Pa Doug's Trophy Chili
Pa Doug's Trophy chili recipe
BY DDR'S SOCIAL FOOD EDITOR: JACK MATUSEK
HE CLAIMED THEY WOULDN'T LET HIM ENTER THE ANNUAL TERLINGUA CHILI COOKOFF BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T STAND THE COMPETITION - EITHER THAT OR THE CHILI WOULD NEVER MAKE IT TO THE JUDGE'S TABLE!
As I toyed with the lighting on my 'set' for this shot, the smell of chili drifted up, hitting my nostrils and immediately I was taken back to some of the most cherished memories of my youth. Funny how both smells and music are capable of doing that. There I was, back at our family deer lease, 20 some odd years ago - Pa Doug posted up in the cabin kitchen, cooking his trophy chili and me catching a whiff. I remember him leaning down with a huge tasting spoon,
"Jackson5, this will put some fuzz on your chest."
And sure enough, it did. That spoonful was the start of my love affair with spicy food.
This week, I'm sharing this food memory with a few minor tweaks - I hope my late grandfather would approve.
- To start with, I want to encourage you to step outside the standard chili box - instead of picking up packaged pre-ground 'beef' at the local supermarket, go to your local butcher and ask for some DICED BEEF CHUCK. Beef chuck is excellent for braising and has extraordinary flavor. In my preparation today, I used a beef skirt that I had on hand, and it worked out fine as well. I'm all about omitting food waste here, so just work with what you have.
- Secondly, Pa Doug's recipe calls for bacon drippings, but in true butcher's spirit, I start with five slices of bacon I cured myself. I use the drippings and eat the bacon.
- The most critical tweak is the quality of ingredients. My bacon came from the happiest of pigs, who roamed Nordic pastures in search of wild tubers and vegetation. My beef was pastured and fed a variety of healthy and beneficial grains. Everything is organic, and as I have said before if you want to make incredible food, you can't start with poor, commercially produced ingredients.
3 T bacon drippings
4 lbs lean coarsely ground chili meat
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 T dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tsp. cumin
2 cups boiling water
1 32 oz. can whole tomatoes
3 T ground hot red chili
2 T ground mild red chili
salt to taste
- Melt bacon drippings in a large saucepan over medium to high heat.
- Add meat, breaking up large lumps with a fork.
- Cook, stirring occasionally until meat is evenly browned.
- Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent.
- Stir in salt, oregano, cumin, water, and tomatoes.
- Gradually stir in ground chili, testing until you achieve the degree of spiciness and flavor to suit your palette.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- LOCK all doors and windows to keep hungry neighbors and friends at bay.
Double D Ranch co-founder, Cheryl McMullen, calls Jack Matusek, "son." He is a TCU graduate, a craft butcher and charcutier. He is currently in Europe completing his Master Butcher's certification and researching ethical slaughter. His goal is to educate, satiate, and entertain. You can follow him and his journey at Raw Republic Meats.