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Greasy Chili

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

When I make dishes with beef and let them cool in the refrigerator, fat rises to the top so that it can be easily removed before reheating.  This does not happen with my chili and it ends up being greasy.  I try to skim off as much as I can while simmering but I it is not enough.  Any advice on how I can make less greasy chili?

 

Thanks!

 

Mike

post #2 of 17

You need to remove the grease before you cook the meat then. Defat it and trim away the visible fat.  Use less fatty cuts. Add no fat to the cooking process.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks phatch.

 

I do add fat during the cooking process.  I render bacon and then sear the beef (chuck) in the bacon fat.  I also add the bacon to the chili.  This adds flavor.  I also use the bacon fat to sweat the vegitables and often need to add oil during this process.

 

As I stated in my original post, with other beef dishes I am able to remove much of the fat after cooling.  Why does this not work with chili!?

 

Thanks again,

 Mike

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

You need to remove the grease before you cook the meat then. Defat it and trim away the visible fat.  Use less fatty cuts. Add no fat to the cooking process.

post #4 of 17

Because it has enough of the right solids (starches from the peppers and such) to bind the grease in the chili.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 17

I guess you can't have it both ways.  If you want less grease in the chili, use less grease in the production,  or, after all the searing and sweating, you could put the meat and veggies into a colander and rinse with hot water.  I often do this after browning ground beef.  It doesn't seem to have much impact on the flavor -- at least no one has complained anyway.  Of course if you season during the process,  that will have to be replaced. 

"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #6 of 17

Mike,

 

Do you think you could go step by step through your procedure at least until you add the liquid.  We don't need accurate measurements or anything but a better description would help.  In short you'll want to take out more grease and/or put in less.

 

At first blush, it seems pouring off the excess fat after the aromatics are sweated (if you're not already doing that) would have the largest impact.  If it's a little ray of sunshine, I doubt you'll need to wash your pot during the process.  Using leaner or better trimmed beef could certainly make a difference as well.  But without knowing what you're actually doing, the speculation doesn't mean much.

 

BDL

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

BDL,

 

Here's my chili making process:

  1. render bacon and remove
  2. sear beef in some of the bacon fat and set aside
  3. remove all but about 2 tablespoons of fat and sweat aromatics.  I find that I have to often add more fat or oil during this process
  4. char, peel and seed fresh peppers
  5. add beef , bacon, diced ham, charred peppers, dried spices and chili powder to aromatics
  6. add canned tomatoes and beef broth, and simmer for 3 hours
  7. skim foam/film and whatever fat rises to the top every 15 minutes

 

Thanks,

 Mike 

post #8 of 17

after browning the ground beef sprinkle flour into the meat/rendering to absorb all the liquid. This will act like a Roux and thicken the Chili ............ ChefBillyb

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mangrum View Post

BDL,

 

Here's my chili making process:

  1. render bacon and remove
  2. sear beef in some of the bacon fat and set aside
  3. remove all but about 2 tablespoons of fat and sweat aromatics.  I find that I have to often add more fat or oil during this process
  4. char, peel and seed fresh peppers
  5. add beef , bacon, diced ham, charred peppers, dried spices and chili powder to aromatics
  6. add canned tomatoes and beef broth, and simmer for 3 hours
  7. skim foam/film and whatever fat rises to the top every 15 minutes

 

Thanks,

 Mike 


 

So it seems you're getting the excess grease during the simmer. And this grease is being captured in the chili rather than  being skimmable.  So you have to stop this grease from going in the pot in the first place which takes us back to having to trim your meat more carefully at the start and perhaps using less fatty cuts as well.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #10 of 17

Are you rendering the bacon to the crisp stage? If not the bacon can be releasing more fat. Same goes for the ham, it may be another source of excess fat. I use a little masa flour slurry to thicken my chili and that also helps bind excess fat.

post #11 of 17

If you're not trimming the visible fat from your beef before cubing or mincing or whatever you do, you'll need to do that.  You probably already are.

 

It seems to me that you've got two things going on.  First, you're trying to get too much mileage from your bacon and bacon fat.  "Streaky" bacon is inherently greasy, especially the fat.

