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Breaking Chili Rules With Chuck

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    Breaking Chili Rules With Chuck

    The final item remaining in my Strategic Freezer Reserve from my stock-up trip just before starting more serious social isolation was a 3.5 pound chuck roast. I bought it with chili in mind and have had 2-3 weeks to think about how I wanted to make it. I've made Kenji's authentic Texas recipe a couple of times and Meathead's recipe from here a couple of times. I decided to take what I like most about both and add a big change at the beginning. I've never been satisfied with the sear I've gotten with either recipe so I decided to completely forego the sear and to just cook the chuck all the way to to "pulled beef" consistency on the grill. Here's the SMC recording. I initially planned to cook to an internal of 205, but I decided to go ahead and pull it off the grill at 195. That was partly impatience and partly concern that the meat might dry out after such a long cook without a water pan. I cooked at 275 with three large hickory chunks. I dry brined overnight and then sprinkled liberally with pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.

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    The fire almost got away from me very early so I went ahead and opened up the Kamado to throw in some poblano peppers, a jalapeno and an onion. After closing I got the top vent adjusted properly and the temp held really well. I pulled the veggies after an hour and a half.

    I prefer the ease of Kenji's method of blooming the dry chiles in a hot skillet and then popping them into boiling broth to hydrate before putting into the blender. I went with two anchos, two guajillos, a mulato and a pasilla. I also put one of my smoked poblanos in the broth because it was a bit too small and went to moderately crispy on the grill. I had about the last third of a small can of chipotles in adobo, so in they went. I combined the puree with a large can of chopped tomatoes, two cans of dark red kidney beans, a little oregano, cinnamon, salt and baking chocolate. I simmered that quite a while so that it wouldn't have to simmer much once the meat came off the grill and went in.

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    For not having had any sugar in a rub, the chuck developed an amazing, very dark bark.

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    I was just a bit worried that it had dried out on me, as I haven't smoked a chuckie all the way before. But it was fine:

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    So I pulled about two thirds of the roast. (Stay tuned for what the other third goes into on Friday or Saturday).

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    Into the pot it went, and after 20 or 30 minutes of simmering, I hit it with some pulverized Tostitos and Fritos. (Frito chili pie for me tomorrow! My wife refuses to participate in that Oklahoma tradition.) I also added the juice and zest of a lime. The bark softened up with simmering and everything was incredibly tender.

    At least for our tastes, my wife and I both think this was pretty much the best chili I've made. We had it tonight just topped with a little cheese and with Alex Guarnaschelli's skillet cornbread. Yum.

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    #2
    Excellent write up and photos Jim. Love the look of that chuckie. Only issue I have is I’m Texan and beans in one’s chili is an anathema. But hey, bet it and that corn bread tasted amazing !!

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    • Jim White
      Jim White commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks.

      Yeah. Chili has been a Christmas Eve tradition in my wife's family for a couple of generations. And she insists it have beans. After 40 years of marriage, I've come around to preferring them, too. And I decided the beans would do a lot of what Meathead says the carrots do in his.

    #3
    With the cinnamon, chilies, and chocolate it sounds like you built an excellent mole sauce.

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      #4
      That had me drooling!! Great pics! Cannot wait to see what happens with the rest. I am doing a Chuckie tomorrow. Just going to chop mine. Great bark and looked very juicy!

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        #5
        Great post, Brother; I very much enjoyed!!
        To my likin, that there looks like a perfect chuckie, both inside, an out; certainly, worthy of magazine, cookbook, website, etc.
        Also, very much thanks fer sharin yer new hybrid reciept with us all....kinda a chili guy, here.
        Lastly, but certainly not least: great pics, as well!

        Nicely Done, Sir!

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          #6
          Looks great! Personally, I think whatever you like belongs in chili! Not sure I've ever made chili the same twice. Certainly not in a row.

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            #7
            Wunerful, wunerful, wunerful post Jim! Great cook and write up, but what, no butternut squash?!!

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            • Jim White
              Jim White commented
              Editing a comment
              I was all out of that! But that one did get my attention.

            #8
            This looked like a very good chilli indeed..

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              #9
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                #10
                That is some beautiful chili. It's a great way to utilize smoked chuck.

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