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Chili Cook-off

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Some of my co-workers are having a chili cook-off this friday. Anybody have any secrets to making a great chili? I heard that cinnamon and even semi-sweet chocolate willl add to the complexity of the chili, but both in small portions. Any guru's out there wanna help a brother out?
"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 
I forgot to add, I will be basing my recipe off of either Emerils Chili or Tyler's Texas Chili to be accompanied by Alton Brown's Cornbread.
"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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post #3 of 13
Many serious chili competitors use a Tri-tip roast for the meat. Both your recipes call for meat cut into 1" cubes. I think that's too big, I like 1/2" cubes. I add a little Mexican chocolate near the end which I think helps to smooth out any bitterness from chili powders or dried chiles. A little lime juice before serving brightens the flavor.

If you use whole dried chiles, after you open, seed, and devein them, toast them by holding flat on a griddle or non-stick pan for 15 to 20 seconds per side before soaking them. This also helps to remove the bitterness. After soaking, puree, then run them through a chinois or food mill to remove the skins. Extra work, but improves the smoothness of the flavor.

Good chili is defined by the smoothness of the broth, IMHO.

Kevin

I like muskies.
post #4 of 13
Have you checked out Alton Brown's method to make your own spice powder blends, including toasting the whole spices?
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip on the cut of meat. I was definitely thinking about 1/2" too.

Is there much difference between Mexican chocolate and regular semi-sweet? Is mexican chocolate readily available? I will definitely try the lime juice as well.

I did see that, but I wouldn't know where to go to find the assorted peppers he uses. I think I am going to have to use a commercial blend due to time restraints. Hopefully next time I will have more time to prepare.
"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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post #6 of 13
The Mexican chocolate seems a little dryer to me and a little less bitter. I like the way it grates into a powder. I also use it when I make my no chili powder chili with a chile paste that is sort of a combination of a couple of sauce and paste recipes from a Rick Bayless cookbook. Consequently, Mexican cookbook, Mexican chocolate. Probably dosn't make much difference.

Here in WI where I live the Mexican chocolate is available in some standard grocery stores. We have several nice Mexican grocery stores in our area. That's where to find dried chiles, too. They have them in barrels. Much cheaper.

Kevin

I like Muskies, didn't catch any last weekend, though.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
I talked to one of the ladies at my work (she is originally from mexico) & asked her about the different chiles from alton brown's chili powder recipe. She knew of the three types of peppers from the recipe and even better knew where to get them locally. I got the peppers and made the chili powder tonight. Smells so much better than the commercial stuff. She is going to bring me in some mexican chocolate too. I also went to the butcher and got the tri-tip too. Tomorrow I will cook everything and bring it to work in a crock pot for the contest. Wish me luck.
"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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post #8 of 13
Good luck and let us know how it comes out.
post #9 of 13
That's tracking the stuff down. Good things are out there if you're willing to look.

Don't forget the squeeze of lime into the crockpot about five minutes before you dish it up.

Kevin

I like muskies.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Any reason to do it right before you serve? I was gonna mix it in with everything else. :eek: Good thing you said that :)
"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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post #11 of 13
which recipe did you end up using in your chilli?
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post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
I ended up using this one, however I added more tomatoes, less peppers, a combination of white & red onions, & my own chili powder. I also added both black and kidney beans to the mix so it's not really chili anymore to the die-hards, but I talked to one of the other contestants and they were adding beans too. I've always prefered my chili with beans. It's an informal competition, so they won't be throwing me out for bending the rules a little. It came out really well. A mild-medium (I was afraid the judges couldn't take the heat) that everyone has said is amazing and simply divine.

I can't wait until judgement hour.
"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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post #13 of 13
I attended the Great Chili Cook-Off :bounce: in Terlingua, TX in 2001. (As a spectator, not a contestant.) I had been told it was just a competition to see who could make the hottest chili, but that wasn't true at all. There were chilis (NO beans) of great complexity and variety. It was a great experience.

I concur with the cubed meat faction (though I prefer about 1/4" cubes.) Cubes give a much better texture than ground beef. I'm gonna go with a tri-tip on my next batch.

Mike :chef:
travelling gourmand
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