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chingador 02-23-2013 03:23 PM

Chili Today, Hot Tamale; a big ole pot of Texas Red
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3 hours of tennis this morning and I should be horizontal right now. Instead of that, I will pull together a big pot of my famous (to me at least) chili. Oh, that and I will down several beers and pump some tunes through the house.

I have been making chili for my entire adult life. I always thought I made a great chili. My wife doesn't agree, but what the hell does she know? I have been tinkering and improving my chili for a long time. The recipe I use today, in my opinion, is the best I have ever made or tasted.

A couple notes on chili. First off, chili is a personal thing. A Guy in Texas is going to have a totally different opinion of what chili should be compared to a guy in another part of the country. Same goes for a guy in Cincy, or a guy who loves his Chili sauce in Detroit. And let's not even get started on the beans, no beans angle. With that in mind, I am going to say this: When it comes to Chili, there is the right way to do it, the wrong way to do it, and the way I do it.

I want to take a quick side-step before I begin. Since this is the BBQ-Brethren, there are a lot of people that believe that using pre-smoked meat is the way to go. I strongly disagree with that. For starters, when I eat chili, the flavor profile I want is pure meat and spices. To me, that is chili. If you add smoked meat, you are making an entirely different dish. To me when I am hungry for chili, adding smoke just ruins it for me. Don't get me wrong, it is a tasty stew, but in my humble opinion, it is not chili. Besides that, I want to round out the flavors in the chili. Braising meat in chili allows all of the collegen to break down in the chili, which adds flavor. I don't want to waste that break down on the pit.

Okay, if you are still with me, let's begin. Like the guy said in the movie, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the secret to Chili is the meat you use. I am not a cannibal, so instead of using human flesh, I will use the next best thing. I will use about 3.5lbs of brisket and 2 lbs or so of pork butt. Any beef or any pork will not work. Use brisket and butt. These are tough cuts of meat and the slow braising in liquid will add dimensions of flavor to your chili. Don't be lazy and use ground beef or pork. You have no idea what is in there. I like to cut my meat up into cubes of 1/4" or so. I will lubricate the meat with my liquid gold (garlic infused olive oil) and season liberally with Big Ron's chili mix (this is an excellent product by the way). Let this sit for at least 30 minutes to let the spices set into the meat.

chingador 02-23-2013 03:29 PM

continuing on
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Okay, we have the meat part covered. Now it is time to discuss the flavor we are going to impart. Flavor comes down to vegetables, wet ingredients and spices. I prefer to use fresh vegetables when I can instead of all dry ingredients. In competitions like Terlingua, you have to use all dry, but I am not competing here. I am just trying to make the best chili I can make.

I use chopped onion and chopped Jalepeno. About a cup of chopped onion and about a 1/2 cup or so of chopped jalepenos will do. My local grocery store has the prechopped jalepenos and onions already (I am lazy). I like to make sure that some seeds make it into the chili. That will help ramp up the spice. I also use tomato paste. For the liquid, I mainly use beef broth, beer and round out the rest with water. To bind things together and to round out the flavors, I use tomato paste.

I will add the dry spices in two dumps. What I am trying to do is create a base of flavor with these the vegetables, liquid and spice before I add the meat.

The gangs all here.....

chingador 02-23-2013 03:38 PM

and on
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Okay, let's start building our layers of flavor.

I start by sauteing the onions and jalepenos in liquid gold (regular olive oil will work) over medium heat. Once they are sweated out and starting to get translucent, I add chopped garlic and stir for a minute and turn the heat off (you do not want to brown the garlic. be careful). Once the garlic is soft, add the tomato paste. I do not use the entire can. Too much tomato is a bad thing in my opinion. I had a 12 oz can but only used about 7 or 8 ounces of it at most. Fry the tomato paste for a few minutes like you would do when making a pot of Sunday gravy (for you Italians).

chingador 02-23-2013 03:45 PM

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Now let's add the liquid. I add 32 ounces of beef broth and 2 beers at this time. Use whatever beer you are drinking. It really doesn't matter. A stronger flavor beer like an IPA might change the flavor a bit, but that is just personality. Today, I used Michelob Ultra. Like I said, it really doesn't matter. Just don't use a beer that is not fit to drink. At least in your opinion.

Now you have the base liquid for your chili and it is ready for some seasoning. now is when I add my first dump of spices. Here is what I have in my first dump:

3 tablespoons of Fiesta brand pinto bean seasoning
2 table spoons of Gebhart Chili Powder
1 tablespoon of Penzy's Ancho Shili Powder
1 tablespoon of Cumin
2 tablespoon of Wylers Chicken Bouillon crystals
1 tablespoon of Wylers Beef Bouillon crystals
1 teaspoon of Penzy's Chipotle Powder
1 packet of Sazon Goya (Achiote)
1 teaspoon of unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 pinch of brown sugar (enough to round out the flavors)

Okay, you guys not from Texas are probably wondering just what the hell Fiesta Brand Pinto Bean seasoning is. Let me tell you, this stuff is magic. It already has chili powder, cumin and other spices. It has a perfectly balanced flavor. I use this as the carrier for everything else I add. It is really mellow and doesn't stand out on its own. It is great. The non sweetened cocoa powder is something I just recently started using. This is without a doubt my key ingredient. It really fills the gaps between all of the other flavors. It is an extremely important ingredient. A better step would be to use Mexican chocolate, but in addition to being lazy, I am cheap and forgetfull and didn't get any when I was at the store. My wife's Ghirardelli unsweetened will work. An additional note on Mexican chocolate: It contains cinnamon. Some people do add cinnamon to their chili. I do not.

