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I have worked up a competition chili over the past few years and entered in a few.  Double check allowed ingredients.

 

Here are some tips I have learned.

 

Judging is typically done after only a bite or 2.  Make it count from a flavor POV.

 

Authentic Texas chili is all the rage especially for non-texans.  People (judges) love to talk heritage, origination, earliest use (cow drives) and the like.  Makes them feel all nostalgic .

 

People love far more heat than I ever imagined, not saying to kill them but a good bit of zing gets a positive buzz going in the crowd.  They will seek it out and smile as it burns their tongue.

 

Color and consistency is important, a large pot of brown dry looking ultra thick goo won't cut it.  IMO thick but pourable with tones of red and a definite wet look are a must.

 

Beans are an instant no unless your event is at church or similar event or if beans are explicitly allowed.  Any judge that has a deep appreciation of chili will frown.

 

Best of luck John, it's a fun event just to chat with everyone, talk about their recipes and share ideas.

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11 hours ago, CentralTexBBQ said:

@John Setzler, we end up at about the same thickness which means the beans soak up a lot of moisture and also help thicken the broth. Which is interesting because I typically add zero water or chicken stock. The fresh tomatoes add the liquid content.

 

Looks great! I also am interested in how spicey it is, I love heat in the chili. And cooking it on the grill should add another depth flavor giving you a leg up.

 

 

 

This one thickens up significantly when I add the tomato paste.  

 

The diced brisket doesn't work very well here either.  By the time my cook is done the brisket had disintegrated.  I am gonna go back to a chili grind on ground chuck.  

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2 hours ago, prowe said:

Ha, I must have lost my glasses. Or maybe been a few beers in when I looked at this thread. I have no clue how I overlooked that.

Beer goggles go some crazy things to us... 

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32 minutes ago, John Setzler said:

 

This one thickens up significantly when I add the tomato paste.  

 

The diced brisket doesn't work very well here either.  By the time my cook is done the brisket had disintegrated.  I am gonna go back to a chili grind on ground chuck.  

I was curious to how that would work out. I've only used ground meats in my chili, but have been seeing several recipes calling for brisket, Chuck roast or other non-ground meat and have been planning on giving it a try. Thanks for the update.

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I like to use smoked chuck roast which is then braised with the chili ingredients until I can shred the meat. I suppose you can take it too far until the meat simply vanishes but I haven't had that problem. Good luck with the contest!

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3 hours ago, buckleybj said:

I was curious to how that would work out. I've only used ground meats in my chili, but have been seeing several recipes calling for brisket, Chuck roast or other non-ground meat and have been planning on giving it a try. Thanks for the update.

 

I am going back to a coarse grind chuck.  The brisket did not hold up.  the diced cubes just disintegrated in the chili.

 

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2 hours ago, LargeRedJoe said:

I like to use smoked chuck roast which is then braised with the chili ingredients until I can shred the meat. I suppose you can take it too far until the meat simply vanishes but I haven't had that problem. Good luck with the contest!

 

That's exactly what happened here.  I am going back to ground chuck.  The only way I have been able to get diced beef to stay together is to either add it at the end of the cook or make the dice a lot larger.  

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36 minutes ago, John Setzler said:

 

The only way I have been able to get diced beef to stay together is to either add it at the end of the cook or make the dice a lot larger.  

 

Round steak cut into ½-inch cubes stays together for me.

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6 hours ago, John Setzler said:

 

This one thickens up significantly when I add the tomato paste.  

 

The diced brisket doesn't work very well here either.  By the time my cook is done the brisket had disintegrated.  I am gonna go back to a chili grind on ground chuck.  

I use stew meat from Costco and cut it into smaller chunks. I have not had any problem with it disintegrating in the chili.

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Just made a turkey chili last night and threw in two ingredients that really stepped it up. Used boring old ground turkey since I eat way too much red meat.

 

A mulato chile (basically a dried pablano) chopped. Not very spicy but tons of smokey pepper flavor. Also added some Adobo seasoning.

 

If I had it around I would have actually used the adobo sauce that's inside a can of "chipotle peppers in adobo sauce" instead of the adobo seasoning but the seasoning was still great. I wouldn't have added the chipotle peppers because my wife doesn't like heat too much but if it was just me I'd have thrown a few in there. That adobo sauce adds a great smokey flavor (a little bit goes a long way too).

 

 

How about the merciless peppers from xtzlsacotonango?

 

 

 

 

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On 2/28/2019 at 9:38 AM, philpom said:

 

 

Beans are an instant no unless your event is at church or similar event or if beans are explicitly allowed.  Any judge that has a deep appreciation of chili will frown.

 

Best of luck John, it's a fun event just to chat with everyone, talk about their recipes and share ideas.

 

I will definitely take some of your advice here :)

 

There are no rules about ingredients that I can find in this competition.  I'm not gonna sacrifice what *I* think is great chili to satisfy anyone.  This is why I never participate in BBQ competitions.  I hate cooking for someone else's expectations.  At least with a chili cookoff, I won't have but a few bucks in ingredients and not much hands on time to make it happen :) Maybe they will like it :)

 

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