I feel just like this kid. In fact, no only did I lose, I only got 1 3rd place vote! What happened? It was delicious! Seriously! I'm not just saying that! It was much better than my winning chili last year. Here are some possibilities:
1: Not sweet enough. My chili last year used a bottle of bbq sauce as stock. The winner this year tasted really really sweet. Baked beans level of sweetness.
2: Mine was too spicy. There were a lot of peppers in this chili. In fact it was difficult to tough it out in the kitchen whil chopping up the peppers. Lots of coughing and eye watering. I thought it was mild enough. You know? Just tingly lips spicy! Never underestimate the wussiness of the female judges!
3: I used no beans. At the last second I decided to keep them out. I didn't want to alter the already winning taste I already had going (I discovered in an earlier chili that one can of black beans has a VERY strong flavor influence). Plus this year I learned that real chili has NO BEANS! I'm serious! I was shocked to learn it myself but check it out here at the ICS (International Chili Society) official website! So my chili was the only real chili there! Sigh. I think I may have lost some serious points because my chili didn't look "chili" enough.
2 more quick possibilities. There was a big table of chili for the judges and a small one off to the side because there were too many chilis. Mine was on the side table. My bowl didn't look like it was well sampled. Maybe poor placement? Maybe, but the 2nd place chili was on my table. Also, mine was the only chili that didn't use ground beef. Instead I used cubes of chuck which, after cooking for 3+ hours just dissolved in your mouth! That should have HELPED, right?
Anyway, if you can offer any words of solace and none of gloatiness or criticism it would be appreciated.
Also, try this recipe and Judge for yourself if it rocks or not. Trust me, it rocks, hard!
Texas Style Chili
Prep Time: 25 min Inactive Prep Time: hr min Cook Time: 2 hr 30 min Level: Intermediate Serves: 6 to 8 servings
Ingredients • 1/4 cup rendered bacon grease or vegetable oil • 3 pound tri-tip or boneless sirloin or chuck roast, cubed • 1 large white onion, chopped • 3 large jalapeno or serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed • 5 New Mexican green or red chiles, roasted, stemmed, seeded and chopped • 6 tablespoons chili powder • 1 tablespoon ground cumin • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano • 2 teaspoons salt • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper • 2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped • 1 (12-ounce) bottle Lone Star or Shiner Bock beer (I used O'douls, a non-alcoholic brew but there are other substitutes) • 2 ounces tequila (I omitted this. Didn't feel comfy buying tequila!) • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped (hard to find. I used a pailla pepper and chipotle chili powder) • 4 to 5 cups beef stock • 1/4 cup to 6 tablespooons masa harina • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, garnish (omitted. I hate cilantro) • Finely chopped white onions, garnish (omitted. Trust me, there is enough onion in this recipe already) • Sour cream, garnish I also added pure maple syrup to taste for a sweetener.
Directions *NOTE: When working with chile peppers, always wear rubber gloves and be careful not to touch your eyes or skin. Wash all utensils and cutting surfaces well with hot, soapy water before proceeding. In a large heavy pot (such as a cast iron Dutch oven), heat the fat or oil over high heat. Add the meat and sear, stirring, until no longer pink. Lower the heat to medium-high. Add the onions, jalapenos, garlic, chiles, and chili powder, and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are wilted and start to color, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the beer and tequila and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan. Add the chipotles and adobo sauce and 4 cups of the stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender, 2 to 3 hours, adding the remaining cup of stock as needed if the chili becomes too dry or thick. When the meat is tender and the chili is ready, add the masa harina 1 teaspoon at a time to thicken to desired consistency, stirring well and cooking after the addition of each before adding more. Remove from the heat and correct the seasoning, to taste. Skim any fat from the surface. Ladle into bowls and garnish each with cilantro, chopped onions, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with hot cornbread.