Happy Birthday to Me!!

A little background

Traditionally my birthdays are fairly tragic… One year I wanted nothing more than to see a midnight showing of Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian”, and someone (who will remain nameless) instead through me a surprise party (not at the movie theater fyi) and invited 2 of my friends and all of his. He’s no longer with us. 😉 The following year, I took the reins of birthday shenanigans. Cooked a ton of food because about 30 friends RSVP’d, and only 4 people showed up…one was my boss. Mortifying.

That being said, the last few birthdays have improved dramatically! This year was especially eventful. My boyfriend, Justin, and I spent last weekend in New Braunfels to take in the pre-river season atmosphere and had a wonderful time. Yesterday we had a perfect meal at Uchiko! It was so delicious we saved our saki bottle as a memento.

But you’re here to read about the life of the Crappy Little Chuckwagon.

You CAN go home again

Chuck's Set Up

Chuck’s Set Up

I can tell you that my brisket is born of a long family tradition, but why take my word for it? Feast your eyes upon the inspiration for the Crappy Little Chuckwagon. My dad, Chuck (I know, right?), has built his BBQ empire from scratch. A barrel, an upside down cauldron, sheet metal, and several cinder blocks come together with home grown pecan logs and smoke to culminate in perfect tender meaty goodness.

The barrel has been welded into a traditional grill for direct heat grilling. The cauldron is where the smoke billows into the barrel for slow smoking with indirect heat. It was here that I learned the 2 part brisket process. 6 hours of smoking, and 6 hours braising. I use an aluminum pan and cover it with stock, tomato puree, vinegar, sugar, onion, and garlic. Chuck just throws it in the slow cooker. Same result, but in the CLK, we just don’t have the storage for a slow cooker when we have a perfectly good oven. 🙂

Not just good for a lesson or 2 in BBQ, Chuck also grinds his own pork for his signature “Three Stooges Sausage”; available in regular, jalapeno, and pan sausage. You can imagine the influence this had on the menu for The Crappy Little Chuckwagon. In this very back yard, I witnessed my dad smoke an entire pig stuffed with chickens that were stuffed with sausage and potatoes. For my birthday party, we had a smorgasbord of chicken, Three Stooges Sausage, squash, and asparagus.

The Spread

The Spread

Kind of a big deal

I’m not just saying this; I love the Dudley and Bob Show. Have listened to it every weekday morning since I moved to Austin 3 years ago. They’re funny, edgy, honest, neurotic, and more than a bid crazy in the very clinical sense of the word. Like family! 🙂

Hitting them up to be on “Snark Tank” (not to be confused with “Shark Tank”) just made good sense. When I heard from their producer, Daniel, asking if I could be on the show Wednesday, I’m not gonna lie, I peed a little. Pulling mental preparation from the years I spent looking over Chuck’s shoulder when he was the program manager at KRJH in Hallettsville, TX, and working through the night and early morning to make sure I had perfectly prepared Kolache Pork Burgers and Stuffed Texas Flatbread for them to sample… I’ll let you judge for yourself, but I think it went pretty well.

The Dudley and Bob Show

Now don’t worry. If you didn’t realize it was my birthday, I’ll accept sharing my Crappy Little Chuckwagon kickstarter page with gladness. The only thing better would be a donation in lieu of gifts. Xoxoxox!