Another thing you can do at this point is to add a decent chug of bourbon to the chili. This is a nice touch. I will do this from time to time. It adds another nice dimension of flavor. You can also add tequila. I am going to keep things relatively simple.

Add that to the liquid base and you now have your flavor base for the chili... We are now ready to add some meat

chingador 02-23-2013 03:49 PM

and on again
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Okay, we are ready for the meat. The meat we chopped up earlier has been sitting out absorbing those great flavors from Big Ron's Chili mix.

I like to brown the meat in small batches in a skillet. I start with the pork and move on to the brisket. When the meat is browned off, add to the chili. Add everything. The rendered fat and water that comes out. A lot of flavor there. Use it.

Okay, once all of that is added to the chili, we are almost ready to roll. One more note: I am using a lot of meat, so I will have to adjust the liquid. I want about two inches of liquid over the meat. I added two beer cans of water today. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours.

We still have more stuff to add later so I will see you guys later.

Bludawg 02-23-2013 03:58 PM

That is very close to my Rawhide Throat chili :becky:

cholloway 02-23-2013 04:13 PM

Chili on! I like where you're goin' with that.

chingador 02-23-2013 05:37 PM

back again
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Okay the chili has been on for about 2 hours. I am losing track to be honest. It doesn't matter. At this point, you want to pull some chunks of meat out and test them. You want the meat to be tender and on the verge of breaking apart. The meat in my chili isn't quite there, which is cool.

I did forget one ingredient on the first dump, however:

1 tsp of Mexican oregano. You can also go with 1 tbs if that is your thing.

Here is how the chili looks right now ready for the second dump. as you will see, the color has deepened a bit:

chingador 02-23-2013 05:40 PM

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Now it is time for the second dump. Here is what I put in it:

1 tbs Penzy's medium hot chili powder
1 tbs Penzy's ancho chili powder
1 tbs cumino
1 tbs paprika (for color)
1 tbs Penzy's granulated garlic
2 tsp Aleppo pepper (from Turkey- concentrated and earthy. nice)
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 packet Sazon Goya (achiote)

chingador 02-23-2013 05:45 PM

Okay the second dump is in the chili. To counterbalance the newly added spices, I add another pinch or two of brown sugar. You do not want any sweetness in the chili. Just add enough to take the edge off of the spices.

At this point, this isn't a 3 alarm chili. It is spicy, but the heat is a low and slow burn. If you want it spicier, adjust with cayenne pepper. This is also the point where you want to adjust the salt. I used the salted beef broth, so at this point, I believe my chili is salty enough for me. Besides, I am sure the pinto bean seasoning has salt, but I am not 100% on that, and I am not going to look at the label (lazy mod)

At this point, all of the spices that will go in have already gone in. The only thing left is to finish off the chili.

chingador 02-23-2013 05:47 PM

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Okay, how does the Chingador finish off his chili?

Two things.

for starters, let's have a word about beans in chili. Texas chili does not have beans in it, right? For the most part, yes, but there is a little known cheat on the competition circuit. Some people take a can of Ranch Style Beans run them through a processor, then add to the chili. This tightens the broth up a bit, adds another dimension of flavor and softens the flavors of the spices a bit further to help put everything in balance.

chingador 02-23-2013 05:52 PM

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Okay, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Do not add the pureed beans to the chili until the meat is fully tender. This is a finishing step. Once the meat is fully tender add the beans. By tender, I mean that some of the meat will be breaking apart but some to most cubes will be intact, but almost ready to fall apart.

My second finishing step is to add corn tortilla crumbs. My local HEB happens to sell them. If your grocer does not, you can simply grind up some tortilla chips in a food processor or blender. I do not measure just how much, but it is probably a 1/4 cup that ends up going in. This will further tighten the broth and thicken the chili to the point where it will be perfect. The tortilla crumbs also add a very nice earthy back-flavor to the chili.

chingador 02-23-2013 06:16 PM

all done
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Okay, the meat is fully tender and the bean puree has been added and stirred in. Once that was incorporated, I added almost a 1/3 cup of the tortilla crumbs. I ended up adding a little salt and a little more brown sugar. Perfect.

I would love to see some of you guys try this recipe and let me know what you think.

I hope you enjoyed this thread.

RangerJ 02-23-2013 06:47 PM

Great write up! I'll have to give this a try next time I make chili.

PorkQBBQ 02-23-2013 06:56 PM

Thanks for taking the time to write that up & outline your process... I'm in the mood for chili now! I will definitely give it a go next time I make chili.

Quick question about the "Ranch Style" beans. I know these are a Texas thing, but how do they differ in flavor etc... compared to your regular Kidney beans? Being on the east coast I've never seen them in the grocery stores around here.

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