The Ultimate Chili Recipe - for posterity's sake.

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Retired Spook

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So wrong! 3/8 dice on the meat is clearly superior;) I use on sale steak vs chuck. Funny thing about chili, you can hide a bunch of veggies in it and the grands don’t know. Processed cauli, white shrooms or even Kale just get absorbed and don’t change the flavor profile. The wife asked me to try it one time, and I was like, this isn’t bad. Black beans are a side and I will only judge a little if you add them.

Or it sucks and a lifetime of coffee, allergies and hot sauce has fried the taste buds ;)

The “eat the bacon” absolutely priceless!
No chuck-wagon cook, or myself, would or will ever measure cubed meat sizes, and once it falls apart 1/2" cubes are the perfect size for texture and chew - and veggies in Chili turns it into some Californian's Chile-con-carne soup (no offense to any SMF Californians), something that no proper Chili aficionado would ever allow in his or her realm...

🤠
 
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chilerelleno

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Chili isn't Mexican food it is actually prison food that was perfected by trail cooks that worked for Texas cattle companies on cattle drives to Kansas area rail heads. Chuck wagon cooks had to work with what they could bring with them and what they could find along the way.
Are you saying that chiles origins was in prison food?
Yes, it was served as prison food in the Southwest, but so were a lot of other inexpensive meals that could feed many inmates on the cheap.

Lets look into the origins of chile.
The chile we know has a many faceted history ranging from Northern Africa, Southern Europe, Atlantic Islands, North, Central and South America.

Chile as we know it has it's US roots in Tex-Mex culture.
Chile is a distinctively Texan dish. It isn’t a direct import from Mexico, but rather a reflection of the more complex melting pot that is Texas culture.

The following is a hodge podge of excerpts from other people and my own words, these are not soley my words and I don't have links to credit them all.

Chile became popular campfire fare among cowboys on the cattle trail (most of whom were Mexican) and gold-seekers (called forty-niners) on their way to California. As evidence, DeGolyer points to a journal from a forty-niner, dated from 1849 to 1850:

I will tell how beef is prepared for a long journey. Take twenty-five pounds of beef and pounds of lard and of pepper, and procure the assistance of one or more Mexicans, and they will, by the process of cutting and pounding, so mix these articles that no fear need be apprehended of its preservation in all kinds of weather, and salt and pepper and lard become useless, as those ingredients are already a part of every meal you make on this mixture. A small pinch of this meat, thrown into a pan or kettle of boiling water with a little flour or corn-meal thickening, will satisfy the wants of six men at any time; and it is a dish much relished by all.
George W. B. Evans, Mexican Gold Trail: The Journal of a Forty-Niner

In short, beef, fat, chile peppers, and seasoning were combined into blocks, dubbed "chili bricks," which were stored in saddlebags. Plunging part of a chili block into a pot of boiling water transformed it into a convenient, filling meal.

It was the cook in the chuck wagon who planned a night's meal. Conveniently a stew consisting of meat, herbs and chile peppers was easy for them to make since ingredients were readily available. The cowboy original chili recipes say that cowboys would plant herbs, chilies, and onions along their trails in patches of mesquite. The mesquite would keep foraging cattle from eating the required chili ingredients while allowing necessary ingredients to thrive. As the cowboys moved along the trails, the cooks or "cookie" would harvest the spices, onions, and chilies and combine them with beef to create chili. Although cowboy chili is a great recipe and one that does not include beans, chili concoctions have been around for centuries. T

Others suggest that a group of women first concocted the dish: the lavanderas (washerwomen) who traveled through Texas with the Mexican Army in the 1830s and '40s, washing clothes and cooking for the soldiers. It's said their large washing pots doubled as cooking pots to stew venison or goat with chile peppers.

