Category Archives: Meat

Sate Your Thirst and Appetite at Smokestack

A sampler at Smokestack.

A sampler at Smokestack.


Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing Company in San Francisco specializes in B2B operations.

That’s beer-to-barbecue to you and me.

Think the usual suspects of ribs and chopped pork. But also the out-of-the-norm pastrami. Yes, New York deli-proud pastrami.

The soaring warehouse-like space in the Dogpatch neighborhood sports a bona fide brewery in the back, and a barbecue joint in the front that features an expansive bar complete with shelves of liquor stacked so high, the bartenders need to climb a tall wooden ladder to reach the top ones.

Done up in an abundance of reclaimed wood, exposed concrete walls and steel pipes, it’s a festive spot that draws a crowd, as I witnessed recently when I was invited in to dine as a guest.

On the top shelves is a zany display of assorted rubber work boots.

On the top shelves is a zany display of assorted rubber work boots.

You order at the counter, then find a seat among the several communal tables, until your food is brought to you.

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Doing the Herky-Jerky for Golden Island Jerky

Golden Island Jerky's Korean Barbecue (front) and Kung Pao (back) varieties.

Golden Island Jerky’s Korean Barbecue (front) and Kung Pao (back) varieties.


Beef jerky is not normally a go-to snack for me.

But I admit that when I received samples of Golden Island Jerky, I found myself coming back to them again and again, especially after a brutal spinning class at the gym.

Yes, leave it to me to reach not for a banana after a sweaty workout, but beef jerky.

But when you’re in need of a protein pick-me-up with a bit of salt and a lot of flavor, it hits the spot.

Golden Island originated in Taiwan in 1952. When the family immigrated to the United States in 1981, it started producing Asian meat products. In 2007, it debuted its jerky products.

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San Francisco Lamb Jam and A Food Gal Giveaway

Curry-yogurt grilled lamb chops. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

Curry-yogurt grilled lamb chops. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)


How do I love lamb?

Let me count the ways.

I love it so much that if it’s on a menu, I will always make a beeline for it over beef.

I love that my father would take the time on weekends to make his special curry lamb in a pressure cooker on the stovetop, complete with carrots, onions and turnips, all tinged with that golden colored sauce.

I love that my husband enjoys cooking a leg of lamb studded with garlic and rosemary in his Big Green Egg, which we can then enjoy with hummus and pita for nights on end.

And I love that Niman Ranch, when it was still owned by Bill Niman, would host an annual outdoor barbecue bash for media, friends and ranchers, where I was lucky to be introduced to the delights of grilled lamb riblets, which are tiny yet exquisitely juicy.

If you love lamb like I love lamb, then you don’t want to miss the seventh annual San Francisco Lamb Jam, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. July 17 at the Golden Gate Club.

The American Lamb Board’s multi-city, culinary cook-off competition will feature a dozen of the Bay Area’s best chefs vying for “Best in Show,” “People’s Choice,” and other best-of categories. The winner will face other Lamb Jam champions in the finale in September in New York.

The participating chefs will be:

Robert McCarthy – Thirstybear Brewing Company

Sophina Uong – Calavera

Francis Hogan – Sabio On Main

Jay Abrams – Bi-Rite Market

Alan Fullerton – Pacific Coast Brewing Co.

Brandon Rice – Rich Table

Parke Ulrich – Epic Steak

David Bazirgan – Dirty Habit

Wesley Shaw – Presido Social Club

Michael Cassady – Kuleto’s

John Griffiths – Bluestem Brasserie

Mike Espinoza – Hogs & Rocks

Attendees will get a chance to sample all the dishes, too. Tickets are $60 each. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to La Cocina, the non-profit incubator for low-income food entrepreneurs.

Bring an appetite for lamb. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

Bring an appetite for lamb. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

CONTEST: Two lucky Food Gal readers will each win a pair of tickets to the San Francisco Lamb Jam.

Entries, limited to those who can actually attend the July 17 event in San Francisco, will be accepted through midnight PST July 2. Winners will be announced July 4.

How to win?

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Fire Up The Grill For Chicken Thighs With Sweet Apricot-Hoisin Glaze

A crowd-pleaser: Grilled chicken with a sticky apricot-hoisin glaze.

A crowd-pleaser: Grilled chicken with a sticky apricot-hoisin glaze.


When planning a backyard summer barbecue, it’s not always easy to find a fuss-free, yet exciting-tasting dish that will satisfy all guests, from kids to adults.

“Chicken Thighs with Sweet Apricot-Hoisin Glaze” fits that bill perfectly.

Before grilling, the bone-in, skin-on thighs get rubbed with a simple mix of garlic powder, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and chile powder (just a smidge so as not to scorch tender palates).

A quick glaze comes together in a flash on the stovetop. It’s just a mixture of apricot preserves, hoisin sauce, lemon juice and minced fresh ginger that gets brushed on the chicken pieces as they cook.


The recipe is from the new “Weber’s New American Barbecue: A Modern Spin On The Classics” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), of which I received a review copy. It’s written by the Bay Area’s Jamie Purviance, a master griller who not only attended The Culinary Institute of America, but Stanford University, as well.

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Getting To Know Amarone

Dry-aged beef to go with a wine made with semi-dried grapes.

Dry-aged beef to go with a wine made with semi-dried grapes.


With a charred juicy steak, my drink of choice is usually Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon.

So when the folks at Masi Agricola asked me to try a sample of one of their Amarones with a prime steak instead, I was game to see what that pairing would be like.

It’s an unusual type of wine in that it’s made from semi-dried grapes. An age-old tradition in Italy’s northeast Veneto region, it involves laying out the grapes on drying lofts for up to four months to concentrate their sugars before pressing.

Masi Agricola is the leading producer of Amarone. Its Masi Agricola Costasera Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2011 ($62.99) is a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes. Of the three varietals, the Corvino is the only one to develop botrytis or noble rot, the prized fungus that causes the grapes to lose nearly all their water content, thus concentrating their flavors to the max.

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