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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Kettle Smoked Chuck Chili

It seemed like a good time to throw together some chili. It is allegedly winter, which is chili time, so I fired up the kettle and threw a chuck roast in there. I opted to use a commercial rub, actually being involved in working, a pre-made rub was just too simple. I used Ted and Barney's Rub, a product from Humboldt County, which is very similar to a Santa Maria rub, salt and pepper heavy. The chuck was smoked over a pecan and charcoal fire, at 225°F for two hours and 300°F in foil for 1.5 hours. This lead the chuck to be just a little underdone, perfect for the use as chili meat.

Smoked Chuck

The meat was removed, placed in an ice chest, while still wrapped and allowed to cool to 150°F then chilled. In the end, I ended up with about 3/4 cup of rendered collagen along with a nearly tender chuck roast. This was all saved for the next morning.

On the day of the cook, some Pinquito beans from Rancho Gordo were procured, and yes, these are worth the hassle of finding. I think that Rancho Gordo is producing the best dried bean product widely available, and they just cook up a whole lot better. The beans were sorted, cleaned, washed then tossed into a pot, with twice as much water and beans, by volume, I also tossed 3 short ribs, for additional flavor. It was brought to a boil, held there for 5 minutes, then reduced to a simmer, covered, for 1 hour. I then salted the beans and simmered until soft. Total time, just around 2 hours.

At the same time, we ground up three types of dried chile, one being Chilhaucle Negro, a rare dried chile commonly associated in it's native region of Mexico, with dark mole sauces. We also had some dried jalapeno and dried New Mexico type chiles. I added some chile powder to round out the heat component. We used a total of 6 tablespoons of this chile powder seasoning.

Two large yellow onions, 3 carrots and 6 cloves of garlic were chopped, and sautéed with 1/3 of the chile powder seasoning. These were sautéed until the onions became translucent.

Second addition of powder

Some chorizo was added at this point, about 1.5 pounds of sausage was removed from casings and added to the aromatics, along with another 1/3 of the chile powder seasoning. This was sautéed until the sausage was cooked through, then the smoked chuck was added, along with a large can of crushed tomatoes, and the final 1/3 of the chile powder seasoning. This was then cooked, and the seasonings adjusted with a little saly, pepper and sugar. This ended up taking about 2 hours, so the beans were added and everything was allowed to simmer for another 30 minutes. We used the bean water to adjust thickness. At this time, some fresh toasted cumin was ground and added, as was oregano. Roughly 2 tablespoons of each. More salt to pop the flavors.

Ready to Serve

Note, that there are two large Dutch ovens worth here. This chili was rich and flavorful with a nice slow burn that develops throughout the mouth and just a little at the top of the throat. The smoke flavor of the chuck, which adds both aroma and flavor is a nice complement to the chili. Yes, there are beans and tomato, but, this was an outstanding bowl of red.

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