Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2 secrets to Award Winning CHILI - Two Years in a Row Chili Throwdown WINNER!

I may not be the Next Food Blog Star (no $10,000 prize for me)... We have yet to see if I can go anywhere in the Pom Dinner Party contest (winner gets a luxury vacation)...

But, where it counts... 

In the real world that is my Cul de Sac... 

The second annual neighborhood chili cook-off has come and gone.  When the dust settled, the reigning king retaining his crown...


The air was crisp.  The fire pit was roaring and 6 of the real men of the neighborhood broke out their aprons and dared to accept the challenge.  We had a white chili, we had a Cajun Jambalaya inspired chili (that was very good), we had a turkey chili and we had 3 "classic" tomato/beef chili's.  We imported a judge (the cop on the corner agreed... he really is a cop, he really does live on the corner at the entrance to the cul de Sac... everyone should have a cop on the corner).  Blind taste test, he narrowed it down to my classic red  and the Jambalaya chili.

It was close.   

There were rumors afterwards that the judge thought I made the Cajun chili since my affinity for Cajun spices is well known, and wanted to spread the glory to a new cook this year.  Rumors that the judging process was compromised and the "real" best chili was the Cajun chili.  The night ended with vows of a serious challenge would be mounted next year.

But, for the next 364 days, They will have to ponder what my secrets are.

Well, with the understanding that non of you will tell, I will pass on my secrets to you...

First, plan ahead and cook a brisket or in this year's case, smoke a Pork Shoulder and season the heck out of it.  I love chili.  I have just gotten in the habit that whenever I fire up my smoker, I set aside a little meat to pop in the freezer and make chili out of it at a later date.  These extra couple of pounds are seasoned just a bit heavier than the rest of the meat on the smoker.  The rub that I use is filled with extra pepper spices.  Honestly, if I were to serve those cuts on their own, few of my friends would want to eat them.  Just too spicy.  But, combine those extra spicy pieces of meat with tomatoes, chili beans, a little more unseasoned meat, onions, garlic... simmer it all in beer and you have a perfect mix of spices!

Second is to add a little sweet.  Nothing that stands out, just enough to make your taste buds in the front stand up and wonder.  Here's a little anatomy lesson (just a little) for you.  There are different taste buds that taste sweet and taste spicy heat in your mouth.  Most of the buds that taste heat are in the back of your tongue.  Most of the buds that taste sweet are in the front.  those people who only use heat spices to make their chili are boring the sweet buds.  Couldn't be easier, I dump a package of frozen raspberries into the pot when I make my chili.  In the hours that I simmer my chili, the raspberries break down on their own and disappear.  NO ONE can name what that extra ingredient is, but everyone knew there was something in the mix.  All my taste buds have something to pay attention to.

Alright, today, I will share my recipe for chili, but also at the end, I will share my spice mix that i turn into a rub to "over" spice my pork that I then add to the unspiced chili mix.  Clear as mud right?

Here's what I did...

1 bottle of Killian's Beer
2 cans BUSH'S Best Chili Beans
2 small cans Tomato Sauce
1 large can Tomato Paste
1 large sweet onion diced medium size
1 large red pepper diced medium size

4 cloves Garlic, smashed and minced
1 whole tomato diced large size
2 tablespoons ground Ginger
2 tablespoons ground Cumin
1 package of frozen Raspberries

2 pounds browned hamburger
1 pound previously smoked meat, extra spice rub added

Brown the hamburger, dump everything else in a crock pot and allow to simmer for 5-6 hours.  Mix well and reap the neighborhood rewards!

And for those of you that plan ahead, here's my Xtra spicy HOT rub that I use for the meat that I am going to use for my chili.  It freezes well.

3 TBS Coarse Salt
3 TBS Cracked Black Pepper Corns
3 TBS Red Pepper Flakes
3 TBS Onion Flakes
3 TBS Garlic Flakes
3 TBS Dried Parsley
1 TBS Cayenne Pepper Spice
1 cup Brown Sugar

Mix well!



  1. Mmmm...very interesting chili. It looks pretty good! I have been in a chili cookoff at our Super Bowl party and have been the winner for several years. You have some similarities and some differences. That's what so fun about these chili throwdowns. Too bad you weren't closer we could have our own...hehehe! Thanks for the tips!

  2. looks great, love the raspberry idea and the smokyness the pork brings. i just made some insanely good pumkin chili that added a nice layer of sweet and creamyness to the chili. good luck next year

  3. Woohoo congrats Dave! If this chili tastes as awesome as it looks, then I can definitely see why it won!

  4. okay...interesting recipe...why not add raspberries? love the idea...

  5. I'm rather intrigued by the addition of the raspberries. What an interesting ingredient to add. I am definitely going to try your chili recipe so I can compare it to my TNT chili recipe. It never hurts to have a couple of versions :)

  6. For years people have been adding things like prunes to hit that sweet spot and it thickens the sauce too. So the raspberries made sense to me.

    Congratulations, Dave, way to rule the 'sac!

  7. How fun to have a neighborhood chili smack down. Congratulations on the win. And raspberries? Genius.

  8. raspberries?! I never ever would have guessed! Congrats on the win :)

  9. Well your chili sure sounds like a winner. Always say we are going to do these chili cook-offs and always forget at out get togethers, we are so silly.
    Thanks for a really good sounding chili recipe to try.

  10. Your secret ingredient is compelling, but aren't the seeds from the raspberries an issue?
    What happens to them? Do they disintegrate?

    I'd love to try this recipe, but I'm concerned about the seeds... ~brian