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Use smoked instead of browned chuck in chili?

Torch&Tone

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Use whatever you have on hand. It's pretty hard to ruin a batch of chili.
Maybe hard, but certainly not impossible! Years back, I still remember, I didn't stop to think to myself "man, that seems like a lot of hot peppers" and the first taste test from the pot sent me staggering! I did everything I could to calm it down but, even as someone who likes more heat than most, I still had batches in the freezer months later.

Definitely try smoking the meat, I wouldn't worry about losing or trading away flavor.
 

BATMON

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Ive made smoked pork chili.

Why not smoke the veggies too or add the whole dutch oven to the smoker.
 

PulledPorkSandwich

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Ive made smoked pork chili.

Why not smoke the veggies too or add the whole dutch oven to the smoker.
We enjoy pork and roasted hatch chile stew.

My "seven chile" chili doesn't have any veggies, just meat, peppers, and spices, very much in the "Tex Mex" chili con carne style. No beans either. I don't think putting the dutch oven in the smoker would accomplish much beyond ruining the look of my wife's dutch oven! :emoji_sunglasses: Also, I don't want to overwhelm the flavor with smoke.

I don't want to spark an argument about beans, but I do like chili with beans sometimes, too. Just not with this recipe. (I also like Cincinnati Skyline Chili (5-way) having lived in Cincinnati 4 years.)
 

PulledPorkSandwich

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You could smoke the onions prior or there are no onions at all?
Yes, there are onions and garlic. This recipe calls for sauteing them and incorporating them into the pepper puree. Definitely worth trying to put smoke on the onions and garlic in a future batch though!
 

PulledPorkSandwich

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Thanks, everyone, for the thoughts and ideas. I've decided to make a batch tomorrow, and I'll post pictures of the ingredients and the finished chili. I just got back from the local supermercado with a supply of dried peppers: anchos, costanas, chiles de arbol, guajillos, and New Mexico. I'll supplement this with chipotles in adobo and a bit of cayenne powder. That brings the recipe up to 7 different types of chiles.

The remaining ingredients moderate the heat from the chiles but allow the individual flavors of the peppers to come through. I have gone overboard with the pepper heat in the past, as Torch&Tone Torch&Tone describes, to the point where some won't eat it, but that just leaves more chili for me :emoji_blush:! Regardless, if you decide to try a batch, I'd recommend not adding more peppers than the recipe calls for, at least the first time you make it.

There are a lot of ideas here, and I appreciate them all, but I decided to only vary the meat from browned to smoked this time to see how it turns out. It may take me several batches of chili to try all the ideas mentioned here, and that's a good thing!

I will put a pan under the chuck to catch any drippings. I'm hoping that will make up for some of the flavor I won't get from the browning process.

Thanks again to all for the thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.

I like WaterRat WaterRat 's suggestion about oxtails and shanks, but I couldn't find any of those. I will try those in a future batch.

I will cook the chuck roast like a brisket but to an IT of 180 per kawboy kawboy and cube it after cooking. That seems simpler to me than cubing it in advance and using Sowsage Sowsage 's over-the-top method, but that method is certainly in my future plans. I like the prospect of having bark on all surfaces of the meat.
 

GonnaSmoke

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I always use smoked chuck, never browned or ground. Yes it takes longer, but it's worth the effort...
 

normanaj

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Years back, I still remember, I didn't stop to think to myself "man, that seems like a lot of hot peppers" and the first taste test from the pot sent me staggering! I did everything I could to calm it down but, even as someone who likes more heat than most, I still had batches in the freezer months later.
Did the same thing.Added several scorpion peppers w/seeds and all and you get the picture.Ended up diluting batches of that with newer batches.
 

BoilerBBQ

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Once you use smoked chuck for chili, you'll never go back. I rub mine with some chili powder and smoke it like a brisket to 190-195ish, then cube it. I also roast the peppers over charcoal before I dice them up. I never considered dicing the chuckie first. Maybe I'll try that next time. Now I need to go pull a chuck roast out of the freezer...

Here is my most recent batch of chili:
IMG-4776.jpg IMG-4779.jpg IMG-4780.jpg
 

civilsmoker

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Do it all the time!

Oh and there is NO other way......

Go for it. But, I can't believe nobody mentioned putting a pan under the chuck to catch the drippings, then use that along with the bacon grease for the sauté part...
Cause that's like saying use a rack to hold your chuck...... lol.....
chucks.jpg
 

zwiller

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You guys that have smoked meat for chili: seriously, the taste is different than say using chipotles and not smoked meat?
 

noboundaries

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I use smoked chuck or brisk points (best) in chili all the time. Throw it on the pit for 3-4 hours for smoke, then cube up and throw in the pot. Brisket point is my favorite because it literally melts in the mouth once tender.

