Food, Wine & Just Good Living With SaucyJoe

It started with a love of food, wine & fun and blossomed into a maddening pursuit of the best recipes, techniques, grills, smokers, wines, crafted beers, rubs, marinades and sauces... We do more than play with our meat though -- we review and discuss all things cooking, drinking, reading, laughing and living at SaucyJoe's.

Friday, February 29, 2008

It's Texas Chili Time!

Last week, the Dr. became ensnared in that great chili debate: Beans, or No Beans. The Dr., having spent his young adult life in Texas, learned what great chili tastes like. AND he says NO BEANS! However, there are many folks here in Iowa (including the lovely Linda Sullivan) who say BEANS WITH YOU! So the Dr. set out to show them the errors of their ways.

With the aid of Mild Bill's Spices, found at I found the recipe which won at last year's World Chili Cookoff Championship in Terlingua, TX. This recipe is titled 'Deb's Hot Rod Chili' by Debbie Ashman, just struck my fancy. Also, Mild Bill's sells almost all of the spices found in this recipe. So, I got on line and placed my order.

Now, Mild Bill's offers several different package sizes, and I didn't want to run out when making this recipe. So...I ordered in the medium package size (5 oz). You would think that someone with a Chemical Engineering degree and a lifetime of measuring things would understand how much he was ordering, BUT NO! In my defense, I have mostly been dealing with liquid measurements during my lifetime (mostly in the 12oz variety), and I didn't have a feel for solid measurements. Needless to say, when I got my order from Mild Bill's, I realized I could supply a small 3rd world country with chili for the next year! Here is a picture of all of the spices I ordered:

I'll tell you, I am delighted with the service and quality provided by Mild Bill's. The spices arrived in just a few days, and they were fabulous! The value for teh price was also very good. If I wanted to buy this much spice volume in any store, I would pay over $200. My entire order including shipping was less than $80. Now, on to the chili...

First, the meat...In Iowa, most folks use fine ground beef for chili meat. In Texas, most chili uses coarse ground meat, including lamb, venison, beef & pork. I decided to use bottom round beef, cut in 1/2 inch cubes. I bought tenderized bottom round beef and sliced it wile waiting endlessly for the Mediacom service desk to answer their phone (but that's another story). I decided to use my cast iron dutch oven for brewing this masterpiece, so I heated it up on the stove to 'grey' the meat(in other words, fry the meat until it is grey on all sides).

As you can see, the dutch oven's legs keep the ccoking surface above the cooking element. This helps even out the heat rising to the dutch oven. The cast iron of this dutch oven is thick enough to distribute the heat well too.

Cubed meat before and after 'greying'

I then added 8 oz of El Pato hot tomato sauce. Those of you living in Texas may be able to find this in the local supermarket, but in Iowa, I had to go down to our local Mexican restaurant and food market to find this smooth, flagrant sauce containing jalepenos, onions and tomatos blended into a sauce.

Combined with 15oz of beef stock, the mixture was brought to a medium boil.

Then the first dump of spices was added:

1 Tbsp onion powder*
2 tsp garlic powder*
2 tsp beef crystals
1 tsp of chicken crystals
1 Tbsp of Pacific Beauty Paprika*
1 Tbsp of Mexene Chili Powder
½ tsp cayenne*
¼ tsp black pepper*
1 package Sazon Goya*

NOTE: Mexene powder cannot be found in Cedar Rapids, Iowa! If you can't find it, add 1 par cumin, 1 part oregano and 1 part chili powder.

Here is the first dump:

Man! The smell was fabulous!

I set the temperature for a medium boil, and held it there for an hour. At the end of the hour, half of the liquid had boiled off. The spices had infused with the meat. Time to add the 2nd spice dump:

1 Tbsp of Mexene Chili Powder
1 Tbsp of Hatch Mild Chili Powder*
2 Tbsp Cowtown Light chili powder*
1 Tbsp Mild Bills dark chili powder*
1 tsp cumin*
¼ tsp white pepper*

Then another 45 minutes of medium boil which took most of the liquid from the chili! Now, I had to deviate from the recipe! So, I added a can of beer (surprise!), and got the 3rd dump ready.

1 tsp onion powder*
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp cayenne*
¾ Tbsp Cowtown Light Chili Powder*
1 Tbsp cumin*

Folks, you can't believe the fragrance of these spices!

Another 15 minutes at medium boil, and it was time to taste. Those of you who know the Dr. understand that he is folicly challenged. The first taste of ONE piece of meat set a sweat on teh crown of my head! Whoooo Doggies!

Then, it was time to put the dutch oven into the garage (temperature 9 degrees) over night.

The next morning, I heated the chili up in a crockpot and took it ot work. Soon, chili smells wafted through the office area.

One note: This recipe is for cookoff tasting situations. 2 lbs of meat is not enough for a decent sized meal for more than 5 folks. But, the heat was enough so that the folks in the office were content to just 'taste'.

Bottom line: Iowa folks can get to like that Texas Chili! Reviews were positive (the best chili I've ever had).