The original spice mixes used in the meat and tomato stews have some of their their roots in Moroccan cooking traditions.
“In the 1700s, the government of New Spain recruited Canary Islanders to move to San Antonio,” the Canary Islanders who made their way to San Antonio as early as 1723, used local peppers and wild onions combined with various meats to create early chili combinations. Their peculiar, chile and cumin-heavy spice blend resembled the Berber seasoning style of Morocco.”

The name "chile con carne" is taken from Spanish, and means "peppers with meat."
It was the Incas, Aztecs or Mayan Indians who used beans while also using peppers, meat and herbs to create meals, and have thus influenced all of Central and South America.
It also resembles the stews Native American tribes would make from wild game.

All of these trails lead to the US Southwest, and in particular Texas.
Chile became mainstream in Austin Texas and has spread across the US in many forms.
Some of those forms would never be called chile by those who hold it near and dear to the original meat, chiles and spices.



 
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Retired Spook

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I never mentioned actual chili pods or hot peppers - or the historical or ethnic origins of stewed meat - something that likely goes back to the stone age / clay-pot cooking - thus making it a Neanderthal / early Sapien invention... This thread is about chili, made with the ingredients listed in the OP!

The chili that we all know as, chili... 🤠

And I never mentioned or disparaged anyone's ethnicity - nor would I - because in my book, no one is any better than anyone else.

If you have a better chili recipe, I will try it! :emoji_sunglasses:
 
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Retired Spook

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Jun 28, 2022
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So wrong! 3/8 dice on the meat is clearly superior;) I use on sale steak vs chuck. Funny thing about chili, you can hide a bunch of veggies in it and the grands don’t know. Processed cauli, white shrooms or even Kale just get absorbed and don’t change the flavor profile. The wife asked me to try it one time, and I was like, this isn’t bad. Black beans are a side and I will only judge a little if you add them.

Or it sucks and a lifetime of coffee, allergies and hot sauce has fried the taste buds ;)

The “eat the bacon” absolutely priceless!
Thanks for having a good sense of humor, hombre! 🤠
 

Retired Spook

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PS. Insofar as hot-peppers are concerned (while we are going off on tangents and all that :emoji_laughing:), I grow Ghost peppers, and make my own hot sauce from them, which I love.
Ghost 01.jpg


RIPE GHOST PEPPERS.jpg


IMG_0870.JPG


IMG_0877.JPG


Ya gotta be tough to hang with the spook! :emoji_sunglasses:
 
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bill ace 350

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Retired Spook

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Ghost is my limit. Tried Carolina Reaper and Scorpion. Too much for me.
I actually like the taste of ghost peppers above all other hot peppers / hot pepper sauces - I do NOT try to eat them whole, however. But for hot sauce I remove the seeds and stems and while still very hot it tastes great and has a terrific aroma. Excellent on scrambled eggs in the AM.

And now, I am going to fry some shrimp / shrimp heads for dinner!
 

bill ace 350

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I actually like the taste of ghost peppers above all other hot peppers / hot pepper sauces - I do NOT try to eat them whole, however. But for hot sauce I remove the seeds and stems and while still very hot it tastes great and has a terrific aroma. Excellent on scrambled eggs in the AM.

And now, I am going to fry some shrimp / shrimp heads for dinner!
i couldn't taste any "pepper" flavor with the other. just unpleasant heat.

I make fermented hot sauce.
 
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Retired Spook

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i couldn't taste any "pepper" flavor with the other. just unpleasant heat.

I make fermented hot sauce.
I agree that reapers and scorpions are absurdly hot - at least to me - but some of the YouTube vids of people eating whole reapers are hilarious - in an evil sort-of way!

I've looked into making fermented hot sauce but my simple food-processor recipe is just so good I guess I laid back and got lazy.

The shrimp heads were great! I shouldda dumped some hot sauce on them :emoji_angry:
 
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bill ace 350

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I agree that reapers and scorpions are absurdly hot - at least to me - but some of the YouTube vids of people eating whole reapers are hilarious - in an evil sort-of way!

I've looked into making fermented hot sauce but my simple food-processor recipe is just so good I guess I laid back and got lazy.