 

Starting with the fat, I suggest pouring it off completely after you brown the meat, and using the minimum amount of light oil (like corn oil, e.g.) to sweat the aromatics.  You'll get plenty of bacon flavor from the fond on the bottom of the pan and from the surface of the meat without infusing the aromatics with grease.  

 

Even if you've rendered it well at the beginning, hold off on adding the bacon until near the end of the process.

 

Second, you're moving the grease around too much to ever do a good job of removing.  You'll need to let the pot settle down after the tomatoes have broken down enough to stay submerged, but while the "gravy" is still thin enough to allow the fat to float up and stay on the surface.  That means getting the temp well under a boil and keeping your spoon out of the pot for 20 minutes or so.

 

By the way, there are a lot of right ways to make chili, and this isn't a criticism of Phatch's method. 

 

I prefer to thicken at the end with a masa and/or flour/water slurry, rather than thickening at the beginning with a roux.  In your case waiting to thicken will allow you to degrease.  As you near the end of the process, reduce the heat so the pot doesn't bubble at all and stop stirring.  After 20 minutes or so, the fat will rise to the top and you can skim it.  Then increase the heat to a slow boil (you'll need to see actual bubbles or the flour won't fully homogenize and cook), add your slurry, stir until the mixture thickens, and adjust for thickness by adding more slurry if necessary.  When you've achieved the desired body, return the bacon to the pot, and simmer for at least a few minutes more to allow the flavors to marry and the consistency to fully stabilize.   

 

Chili is so individualized it's hard to come up with a universal set of rules.  Here, I'm sticking with cooking basics rather than chili specifics. 

 

Hope this helps,

BDL

post #12 of 17

As Chef Billy B stated.

  When I make my chili I could the beef or whatever meat you might use until browned and fully rendered of the fats. I then dust with flour to atleast absorb the liquid fat. I do not drain any of the liquid fat as it adds so much flavor. Might not be the healthiest but if you want a full flavored chili and win your local contest this is the way to go. Just remember that as with the use of a Roux whether it be a properly cooked Roux or an uncooked Roux (beurre maniere a.k.a. "Red-neck Roux") you must simmer 20-30 minutes to loose the flour taste. Dan

post #13 of 17

As an aside, when you say it ends up being "greasy" do you mean that when you have re-heated the chili to full temperature, you have a greasy "mouth feel" when eating it? I've found that if you attempt to eat any chili cold, it is very greasy because the fat has congealed in droplets throughout. At serving temperature, that is not a problem for me.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

When the chili is re-heated it is shiny or glistening.  I entered it in a cook-off at work and some comments were that it was "greasy."

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eastshores View Post

As an aside, when you say it ends up being "greasy" do you mean that when you have re-heated the chili to full temperature, you have a greasy "mouth feel" when eating it? I've found that if you attempt to eat any chili cold, it is very greasy because the fat has congealed in droplets throughout. At serving temperature, that is not a problem for me.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mangrum View Post

When the chili is re-heated it is shiny or glistening.  I entered it in a cook-off at work and some comments were that it was "greasy."

 

I think I'll have to go with others on this, and recommend against the bacon. It's personal preference, and as others have said there are thousands of variations on chili, but I don't feel like the depth of flavor in chili really needs to draw on something like bacon. There are so many non-fat techniques for introducing layers of flavor, in the spices, for instance I toast and grind cumin seeds rather than use packaged "cumin powder". Another key I believe, is re-constituting ancho chiles, pureeing them and incorporating for deep earthy flavor and dark brick red color. Some add beer, some add bittersweet chocolate. All of those things give great depth of flavor without introducing additional fat. Good luck on your next batch!

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you all very much for the advice.  This is a great site!  I joined specifically to to get advice on how to make my chili less greasy and was not disappointed!

 

Next batch I will make an effort to reduce the introduction of fat during the cooking process and try some masa or flour.  I will also increase the time between skimming and stir less to allow fat to rise to the top.

 

I do toast the cumin seed as well as the dried chiles to enhance flavor.

 

Thanks again,

 Mike

post #17 of 17

I use ham and bacon in my chili too. I boil some ham and bacon in a pot of water for a while and then let it cool a while, remove the fat on top and then use the water in the chili, the flavor is there without all the grease and fat, although I use a little bit. It seems to me that also when the boil is too brisk the fat seems to coagulate (spelling?) with the other liquids but I'm not expert.

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