Superbowl 2011 Chili Showdown recap – Andy’s losing recipe

Why publish a losing recipe?  Spite is a super powerful emotion and because it’s my blog damn it!  Whew, I needed to get that out but seriously the first time we made this chili, we pressure cooked it for an hour and it was spectacular.

The recipe did not deserve to come in 7th out of 8 entries, but it did due to the serious burnage incurred during the long simmering road to break the meat down.  I blame my stove, the pot, the cleaning lady, the mailman and my distant cousins still living in Romania, because I’m still at a loss to explain how this was possible.  My oven is known for its spectacularly low simmer and we used a huge 11 or 13 quart Staub cast iron pot which is so heavy, that I need to bring in my carjack to move it.  Yet I managed to still burn the chili.  To prevent you from making the same mistake I changed things up in the directions to place the pot into a hot oven (similar to how we make short ribs).  The hot oven trick should prevent burning, but if you really want to kick some serious butt, just pressure cook the whole kit and kaboodle for an hour.

I love that it uses a nice meaty chuck, but I may experiment next time with some skirt steak.  I loves skirt steak.

This traditional Texas style chili con carne recipe we found in Bon Appetit magazine, but here in the burbs of New Jersey we like beans in our chili.  At least we don’t put macaroni in it!

Yeah, this pic is a retread, but I only had one!

Here is a closeup of the monster before masa-ing things up.  Little did we suspect the intense smoky flavor that charcoal can bring!


From Bon Appetit magazine, with a couple of small changes.  Serves 2-4 (you can scale it up, this is a half recipe vs. originally published)
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cubed and trimmed of fat.   I start with a chuck roast and before cubing it I cut off most of the obvious fat, there is a lot of it.
  • 2 large onions, diced finely
  • 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • splash of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup ground ancho chili
  • 1 tbl ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground chipotle (or more if you can take the heat)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 bottle of dark beer
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbl tomato paste
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbl masa
  • 1 can kidney beans (I prefer 1/2 pound of dried beans, your call)


  • scallions, finely sliced
  • some shredded cheddar cheese
  • a dollop or two of sour cream
  • freshly diced maters
  • cilantro, chopped
  • limes, for squeezing


  • In a splash of oil brown the beef in a large dutch oven in several batches.  Make sure you season them and get them nice and brown.
  • Remove beef, add a bit more oil and saute the onions until translucent
  • Add garlic and stir for a minute or so (don’t burn the garlic Billy)
  • Add the dried spices and toast for a minute
  • Deglaze with the beer, and add the beef (and juices) back
  • Add tomatoes, and 1 cup of water
  • Cover and place into a 300 degree oven for several hours until the meat is nice and tender.  Note:  this step was added to prevent you from burning it like Andy did on the stovetop.
  • Skim off any fat, and add the tomato paste
  • Stir in some masa to thicken it up (if it seems too watery).  If its too thick, add more beer or water.
  • Cook 30 more minutes, towards the last 5 minutes or so add a generous amount of cilantro and some of the lime juice
  • Serve with some cornbread and top with all the goodies


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