The shrimp heads were great! I shouldda dumped some hot sauce on them :emoji_angry:
Want to share the recipe?

Fermented is easy. And good.
 

PulledPorkSandwich

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I make fermented hot sauce.
I went through a phase a few years back of trying to make fermented pepper sauce. I read a lot about the process from the experts here. My approach was to take a large variety of peppers when they became available in the fall at the local grocery stores. Then I'd blister them, chop them up and run them through a food mill to remove seeds, skins, etc. The result was a pepper mash.

I tried various approaches to get a ferment started on the mash and had very little success. When I did get some of the mash to ferment, I really didn't like the flavor the lactic acid produced. I probably did a few things wrong with the salt concentration and the "starter".

Anyway, your post makes me think I ought to try again this fall when the peppers get to the local stores.

I did find the fresh, unfermented pepper mash I produced made a great hot sauce for eggs and just about anything else, and it kept for weeks in my refrigerator without going bad.
 
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bill ace 350

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I went through a phase a few years back of trying to make fermented pepper sauce. I read a lot about the process from the experts here. My approach was to take a large variety of peppers when they became available in the fall at the local grocery stores. Then I'd blister them, chop them up and run them through a food mill to remove seeds, skins, etc. The result was a pepper mash.

I tried various approaches to get a ferment started on the mash and had very little success. When I did get some of the mash to ferment, I really didn't like the flavor the lactic acid produced. I probably did a few things wrong with the salt concentration and the "starter".

Anyway, your post makes me think I ought to try again this fall when the peppers get to the local stores.

I did find the fresh, unfermented pepper mash I produced made a great hot sauce for eggs and just about anything else, and it kept for weeks in my refrigerator without going bad.
Go for it!

Thread 'First Try at a Fermented Pepper Sauce' https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/first-try-at-a-fermented-pepper-sauce.275643/
 

Retired Spook

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Want to share the recipe?

Fermented is easy. And good.
Sure

Approximately 20 ghost peppers
3 cloves garlic chopped
1/4 small/med yellow onion
3-4 tablespoons Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Water

Clean the peppers and remove stems and seeds.

Toast the peppers and garlic in a hot frying pan with no oil - a respirator, goggles and a very good exhaust fan is an absolute must. Do NOT burn the peppers, just toast them. Might be best to do this outside if possible - the fumes are like nerve gas.

Let peppers and garlic cool completely.

Put everything except water in food processor and process till as smooth as you can get it - add water a little at a time to achieve desired consistency.

Return hot sauce to sauce pan and heat till just starting to boil - it will thin out a little at this stage. Carefully fill clean boiled new 5-ounce sauce bottles (I use leftover sterilized Bonne Maman jars & caps - if you choose to do similar you should do so at your own risk) and immediately screw cap on and invert and shake so hot hot sauce is all about the cap.

Allow to cool inverted, then store in fridge for 2-weeks. Use within 6-months.

Really good hot sauce.
 
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PulledPorkSandwich

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Thanks for the link. I don't want to turn this into a fermentation thread, but the link is pretty old and I had a question, so I thought I'd ask it here. If I have to go deeper, I'll start another thread.

I noticed you didn't use a starter, just salt and water to a particular concentration, and peppers. Did I read that right? Did you check pH as the fermentation process unfolded? The folks on the other site that I linked go into great detail on those topics. Maybe I ended up getting into too much detail?
 
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chilerelleno

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I just made a fresh batch of roasted salsa the other day, used some nice Habaneros and a Ghost/Scorpion hybrid.
What you see here was roasted to get some nice color, dumped in the blender, and added a large handful of cilantro, 4 cloves of garlic, 1T salt, 1t cumin and 1/8c white vinegar.
Given a couple of quick pulses, to a coarse consistency.
Nice sweet flavor, mild vinegar tang, with a righteous amount of heat on the back end.
20220922_143222[1].jpg
20220922_143227[1].jpg
20220923_225100.jpg
 
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