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Help request - especially from Texans

Regular readers might know that my wife tries to help a local charity (The Devizes Opportunity Center) to raise money.
This year there is an idea to hold a Chili Cookoff in the summer - but we are Limeys and have never been to one and don't have any idea how to hold one - any help really appreciated.

Comments

a tub of ice-cold longneck beers ensures success, no matter how the chili turns out

...so you want the secrets to my 'napalm chilli' do you ....?

I respectfully point you to the following salutory warning on the subject of Chilli Cookoffs: http://cynicalcyn.com/comments.php?id=P3110_0_1_0

GF

Lots of cold lager is certainly called for.

If you'd like, I can airmail some of the chili powder, or even whole dried chilis if you want to get real authentic. Here in California some of us add diced jackrabbit (subsititute hare for this) and ground pork. Venison chili is good too (but also needs pork to bring out the flavour). Send me an e-mail if you need the chili; I'd be happy to help.

Weather permitting, I'll be out jackrabbit shooting on Saturday. No closed season for them here.

DUDE! No beans. Chili with beans is stew. Just sayin.....

We're not (native-born) Texans, so we can't help.

All I know from watching others is: hamburger meat (what youse guys call "mince meat"), beer, tomatoes, sundry herbs like bay leaves, brown sugar, chili sauce. Brown the meat first, then bung all that in a big pot, slow-cook for hours and hours.

No beans. That's a California thing.

Don't forget the side entertainment - country and western band playing (or at least taped music) Cow chip throwing contest. Jalepeno eating contest (don't confuse with cow chip eating)

I second the NO BEANS.

Also, Rotel Tomatos help quite a bit. Kim might be able to help you there, or go online. there are plenty of Texas grocers to get you that canned good.

I dont make chili too often, and it really all becomes a matter of personal taste, especially when it comes to the kind of meat you want. Hubby hates the gristle that comes with some chili meat, so he just uses a lean ground beef. However, he likes his meat and ingredients the consistency of baby food. I personally dont mind the gristle, and prefer something to chew on...I absolutely hate the babyfood/softchew consistency, and prefer it a bit soupier.

Basic ingredients are the meat, which you can usually char first on the grill or cook on the rangetop, with chopped onions, and then add to beef broth. Seasonings *I* usually throw in are cumin, chili powder (a nice chipotle powder adds a nice kick), a bay leaf, salt, pepper, a little Mexican oregano, a bit of brown sugar (if you REALLY want authenticity, piloncillo is the Mexican brown sugar), and GARLIC. Don't forget the garlic!

Cook the heck out of it. I like to top off with a couple of sprigs of cilantro, but again, its personal taste. No sour cream. That's Southwestern cuisine, and a whole other animal. Also, shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese is a good topping.

Add a good Mexican beer, like Tecate or Corona with a lime wedge.

For music, check out Jerry Jeff Walker, Asleep At The Wheel, ***Lyle Lovett***, or any Bob Wills. I personally recommend a cute little group I came across last spring, called Back at the Ranch.

http://www.backattheranch.biz/index.html

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