Post pics!
 

GonnaSmoke

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You guys that have smoked meat for chili: seriously, the taste is different than say using chipotles and not smoked meat?
Sam, I can't say for sure with the chipotles, but I can tell the difference between smoked and browned chuck in chili...
 

noboundaries

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I've been cooking and grilling for decades, but only started seriously smoking over charcoal/wood about 8 years ago. First 2.5 - 3 lb chuck roast I tried to smoke was still hard as a rock after 8 hrs in the smoker. Bought pizza and threw the chuckie in the fridge.

Next day, cubed it up and made chili out of it. Best chili I'd ever made. I rarely make chili now with unsmoked meat. But, if I do, I always toss the drippings from a previous smoke in the pot, drippings I keep in the freezer. Almost as good!
 

PulledPorkSandwich

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I've been cooking and grilling for decades, but only started seriously smoking over charcoal/wood about 8 years ago. First 2.5 - 3 lb chuck roast I tried to smoke was still hard as a rock after 8 hrs in the smoker. Bought pizza and threw the chuckie in the fridge.

Next day, cubed it up and made chili out of it. Best chili I'd ever made. I rarely make chili now with unsmoked meat. But, if I do, I always toss the drippings from a previous smoke in the pot, drippings I keep in the freezer. Almost as good!
My chuck roast was hard as a rock too, but the chili is great. Drippings are very good but very salty because of the dry brine I did. Pictures and descriptions coming in just a bit...
 

civilsmoker

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You guys that have smoked meat for chili: seriously, the taste is different than say using chipotles and not smoked meat?
I thinks so, because its also a texture thing, but use both and then bam bam!
 
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PulledPorkSandwich

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Well, I completed a batch of chili using smoked chuck instead of browned chuck. TL;DR: The results were excellent! I found that the smoked meat flavor balanced out the spiciness of the peppers even more than the other ingredients (see below), but still allowed the flavor profile of the peppers to come through. There is definitely a place for browned meat in place of smoked in this chili. The result is a bit more delicate flavor, with much more spiciness from the peppers. That said, I really like the smoked option!

The recipe I used is the one I had been using for awhile, and is unlike most of the suggestions I've see in this thread and others on SMF -- which I'm sure are very good as well; no offense intended. I attached a Word document with the recipe to my original post, but I'm not sure how attachments are handled here, so if you want the recipe and can't access it, I'll try to post it another way. The chili I'm describing here is very much like the chile con carne that is often served atop tamales in Mexican restaurants.

Here are two pictures of the key ingredients I used. Not pictured are a large onion and a bottle of beer. The pictures contain 7 types of dried peppers plus a can of chipotles in adobo sauce. I used all but the dried puyas. Dried peppers have to be toasted and soaked in water in order to make the pepper puree. When you're toasting these, you'll note that the aromas contain hints of chocolate and berries among other pleasant things. Blending the different types of peppers creates a very complex flavor profile that I really like. These can be very spicy, but I find that their flavors mellow out during cooking and as ingredients like beer, chocolate, and masa are added during the cook. I remove almost all seeds and ribs before toasting them in order to keep the spiciness manageable.
IMG_20211207_135402008.jpg

IMG_20211208_160848406.jpg




My chuck roast was just over 5 pounds before cooking, and cost just over $41. I smoked it in my Smokin-It Model 2 with a box temp of 250 targeting 180 IT. Before smoking, I dry-brined with Kosher salt for about 4 hours. After 15 hours in the box, the IT was 165 and the roast was drying out, so I pulled it. I pulled the roast apart along the connective tissues and tried to remove as much of those tissues at as possible, then cut it into 1 inch cubes. Here is a picture of the cubed chuck. It may not be clear from the picture, but the exterior surfaces accumulated lots of tasty bark. I used a mix of pecan and hickory for the smoke.
IMG_20211208_093758679.jpg


The cooking process consisted of sauteeing onion and garlic in the Dutch oven after frying up some bacon. Then the cubed meat is added along with the dry spices, bacon bits, some water, a cup of coffee, and a bottle of beer. The pepper puree is then added, the chili is brought to a boil, then simmered for 5 hours. Note that I did collect drippings from the smoking process. Those were extremely salty from the dry brine but otherwise very tasty. I couldn't use all of them, but I did use several tablespoons in place of salt in the chili. After 5 hours, masa and chocolate are added and the chili is cooked for another 30 minutes or so and it's "done". Here is a picture of the finished chili:
IMG_20211208_173207514_HDR.jpg



Thanks again for the thoughts and ideas. I'm pretty sure there is more experimentation on this topic in the future for me!
 
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jcam222

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100% do it. I’ve made a few Texas style chili’s out of leftover smoked brisket and shoulder clod. Fantastic!
 

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