T Nation

Chili Recipe for a Cook Off


Im going to make a chili for a chili cook off and i was wondering if anyone has some SOLID recipes, as of right now im going to use the chili recipe that is on this website but i think i would get destroyed if i did that.



My favorite is simple but a classic.

10 - 15 Dried ancho/pasillo/new mexico chilies -- for flavor
20 - 30 dried arbol chilies -- for heat
3 lbs good stew meat in .5" cubes
1 onion, small diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
zest from one lime
juice from one lime
2 Tbs brown sugar (secret #1)
1/3cup Your favorite tortilla chips crushed into a fine crumb
salt/pepper to taste
2 Tbs fat

De-seed and stem the dried chilies and dry toast in a cast iron pan for a few minuets to bring out the flavor -- stop when you smell the sweet fragrant aroma before they burn. Next grind them into a fine powder with any means available after cooling once they become brittle; add this to the cumin, oregano, brown sugar, and lime zest in a clean container to store until ready for use. This stuff keeps well so make as much as you want and save it for later. It beats the hell out of store bought chili powder.

Next, brown all the meat but do it in about three batches so that it actually browns (depending on the size of your pot); it needs room so the moisture can evaporate without steaming the meat. Reserve the meat in a bowl until ready for use.

Saute the onion in a few tablespoons of fat until translucent in the same pot you browned the meat. It will pickup all the flavor from the browned bits in the bottom and add flavor to the chili.

When the onion is done add 3/4 cup of the chili powder and stir to absorb the fat and coat the onion. Cook for about a minute to coax out the flavors from all the spices but again be mindful of burning.

Once thoroughly mixed add the meat and mix to coat. Add enough water to cover and bring to a stiff simmer, covered. Reduce to low heat an allow to cook for an hour or two.

Half way thru add the crushed corn chips and lime juice and finish uncovered on low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste (I actually do this half way thru and then again at the end if it needs it.)

Serve with any of your favorite stuff on the side. I serve it over brown rice with cilantro, avocado, and shredded cheese.


I won a cook off last year with a chili that looked like this:


I used chuck, not roast beef. I also used 1 hour in a pressure cooker as a substitute for the initial 2 1/2 hours cooking. I used onions instead of onion powder, beef stock instead of beef & chicken "granules", no MSG, garlic instead of garlic powder, and I added a dose of Sriracha sauce and a bit of Liquid Smoke.


I like trying different styles of chili, but I try to include Cumin in every one of them because it really makes a good chili flavor.


Use the competitor's parents.


I went to a cook off where the social event was more fun than the actual results. My friend just bought two cans of chili, one wolf's and I forget the other and he mixed and heated.


My secret recipe was a shot of whiskey and a dash of chocolate


Both good additions to chili. Sweetness is an oftern overlooked characteristic in savory dishes. I use chocolate in lots of stuff -- especially in spaghetti sauce.


Use grass fed beef.

Better yet, use the judge's pet dachshunds.


I seldom make chillies, but all great beef stews have one thing in common: time.

I would use really cheap cuts. My favourite is beef ribs. Salt, pepper, flour and brown. Use whatever liquid you want but give it four hours on low heat (can be drastically shortened in pressure cooker). Revove bones at end.

[My own favourite is a Greek stifado, add browned pearl onions, allspice and a cionnamon stick, cover with rough wine.]


Cheap cuts and fat = flavor.


Must not forget long cook times.


Pork shoulder is good too.


No one noticed that brilliant South Park reference?


My best chili included roasted red peppers and avacado, and I always use a can of dark beer.


I am curious of the avacado. Is it a garnish? Or used while cooking....??



Don;t waste your time with recipes. GO load up on ARMOR's chunky chili (88 cents a can) and fill up the pot and enjooooy!


Texas brick chili FTW


Definitely. Talking bout chili got me in the mood to make some. Going through the pantry reminded me of a couple of ingredients I left out above: a half a can of Goya chipotle in adobo and at the very end of the process a can of habituales rosadas.


sounds like another superb secret weapon.