Choice Chuck Chili

I like my chili similar to how I like my Goetta, made with shredded meat. Aside from better chewing enjoyment and the added aesthetics, shredding retail grade meat is a great way to assure a high quality level. Most ground meat products are produced from culled breeding stock and/or market animal carcass trimmings. Some such grind could even contain mechanically separated meat or low temperature rendered meat (so-called pink slime). There is nothing unhealthy about everyday retail grind, but the better the quality level of your starting meat , the more likely it is that you will achieve an finished product that you are proud of.

Here’s what I put in a batch of chili. However, I did forget to picture cilantro; which is the stems and leaves of the coriander plant. Gluten-free flour was used due to a family member’s dietary restrictions, and it works fine. Olive oil to saute vegetables. Water is a major, basically free, ingredient. Brown sugar to play off sweet & hot and sweet & sour tastes. Salt is an essential seasoning and also helps increase cooked meat moisture retention. Onions, bell peppers and crushed garlic are common in chili. Pablano peppers have a mildly hot, unique taste. I often use red plabanos to add more color contrast, but did not find them at the store that day. The Choice grade chuck roast was a BOGO buy that I just had taken out of home freezer storage. I use only a moderate amount of tomato products (2 cans of diced and 1 can of sauce) to keep acid levels low. Contrary to the beliefs of some folks, beans are commonly used; even in chili con carne. Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for heat and a light smoke flavor. The chili spice-blend used is admittedly Cincinnati style. A small amount of larger herbs look good dispersed throughout the broth. Overall seasoning of the broth is ultimately up to individual tastes.

Partially microwave thawed 2 1/2 pound chuck roast that has been seamed apart. From here, heavy seam fat was trimmed off and discarded.

Lean enough chuck cubes.

Moderately heavily salted, still finer diced, chuck cubes heading for the oven to braise in a covered roasting pan. Oven was set at 325F.

Once the meat is on, it’s time to dice or crush the vegetables. The onions and bell peppers were cut into average size pieces; with the pablano being finer chopped. The garlic was crushed. I normally use 4 medium size onions, 2 green bell peppers, 2 red pablanos and 4 cloves of garlic.

Put vegetables in large pot with a little olive oil and cook on high heat for about 20 minutes; while stirring often.

Get all these ingredients ready to go in while vegetables are sauteing. Two fork crushed canned chipotle peppers. 3 cans of dark red kidney beans. 2 cans of medium diced tomatoes. 1 can of tomato sauce. 1 cup of flour. 1/2 cup of brown sugar.

After vegetables have cooked tender reduce the heat and stir in flour. Flour clings to sauteed vegetables; so it will not clump in the broth. Next, crank the heat back on high and immediately add tomato products, beans, brown sugar, crushed chipotle peppers and lots of water. I stir using a long handled metal spoon, to scrape flour etc. off the cooking pot bottom.

Check the meat for tenderness at this time, and stir it around a bit.

As the broth begins to heat up, add a little of all seasonings, except salt. There is a lot of salt in the beef, so wait until the end to adjust it in the broth. Bring the pot to a boil while stirring often. Add water as needed to reach desired broth thickness. Boil the pot for 4 or 5 minutes to fully cook the flour and to blend flavors. Taste the broth and adjust spices.

Leave the hot pot sitting on the stove while the beef finishes cooking tender. Cover it if you wish.

25 minuets after the other ingredients were done the beef was cooked tender enough to easily shred. All meat broth went into the chili pot. While the meat as still very hot I started pulling it apart using 2 forks. After the braised beef cooled off enough I began hand shredding it into the chili batch.

Stir shredded beef in, wait a few minutes for some of the salt to equalize out of the cooked meat, then adjust broth salt level to taste.

More spiciness can always be added to individual servings. However, too much spice or acid can make a chili batch unpleasant for some people. It’s a good practice to aim for “middle of the road” tastes.

Written by George Wolfer

George Wolfer

Been associated with the meat industry pretty much since starting at a Vocational High school Meat Processing program in 1974. Like to learn and teach interesting and worthwhile livestock production, meat processing and marketing practices.

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