There are three phases
  • meat/spice/beer phase, 1/2 hr
  • tomato phase, 1-2 hours
  • grand finale bean/cheese phase, last 15 minutes

    meat/spice/beer phase
  • chop meat and put ALL meat in large cooking pot
  • begin to brown meat under fairly high heat
  • (if there is a lot of fat, I pour it out when it's there to pour, but with lean meat I skip this as there isn't enough to bother)
  • add one bottles of beer (if I know I'm not de-fatting I do this early)
  • brown meat in beer broth until meat is brown
  • swig beer
  • add more beer if needed so there is enough that the beer is boiling
  • finish beer#2
  • stir, add onion, garlic and all peppers and spices and do not stir, let sit for 5 minutes on top of bubbling beer/meat
  • as to how much of each spice to add, i don't measure so...
  • a lot of chili powder, basically pour enough to cover the ingredients well, at least several tablespoons, the problem will be not adding enough, pour freely
  • as to cumin, about 1/3 of however much chili powder you added
  • salt, not much, to your preferences
  • white and black pepper, a couple of tablespoons each, more white than black
  • paprika a little less than the black/white peppers
  • red pepper, depends on it's heat, go light for now

the above spice amounts are only the base, we'll add more later to tweak, so don't worry too much, but do remember that once heat is in, you can't take it out

the goal is to get the beer flavor into the meat and to let the spices melt without stirring for about 5 minutes, if temp is correct the meat in beer will not burn at all and the chili powder will turn into a blackish goo :) mmmm, that's good

this completes phase one, house starts to smell good, it is critical to flavor that tomato products not be added until this is complete

    tomato phase
  • turn heat down a bit, but still hotter than a low simmer, we want to be 'reducing' the chili down as it sits, just hot enough to not burn with regular stirring
  • add tomato paste
  • add salsa
  • add some crushed tomato (optional, used to balance ratio of meats to tomato)
  • stir regularly
  • get official tasting spoon handy
  • 5 minutes after above is well stirred we begin tasting/spice adjustment during this phase, this is where we perfect the proportions and the heat
  • the 'flat' or 'old shoe' flavor comes from cumin, its critical
  • the heat should be adjusted with red pepper
  • i usually add more chili powder here, gradually, sometimes a lot
  • i virtually never adjust salt, other peppers, onion, garlic
  • adjust, stir, wait 5 minutes, taste, repeat

cook chili for minimum of one hour here, up to as long as you'd like, I try for a minimum of 1.5 hours, by the end of this time, it should taste good :)

rescue note: too much chili and cumin will result in too bitter, too flat of a taste, rescue with a touch of sugur or splenda

    grand finale bean/cheese phase
  • 15 minutes before eating time add cheese and beans and stir
  • simmer low 15 minutes
  • eat