Tasty Tuesday–Wing Runner STL

Time for a look at the newest concept from the good people over at Beast Craft BBQ/ Beast Butcher and Block…Wing Runner STL!

Who doesn’t love chicken wings, am I right? I was intrigued when Beast Butcher and Block announced a new sub-restaurant providing delivery and carryout wings running out of their St. Louis location, and I was ecstatic when I found out that it was also going to be offered right here in Belleville!

Wing Runner currently offers 10 different flavors of wings (plus a cauliflower “wing” for the non meat-eaters who darken the doorstep of a BBQ joint). Sides are very limited, and because it’s a separate business, you can’t just tack items from Beast onto your order. We went with a bulk pack of 50 wings (there are seven of us, after all, but we didn’t finish quite all of them in one sitting!)…you can get up to five flavors, but for our first visit, we chose the four we were most interested in.

First up, my choice, the roasted garlic butter wings:

Of course we had to try the traditional mild buffalo (they also have hot buffalo, but not all of our children are open to that level of spice):

The spicy BBQ mustard was another popular request:

And the char siu, featuring sesame seeds, was our “wild” choice:

Well, not as wild at the habanero jerk…we got a 5-piece order of those to try alongside the other flavors.

Have you ever seen a better-looking plate of wings?!?

OK, on to the flavors. The habanero jerk was HOT. Like, scary hot. Even Ryan, who is the biggest fan of heat in the house, couldn’t eat more than two wings. So, if you order those, just be aware that your face may melt off. They’re excellent…I know that on a culinary level. But my taste buds would not thank me if I ate them again!

The other four flavors were all a huge hit. I don’t think I could pick a favorite if I tried…they were all delicious in their own way. The char siu was especially amazing…it was such an unexpected flavor on wings, and that just made it taste better. The spicy mustard had a great kick, and I loved the actual mustard seeds on the wings. The garlic butter had just the flavor I was hoping for, with the pleasant addition of cotija cheese crumbled over them. And the mild buffalo was exactly what you want out of a traditional buffalo wing.

I’m hoping it won’t be too long before our next order. I really want to try the shishito lime wings, and the fish sauce caramel sounds just unusual enough to be delicious. I’m also pretty sure I need to try the dry rub wings, too, and any seasonal varieties they offer in the future! It’s always exciting to see what new ideas David Sandusky and Beast come up with, and they never fail to disappoint!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ at Home

We’re “back home” from our virtual vacation, and I don’t feel like cooking…so let’s take a look at Beast Craft BBQ’s family take home packs!

To be honest, more often than not, we would get Beast to go, even before COVID-19 shut everything down. I was still excited when they debuted their new family take home packs (they have offered up to three varieties, to feed two, four, or four to six), though, because it’s so much simpler than taking orders from seven people, and trying to sort it all out once we get it home!

So here’s the deal. A family take home pack for four comes with two pounds of the main course (pork, brisket, turkey, hot links, or smoked cauliflower), one pint of slaw, two sides (one quart each, and you can choose from pit beans, potato salad, bacon mac, cauliflower, and my favorite, sprouts with belly), a half pint of pickle slices, and eight tortillas. We have done this twice, and each time ordered two of the packs (turkey, bacon mac, and sprouts, plus an extra side of beans), to feed our family of seven.

Seriously, have you ever seen a more delicious looking plate of BBQ?!?

Now, even though this meal, as ordered, in theory feeds eight, we have managed to make it last for two dinners both times we ordered, and believe me, no one went hungry at any of the meals. The only thing we ran out of the first night each time was the tortillas, which makes perfect sense, and even though Beast has the most amazing tortillas, let’s face it, they’re not the star of the meal!

I really love that Beast has added this option for this weird time of carry-out/delivery only, and I wouldn’t complain if it stuck around once the dining room opens again, because it’s the perfect option for our family!

Tasty Tuesday–The Wine Tap (At Home)

Ryan and I have visited The Wine Tap on Main Street in downtown Belleville several times, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared the experience (which was lovely every time we went). As is the case for every restaurant in our area, the dining room is currently closed, but last week, they had a carryout special of charcuterie and cheese, so we decided to support a local business and give it a try.

As you can see, I took extra care to plate everything so it looked nice, and almost like we were at a restaurant. The cheese and meat selections were excellent (I love getting to try new things!), and I was amused by the spring-themed tulip and butterfly-shaped crackers. We were also able to get a bottle of wine (Zinfandel) to go with it, which was an extra-special treat.

Obviously, this isn’t something we can afford to do regularly if they keep offering options like this, but it was nice to support a local place in a tough time, and fun to feel fancy at home!

Tasty Tuesday–Bobunk 2020

“Ah, the days of Bobunk…”

If you’ve watched the 1990s Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, you’ve probably heard of Bobunk, the holiday that Salem the cat erased. Since we don’t know anything about how Bobunk was celebrated (thanks Salem!), we decided to make it a special family holiday that used to be know as Seamus Day. I’m not going to belabor the point, but we realized this year that we weren’t really looking forward to it, and we decided that we should just let it go, and have happy memories of Seamus Days gone by, instead of forcing a celebration and possibly ruining our memories of the holiday.

But we still wanted a holiday. And then it occurred to me (and I really don’t know why it took this long!)…Bobunk should be a celebration of our favorite restaurant, Beast Craft BBQ! And Beast has the added bonus of now having two locations to choose from, (or we can just bring the food home which is what we did on Sunday).

