Well… this was a Saturday to remember – SO MUCH FUN!
I was honored to be invited by Clear Channel Media as featured guest chef alongside my friends Tommy&Brook from Star 105.7, as we went toe-to-toe with some of the baddest dudes in the world of Outdoor Cooking Competitions.
The grocery shopping, preparation, & thought into presentation was an intense, week-long, focused, team effort – and, the result was surely a direct factor of this invested time & energy. Without pulling any punches… allow me to lay it out – Our. Chili. Was. Absolutely. Amazing!
Lines within competition facility began queuing for our seared brisket, smoked bacon & roasted sweet potato chili well in advance of the time slotted for public taste testing & by mid day, there was a line of hungry folks around the corner, down hallway & stairs… one serving after another… FOR 3 CONSECUTIVE HOURS! By event’s end we could no longer provide sample bowls… due to demand, so people were literally paying BY THE SPOON – just to taste this spicy bit of Heaven!
So, why was this chili the undisputed, unofficial people’s champ?! This monster bowl of lean, mean meat, veggies & beans – packs a roundhouse kick of heat, with just a dash of sweet – uniquely dynamic in that it layers multiple cooking methods, bold, hearty flavors, textures & fresh, natural ingredients around wintery, hearty vegetables, gorgeous, tender cuts of Omaha Steaks brisket & a dark silky, sexy, yet robust Founder’s Brewery porter beer – a phenomenal combination – truly tying together the entire recipe & elevating the theme for this event – Chilly, Blues & Brews!
But, above all, my very favorite part of this day was the 1,000 incredibly cool individuals who came out to taste test, judge & support Michigan State University College of Human Medicine’s initiative creating awareness & funding research, all in hopes of one day finding a cure for skin cancer! A BIG thank you to those who took a moment of their weekend to join me for a bite & beer, the great conversations, shared laughs throughout this long Saturday & your kind donations for a worth-while cause.
p.s. And, it can’t be without mention, Omaha Steaks & Founder’s Brewery were so selflessly giving to assist in our effort, on 48hrs notice, ensuring I was stocked with the absolute best in meats & brew – both were true difference makers in our ability to raise money for MSU’s June 28 Gran Fondo.
Now – After a day that started @ 5am (and an evening before that concluded around 130am), I’m finally back home & entirely prepared to allocate the remainder of this weekend to lounging in sweatpants, kicking back with the kids, eating pizza & cheering on our team in the NCAA Basketball National Championship Tournament. GO BLUE!
- ANCHO CHILI BASE - SPICES AND HERBS:
- 12 ancho chilies, roughly torn, stem and seeds removed
- 4-6 cups boiling water, 3 cups reserved after soaking chilies, remainder discarded
- ¼ cup chili powder, plus 1 teaspoon
- 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
- In pot, bring to boil 4-6 cups water. Once boiling, remove from heat & add ancho chilies, soaking for 2-4 hours, reserving 3 cups of soaking liquid.
- In food processor puree chilies, 3 cups soaking water, all chili base spices & herbs. Set aside.
- A Bachelor & His Grill's, "Ancho Chili Base" (see recipe above)
- 15oz dried black beans, soaked 4-24 hours in cold water with ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 pounds Omaha Steaks beef brisket, trimmed, 4 pounds cubed ¼", 1 pound cubed ½", then divided
- 5 cups sweet potatoes, cubed ½"
- ½ pound smoked bacon, chopped and fat roughly trimmed
- ¾ pound shallots, thinly sliced
- ½ pound red onion, ¼" diced
- 6-8 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bottles Founder's Brewery Porter Beer , plus extra for drinking
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 15 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juices
- 8 ounces fire roasted diced green chilies
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 jalapeno peppers, diced and seeds removed
- ¾ cups cilantro, leaves & stems finely chopped
- 1 whole star anise pod
- 1 bay leaf
- FRESH INGREDIENTS, NOT COOKED:
- Cherry heirloom tomatoes, sliced thinly
- Spring onion, green and white stem, finely chopped, plus additional to garnish
- 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped, plus additional to garnish
- Dollop crème fraîche, diced avocado misted with lime juice, dash of hot sauce, kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
- BRISKET SEASONING:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil per pound, kosher salt, fresh ground peppercorn, dried thyme and garlic powder, all to taste
- SWEET POTATO SEASONING:
- ½ teaspoon canola oil per cup, brown sugar, cinnamon, garlic powder, kosher salt, fresh ground peppercorn and cayenne, all to taste
- Preheat oven & grill to high. Prepare all fresh ingredients, per recipe above.
- Acquire 1 porter in hand, then test quality of beer by drinking. If still unsure, repeat.
- Prepare A Bachelor & His Grill's, "Ancho Chili Base," per instruction above.
- Meanwhile, in separate pot, bring 3:1 water : black beans to boil, then reduce heat, cover & simmer until water absorbed & beans just al dente. Set aside.
- Season all brisket, cover & marinate 2-6hours, stirring about intermittently.
- Remove 80% of brisket meat from refrigerator. Leave remaining to marinate.
- With grill lid open, sear 80% of the brisket for 3-4 minutes per side, over direct heat. Remove the meat & rest 3-5 minutes before chopping into ¼" cubes. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in large heavy bottom pot over high heat, render fat from bacon 2-3 minutes.
- Reduce heat, add shallots, onion & garlic to bacon, sautéing 5-7 minutes, or until onion translucent & garlic fragrant.
- Then to pot, add seared & chopped brisket, pureed Ancho Chili Base, fire roasted tomatoes and peppers, 3 bottles porter beer, chicken stock, fire roasted tomatoes & green chilies, tomato paste, jalapenos, chopped cilantro, & seared brisket.
- Stir to combine all ingredients. Cover, stirring occasionally, simmer 2-3 hours, or until desired consistency achieved.
- This is an ideal opportunity to rehydrate - crack open a brew & savor that flavor.
- With one hour remaining to simmer chili, chop & season sweet potatoes, then lay in a single layer over a lined baking sheet.
- Roast potatoes in oven for 20-25 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes, baking until crisp, caramelized exterior, but tender interior. Remove & set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, with grill lid closed, over direct heat, grill remaining 20% of brisket meat for 6-8 minutes per side, or until internal temperature has reached 145○F.
- Remove the meat & rest 3-5 minutes before chopping into ½" cubes. Set aside.
- To plate, spoon stewed chili into bowls, ¾ to brim. Fold in ½" cubed brisket & roasted potatoes, heirloom tomato, spring onion, & additional fresh cilantro.
- Garnish with avocado, crème fraîche, hot sauce, salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve with beer, a napkin & a heavy dose of quality company to join in chowing down on some fantastic chili. Cheers!
Food processor (Ancho chili base) 6 quart heavy bottom pot (Chili). Medium heavy bottom pot (Black beans). Grill (Brisket). Oven (Sweet potatoes). Camera (Selfies). Tongs. Mulitple cutting boards. Sharp chefs knives. Ladles. Spoons (Taste testing). Internal meat thermometer (Brisket). Plastic bowls. Plastic wrap for cover. Multi-port electrical extension (Not sure why... Just sounded like a good idea).