up.

Hope to see all of you at the Ribfest event next summer.

Nine Chili selections!
Nine Chili selections!
Cornbread diversity
Cornbread diversity

The 2013 ManCuisine ChiliFest is in the books! Another great turnout and easily the best combination of chilies we have seen yet. Nine entries including eight member entries and an invited guest covered the whole range from ground beef wonder through big chunk brisket. Nothing this year was silly hot but all the chilies had some kind of heat meets flavor. The drawing for next year’s guest gave the nod to Brandon, we’ll look forward to his creation

The winning recipe this year was Trevor’s with his Chili taking all categories but heat., The heat category went to Kyle with his ground turkey extravaganza. Trevor’s chili was a modification of last year’s continuing his hominy along with beans and a mad mixture of ingredients including rib meat that somehow tasted like chicken, but then, doesn’t everything. Trevor’s winning recipe is below.

In addition to the chilies, packets of corn bread were distributed to the spouse/ significant others and each hacked the basic recipe to provide corn breads ranging from great classic jalapeño pepper recipes to one with ginger and pumpkin spices. All were wonderful and the corn bread challenge will certainly become a yearly event.

The Turtle Bread Company on 42nd was a great host again this year. thanks for all the support. Please consider the Turtle Bakery sometime for a great breakfast or for some good coffee and bakery goods when you are near any of their locations.

IMG_0204 IMG_0212 20130217-185411.jpg

Winning Chili 2013

2 lbs boneless pork rib, cubed
1 lb smoked Bacon
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes (don’t drain)
1 large can of hominy, drained
1 can dark kidney beans, drained
1 can yellow corn
10 diced mini sweet peppers
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large red onion, large chunks
3 jalapeños in adobo sauce, diced
1/2 cup apple juice
1 packet Sazon Goya powder
Pumpkin purée (half can)
chipotle chile powder
cayenne chile powder
adobo seasoning
oregano (mexican, common, or both)

This week the Mancuisine group will be assembling to have a great collection of BBQ ribs. Each member will be stopping by a favorite BBQ site on the way to Scott’s, arriving with a rack and a side. If anyone has a suggestion of a Twin Cities BBQ place worthy of a stop please let us know in the replies below.

Mancuisine members will be posting the sites they are claiming as well. First come, first taken on the locations. As you’ll notice Isaac has already claimed the mighty Ted Cook’s  from his old Neighborhood. Scott has taken an entirely different approach.

Here’s the early claims (updated post event). Check the replies as they come in for the rest:



  • Rack- Nye’s Polonaise (Do the Poles really make ribs?)
  • Side- Sauerkraut and boiled potato



  • Rack- Baker’s Ribs – full rack, St. Louis Cut, Texas Style with a delicious sauce on side.
  • Side- Smokey Baked Beans & Tomato Basil Salad


  • Rack- Baldy’s BBQ
  • Side- Delicious cornbread & Potato salad (white variety with bacon)


  • Meat- Pulled Pork from 
  • Side-


  • Meat- Wings from B-Dubs (four varieties: Hot, Hot BBQ, Asian Zing, Mango Habanero)

Great turnout with almost all in attendance.  The ale selection included two varieties of Oskar Blues, Bells Two-Hearted, Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ (although the discussion was more on whether Kyle inspired the Lagunitas Sucks! brew after interactions with the head brewmaster when living in CA), and another sampling of Isaac’s fine Alt homebrew as he attempts to perfect his recipe.  All in attendance reached a state of meat coma, followed by random YouTube watching, Spam flavored Macadamia nut eating, and bourbon sampling around Scott’s fabulous bar set-up in his NE pad.


With 10-14” of snow fresh on our yards, little did we know that going into this night of the third largest 24 hour snowfall in Minnesota history would have us travelling to three locations in one night. After all, it has been awhile since the men have gathered!

gophercorkThe roadways brought about a staggered and partial arrival to our only planned location for the night, the Gopher Bar in St. Paul. An irreverent place famous for its coneys.Two of the men walked up to the door to find it… locked. All the lights were off, no note on the door and no notice on the web. With a wind chill in the single digits a quick decision was made to hike a few blocks  north to Cork’s Irish Pub.

Cork’s is a hotel restaurant, to begin with. The atmosphere was welcoming and many groups of friends gathered, decided to defer the cold until warm in the stomach and imbibed the liquid courage to brave the bitterness outside. This place has an Irish bar feel – the dark wood, wall hangings and a good number of people-pleasing taps, all within the mainstream producers. Happy hour goes until 6, and as the waiter put it when asked, “pretty much everything is half off”. A round of beers, and orders of scotch eggs, chicken wings and walleye fingers were made as more members trickled in from there extended snow-delayed commute, fingers numb from the cold. The food was worth staying for, but as we had more members still traversing the roadways we decided to go to a place closer to them and with more character for us.

We moved quickly back to our vehicles and caravanned south on West 7th to Joe and Stan’s Bar. One of our members was brought to a halt on a bridge by the car ahead of him and got stuck on the ice! Before his delayed entrance we could only guess what happened to make him pause in our gastronomical journey.

Joe and Stan’s is quite the place. There are locals, stragglers and a helpful bar staff that occupy the room. It had the rural bar feel with a city bar comfort for freshman groups to the bar such as we.  We took over the area next to the pull-tabs and ordered a round, more wings, and the necessary onion rings. Everyone at the table ordered something different, an unusual occurrence for a Guys Night Out. Broasted chicken, multiple types of burgers and a rack of ribs occupied our table as we gorged ourselves on the plethoral variety. The broasted chicken was glorious, the type that when belches happen later in the evening, as they often do, the reoccurring taste does not come as a deterrent for more, but a beckoning to return to its origin. They have nightly food specials and decently cheap beer that made our wallets happy after the bill arrived.

It was a journey from start to finish and I do believe that we ended in the right place. As stated during the night, the Gopher Bar is our Sasquatch – we believe it exists but have yet to experience the Coney because of its elusiveness, and judging by their web site, they prefer it that way. -Isaac

Just heard about this remarkable burger chain that claims to be 100% climate compensated.  It’s called Max Burgers and the food looks and sounds great. Trouble is, I heard about this from Karin in Sweden. Sounds like a great road trip to me! Let me know if anyone is up for the run.

Otherwise, perhaps Karin and/or someone from her family will have to write the review and send it along. A guest reviewer from another continent would be great!  Who knows, maybe maybe Andreas, Claus and certainly Tina may be next?