I don’t think we’re going to have a fixed date for this holiday like we did with Seamus Day, although I do like the idea of observing it the weekend after Valentine’s Day as we did this year. I do know that whatever day Bobunk falls on, we’ll continue to have something to look forward to every February!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Sweet and Spicy Turkey Melt

It’s been a while since I tried something new at Beast Craft BBQ. I don’t actually even know how long the Sweet and Spicy Turkey Melt has been on the menu, but I just noticed it over the weekend, and once I did, I knew I was going to have to try it out sooner or later. As it turns out, it was sooner!

The Sweet and Spicy Turkey Melt of course features a generous serving of Beast’s amazing turkey. But it also has bacon jam (yes, please!), jalapeños, Swiss cheese, and tomato aioli, all on wonderfully delicious (and perfectly toasted!) sourdough bread.

In my experience, when a restaurant claims to have a “sweet and spicy” item, usually one of those two tastes is more prominent, and the other is just a vague suggestion. It’s no surprise to me, though, that Beast strikes the balance just right. There’s a pleasant blast of heat from the jalapeños, but that is tempered by the wonderful flavors of the jam and aioli, which pair together beautifully. Oh, and I had to get a side of Brussels sprouts to go with it (still my favorite, and what I usually order, but at least I’ve tried a few other sides here and there!).

I’d say this is my new favorite, and it was while I was eating it, but let’s face it…pretty much everything at Beast is my favorite, and I’m not even going to bother trying to choose a single top item anymore!

Chickadee Thursday

Yesterday before catechesis, Chickadee and I stopped in downtown Belleville to check out one of the new art installations that was recently painted on a building as part of the Belleville Mural Project. It is lovely and vibrant, and Chickadee was excited that she got to be part of the scene…an interactive design is such a fun idea! I can’t wait to see what murals pop up on Main Street next!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: #beercheesesteak

Last month when we went to the new Beast Craft BBQ location in St. Louis, Beast Butcher and Block, I was excited to see the #beercheesesteak on the menu, because it’s something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time! Aren’t I lucky that it’s something that has now shown up at both locations?

So here’s the deal. Chopped brisket (which of course, I already knew I loved), tallow, beer cheese, and onions. On that amazing bread Beast uses. And I got some of Beast’s delicious fries to go with it. Perfect dinner. Melt-in-your-mouth perfection. And I didn’t really understand how tasty tallow is before Beast. Actually, I’m not sure I’ve really ever had tallow prior to Beast!

Every time I try something new at Beast (no matter the location…I love that I can say that now!), I figure that’s it, there’s just no way they can top that. They always do, though, and I am constantly waiting to see what they come up with next! And now that they’re on both sides of the river, if you’re in the St. Louis metro, you have no excuse not to taste just what that might be for yourself!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Pork Belly Pastrami

Belleville’s Beast Craft BBQ has daily specials, as you might expect from a restaurant, and I’ve reviewed many of them in the years they’ve been open. But every now and again, they have something extra special, something so unique that it’s only around for a day or two, and you have to jump at the chance to get it before they sell out. Over the weekend, they offered such an item, a pork belly pastrami sandwich topped with dill cucumber salad, on sourdough, plus fries:

So, here’s the thing. When the owner of Beast messages you to let you know about the special, and tells you to get there early to try it, you really have to listen to him. So even though Ryan was out all day on Saturday (with our only vehicle), he found some time to swing by and pick one up for me.

That was a good call.

It’s obvious that I’ve liked everything I’ve tried at Beast, and have many favorites. This sandwich was extra special, though. The meat just melted in my mouth. It was so tender and so flavorful, and then when you add in the crunch of the cucumber salad…it’s definitely now one of my Beast favorites! I don’t know if they’ll ever bring it back, but if they do, I’m certainly going to have to get it again, and this time I know that I need to be there when they open, because I’m pretty sure Ryan got some of the last of it they had on Saturday, and that was at lunchtime!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: HAM!

I have a confession to make. I’m not really into ham. I mean, it’s fine for sandwiches…I don’t hate it or anything. But I’ve never really considered it to be special enough for a holiday like Christmas or Easter (even though Ryan suggests it almost every year), which is why it’s almost unheard of for a ham to make an appearance at our holiday table.

But this year, I was wanting to try something different, and I also wanted something that wouldn’t be too much work for me, because I knew that by the time our fancy Christmas dinner rolled around, my injured ankle and I would be pretty worn out (spoilers: I was right…I didn’t even decorate the table or use the china). So I decided to order a Compart Family Farms Cherry Smoked Duroc Bone-In Ham from our favorite local restaurant, Beast Craft BBQ.

So, yeah, I’ve changed my mind about ham for the holidays. This was truly the most delicious ham any of us ever tasted. The flavor from the smoke was just right…not overpowering, but definitely noticeable. The meat was so tender, and even though we didn’t really know what we were doing carving it, it cut so easily. And there was so much meat…we had ham dinners two nights, plus ham sandwiches for lunches, and I used the bone to make a great pot of bean soup, which fed us for another two dinners…and I’ve still got a bag of ham left in the freezer for a pasta dish I’m going to make next week! (Did I mention that there were nine of us, including four adults and three teenagers with big appetites, at Christmas dinner?) So even though it was a little expensive up front, we definitely got our money’s worth!

Here ends another happy tale of a delicious meal from Beast Craft BBQ. I’m always looking forward to seeing what they’re going to come up with next (I can’t wait to check out Beast Butcher & Block when it opens in the city this year!), and wondering what new menu item I might try in the future (right now, I can’t stop thinking about the #beercheesesteak, which includes bread browned in Wagyu tallow…pretty sure I’m going to have to eat that at some point!). We’ve been eating at Beast for four years now(!!!)…pretty much since they first opened, and I can still honestly say that everything we’ve tried (which has been a lot of stuff!) has been excellent!