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You're Making Chili All Wrong, Here's Why

You're Making Chili All Wrong, Here's Why


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Chili takes time. We all like a good shortcut, but when it comes to crafting the perfect chili, it’s always best to just let it simmer.

Whether you prefer to fill your bowl with Texas white chili, Cincinnati Skyline chili, or chili con carne, remember that there is really no substitute for time when it comes to developing rich flavors.

For the Chili Wars: 10 Chili Recipes from Every Region slideshow.

The first step to producing that intense flavor profile we have come to expect with chili is browning everything. By doing this we can capitalize on caramelized flavors developed through Maillard reactions.

What is a Maillard reaction? According to the Modernist Cuisine, it is “one of the most important flavor-producing reactions in cooking,” and specifically, it is the reaction between amino acids (proteins) and reducing sugars (caramelization). It results in the sear marks on a well-cooked steak or the crispy browned exterior of roasted vegetables. Just brown everything. Meat. Vegetables. Everything.

Spice mixes simplify things, but they won’t help you achieve layers of delicious spicy, sweet, and umami flavor. Instead, add spices one at a time allowing them time to infuse, blend, and develop intense flavor before you add the next batch. Additionally, when it comes to garlic there really is no reason not to use fresh minced instead of powdered, and remember to sauté the garlic.

Start the seasoning process at the beginning of the cooking process, not just before serving. Season as you brown the meat, add the vegetables, and then adjust the seasoning to your taste as you simmer for the best results.

Chili-making is an art, and while there is no one way to make chili, these basic rules will ensure you produce the best tasting bowl possible every time.

Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.


The Best Ever Beef Chili

I have done it. I have made the BEST EVER beef chili. For years I made what I called “chili”, but I was never able to get the right consistency or flavors. This time I tried something different, and it worked.

When I usually cook beef chili, I add whatever I find in the fridge and some flavored liquid of some sort. Beef broth, beer, anything liquid and flavorful. In the past I have added my own fun ingredients, and however much liquid I felt was necessary. I also tried to get away with cooking chili for maybe an hour.

My chili before I learned to cook real chili. And yes, this is my premature food photography!

Consistency Mistakes

Why couldn’t I get it right? It tasted good, but it didn’t taste like chili. It looked good but it didn’t look like chili. It wasn’t deep red in color, thick or rich like chili. It was ground beef soup with a lot of flavors.

These last few weeks, I learned where I was making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, all my chili has resulted in great flavor. Chili isn’t all about the flavor. Consistency is something that is so important in chili. If it doesn’t have the right consistency and looks like a pot of liquid and ground beef, you might as well call it a soup.

But how do we get the right consistency? Here are my tips:

  • Less liquid
  • Cook for longer, and let reduce
  • Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

1. Less Liquid

The secret to chili is adding very little liquid. I used to dump a whole beer, some broth, and tomato sauce in it. With all the liquid I used, of course I wouldn’t get a thick and rich chili.

Now, I use a very small amount of liquid. Tomato juice, liquid from the diced tomatoes, a little broth, and the juice from the canned beans. Cooking down the vegetables will also yield a small amount of liquid. After the chili cooks covered for a few hours, be sure to remove the lid and let the chili reduce to your desired consistency.

2. Cook for longer, and let reduce

Cook time is another key to great chili. Cooking for longer will yield a deep color, and will help to bring out the flavors of all the spices and ingredients. Cooking for longer can also help reduce the amount of liquid. Some people cook their chili all day long, and I’m sure it has even more flavor!

Look at these pictures below for example. The chili on the top hasn’t been cooking for long. The chili on the bottom has been cooking for several hours, resulting in a deep color and flavor.

Chili cooked for 30 minutes Chili rich in color, cooked for over 2 hours

3. Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

I have started adding canned pinto beans into the beef chili that I make. The beans are starchy, so adding them and their liquid can help to thicken your chili naturally. Beans are not necessary, you can add less liquid to help the chili thicken. The beans add substance, flavor, texture, and I like them! But if you prefer, you can leave them out. If you are eating paleo, leave the beans out.

Dutch Oven

I love to cook chili in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I feel that cooking chili in a dutch oven helps to keep the heat in, making the flavors come together with more depth. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can find a great Le Creuset one on Amazon, and I also recommend these Amazon Basics ones. Lodge also makes great enameled cast iron pots, just like my dutch oven. I prefer enameled cast iron because it is non-stick without seasoning it, and you can cook more things in it (like foods with acid). Lodge and Amazon Basics have great affordable prices, but I am always drawn to Le Creuset ANYTHING!

Check out my other Poblano Beef Chili using beef chuck cubes instead of ground beef!


