Monday, October 12, 2009

How to Cook the BEST BBQ BRISKET CHILI - Award Winning Recipe

Last night was the second annual neighborhood chili throwdown. 5 competitor met for battle, only one would leave the octagon alive. maybe not that dramatic, but after eating some of my neighbor Herme's chili, we were indeed lucky to leave with taste buds.

But I am ahead of myself. You are about to hear the secret to my chili that indeed has won it's share of awards. No church chili feed is safe when I am around (I am too cheap to pay the entree fee for a real contest, but I'm confident).

There are three secrets that separate my chili from the rest... See what you think.

First, assemble the ingredients (And one of those is my secret #1)...

I have a secret ingredient that I will explain shortly, don't want to give it away in the photo, and the first takes a little explanation...

I did a post a week or so ago called... HOW TO SMOKE THE PERFECT BRISKET, which you can read by clicking HERE. I made about a 3 pound slab with a very hot spicy rub. Honestly, the rub made the brisket to hot to enjoy. But it was perfect for the chili. The day I made it, I cut the brisket into 1/2 inch cubes, and froze until chili day! So, my ingredient list (without the secret ingredient) is...

SECRET #1 - 3 pounds HOT SPICED SMOKED BRISKET (notice in the rest of the recipe, there are no hot spicy spices. They are all in the bark of the brisket. Believe me, if your brisket is spiced hot, the chili will be plenty spiced).
1 bottle of Killian's Beer
1 large can BUSH'S Best Chili Beans
1 can Tomato Sauce
1 can Tomato Paste
1 large sweet onion diced medium size
1 large red pepper diced medium size
1 whole tomato diced large size
2 tablespoons ground Ginger
2 tablespoons ground Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste (I leave this out myself, plenty of spices in the brisket, but some people like S&P)
And a Secret Ingredient to be revealed soon

OK... Here's SECRET #2...

Hold back the pepper, tomato and half of the sweet onion. DO NOT PUT THESE IN THE MIX YET.

Here's why...

Imagine if you will, you have a pot of simmering chili that you have cooked for hours. In that chili is a whole onion. Now, start separating out the onion, and get a good full tablespoon of those onions, with no meat or beans or tomatoes in the spoon. Taste those onions. You know what they taste like??? The chili liquid. There is no unique onion taste at all. That is a good thing, all the onion flavor has spread into the chili liquid and flavored it.

But by holding out the pepper, 1/2 the onion, and the tomato until just prior to serving, you will get additional flavor, as well the texture of the crisp vegetables. This is a great tip for when you make a soup or jambalaya, hold back a bit of the raw veggies to add texture and a different flavor in each bite.

But what you do... um... do is to mix everything else... Toss it all in a crock pot, set to high until it begins to boil, and then reduce to medium and cover. Notice I did not mention adding water. This is a very thick mixture right now, but as things cook down, more and more moisture magically appears. IF when ready to serve, you want a soupier chili, or need to extend the quantity because the neighbors smelled your chili, add water then.

And now, time for secret #3... The secret ingredient that separates my chili from the also rans...


Yeap, those wonderful little sweet berries are used to add sweetness to the mix.

OK, here's why...

QUESTION - What makes a good BBQ sauce or rub?

Answer - A blend of flavors. Some sweet, some hot and spicy.

This blend of flavors affects your mouth and taste buds differently. the buds in the front taste sweet much more than heat. The buds in the back taste heat more than sweet. A good sauce or a good rub will have both heat and sweet. Most chili recipes heat up the taste buds, but ignore the sweet.

Not my Best BBQ BRISKET CHILI RECIPE. The secret is to not ignore the sweet. SSSSSHHHHHH, I have been asked for my recipe in the past. This is the first time I have told anyone... Don't pass this on, save it for just us.

OK, any other year, I would take an 8 ounce package of frozen raspberries in a sweet sauce, and puree them. Then, toss in the chili to cook and flavor everything else. The taste will be subtle, but generally, my chili is the only one that has the extra sweet (which does not interfere with the heat).

This time, I was lucky enough to have a bottle of signature sauce, Fischer and Wieser, handcrafted one jar at a time, THE ORIGINAL ROASTED RASPBERRY CHIPOTLE SAUCE to substitute.

I used the entire bottle, and it was perfect. It does add a little heat, with the chipotle in the sauce, but this has plenty of sweet to flavor the chili.

And that's it for 4 or 5 hours... A gentle simmer, and everything blends great.

Neighbors started arriving. The counter was filled with crock pots and the beers flowed. I have a few interesting posts to come with some of the extras I made that you will hear about in another time.

But now is the time to unleash my secret weapon #2... The red Bell Pepper (not pictured, I added before I remembered to photograph), other half of the onion and the chopped tomato gets added, 1 minute before serving.

Usually, I say things are just as good as it sounds...

This is better than it sounds. A neighborhood chili cook off is great fun. It doesn't take much to get one started. It's a great excuse to get together, show off some Halloween decorations, or celebrate MRS. My Year on the Grill's Birthday...


  1. What a fun neighborhood you live in! I have that same gay looking crock pot, LOL. I will have to try your recipe the next time we do brisket!

  2. Happy birthday to the Mrs.!! Awesome chili recipe! I can see why raspberries would make the chili even better. Chinese cooking is all about balancing flavors, so I often add a bit of sugar or honey to savory dishes. And I also have first-hand taste experience about how raspberries can accent the flavor of meat. ;-)

  3. gay crock pot - thats funny - what crock pot doesnt look gay? anyway I want to use my best auctioneers voice and say SOLD when it comes to this chile!

  4. Happy bday mrs! Sounds like a great chili recipe, I would never have thought of adding raspberries! and I totally agree about the sweetness, I often, actually always add sugar or honey to savoury dishes too!

  5. Man, now I'm in the mood for chili!

  6. Man, that crockpot does look gay. Happy Birthday Mrs. YOG. I have to say, I make a pretty darn mean Chili too. I call it "Toto I Have A Feeling We're Not In Kansas Anymore Chili" I too add sweet, but it's usually some brown sugar. My chili isn't a real hot one, just some unique ingredients. I can't wait to add some raspberry sauce to it. I'll be making some and posting the recipe soon. Also, the tip about a few raw vegies just before serving may just be genius. Thanks for the post.

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog and checking out the apple pie. This brisket recipe looks very interesting! I'm glad to meet you and look forward to checking out what's cookin' at your house. Nice profile pic, by the way!

  8. Raspberries, eh? I would never in a million years have thought of that! Wow! Excellent job, Dave! You will be posting more about the cake...?

  9. Happy Birthday to the Mrs :)
    And thanks for sharing this recipe.

  10. Yummy! I love the idea of brisket in chili. And I always add a little sweetness to mine. Sweet and spicy. It just works!

    We used to have an annual chili cook off in my old neighborhood. Tons of fun!

  11. Who won? We dabbled with bittersweet chocolate, and number of sweeteners- we use a bit of grape jelly now days..

  12. I must say this looks delicious. I know it's crass, but I simply have to ask...did you win?

  13. As to who won... We are a friendly neighborhood, and just participating makes you a winner (is that polite enough?)

    It was nearly unanimous (4 out of 5... But I am too humble to vote for myself), home field advantage helped, but I took the crown

  14. Thanks for the "secret" ingredient. I make chili but I'm not proud of it. Maybe this will add some depth that it's sooooo lacking!

  15. Applause! Applause! Well done!!

  16. Of course you were the clear winner, Dave. Your recipe is awesome! I love your tip of adding the "sweet" and the onions and peppers shortly before serving. Great idea!