The Best Ever Beef Chili

I have done it. I have made the BEST EVER beef chili. For years I made what I called “chili”, but I was never able to get the right consistency or flavors. This time I tried something different, and it worked.

When I usually cook beef chili, I add whatever I find in the fridge and some flavored liquid of some sort. Beef broth, beer, anything liquid and flavorful. In the past I have added my own fun ingredients, and however much liquid I felt was necessary. I also tried to get away with cooking chili for maybe an hour.

My chili before I learned to cook real chili. And yes, this is my premature food photography!

Consistency Mistakes

Why couldn’t I get it right? It tasted good, but it didn’t taste like chili. It looked good but it didn’t look like chili. It wasn’t deep red in color, thick or rich like chili. It was ground beef soup with a lot of flavors.

These last few weeks, I learned where I was making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, all my chili has resulted in great flavor. Chili isn’t all about the flavor. Consistency is something that is so important in chili. If it doesn’t have the right consistency and looks like a pot of liquid and ground beef, you might as well call it a soup.

But how do we get the right consistency? Here are my tips:

  • Less liquid
  • Cook for longer, and let reduce
  • Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

1. Less Liquid

The secret to chili is adding very little liquid. I used to dump a whole beer, some broth, and tomato sauce in it. With all the liquid I used, of course I wouldn’t get a thick and rich chili.

Now, I use a very small amount of liquid. Tomato juice, liquid from the diced tomatoes, a little broth, and the juice from the canned beans. Cooking down the vegetables will also yield a small amount of liquid. After the chili cooks covered for a few hours, be sure to remove the lid and let the chili reduce to your desired consistency.

2. Cook for longer, and let reduce

Cook time is another key to great chili. Cooking for longer will yield a deep color, and will help to bring out the flavors of all the spices and ingredients. Cooking for longer can also help reduce the amount of liquid. Some people cook their chili all day long, and I’m sure it has even more flavor!

Look at these pictures below for example. The chili on the top hasn’t been cooking for long. The chili on the bottom has been cooking for several hours, resulting in a deep color and flavor.

Chili cooked for 30 minutes Chili rich in color, cooked for over 2 hours

3. Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

I have started adding canned pinto beans into the beef chili that I make. The beans are starchy, so adding them and their liquid can help to thicken your chili naturally. Beans are not necessary, you can add less liquid to help the chili thicken. The beans add substance, flavor, texture, and I like them! But if you prefer, you can leave them out. If you are eating paleo, leave the beans out.

Dutch Oven

I love to cook chili in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I feel that cooking chili in a dutch oven helps to keep the heat in, making the flavors come together with more depth. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can find a great Le Creuset one on Amazon, and I also recommend these Amazon Basics ones. Lodge also makes great enameled cast iron pots, just like my dutch oven. I prefer enameled cast iron because it is non-stick without seasoning it, and you can cook more things in it (like foods with acid). Lodge and Amazon Basics have great affordable prices, but I am always drawn to Le Creuset ANYTHING!

Check out my other Poblano Beef Chili using beef chuck cubes instead of ground beef!


The Best Ever Beef Chili

I have done it. I have made the BEST EVER beef chili. For years I made what I called “chili”, but I was never able to get the right consistency or flavors. This time I tried something different, and it worked.

When I usually cook beef chili, I add whatever I find in the fridge and some flavored liquid of some sort. Beef broth, beer, anything liquid and flavorful. In the past I have added my own fun ingredients, and however much liquid I felt was necessary. I also tried to get away with cooking chili for maybe an hour.

My chili before I learned to cook real chili. And yes, this is my premature food photography!

Consistency Mistakes

Why couldn’t I get it right? It tasted good, but it didn’t taste like chili. It looked good but it didn’t look like chili. It wasn’t deep red in color, thick or rich like chili. It was ground beef soup with a lot of flavors.

These last few weeks, I learned where I was making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, all my chili has resulted in great flavor. Chili isn’t all about the flavor. Consistency is something that is so important in chili. If it doesn’t have the right consistency and looks like a pot of liquid and ground beef, you might as well call it a soup.

But how do we get the right consistency? Here are my tips:

  • Less liquid
  • Cook for longer, and let reduce
  • Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

1. Less Liquid

The secret to chili is adding very little liquid. I used to dump a whole beer, some broth, and tomato sauce in it. With all the liquid I used, of course I wouldn’t get a thick and rich chili.

Now, I use a very small amount of liquid. Tomato juice, liquid from the diced tomatoes, a little broth, and the juice from the canned beans. Cooking down the vegetables will also yield a small amount of liquid. After the chili cooks covered for a few hours, be sure to remove the lid and let the chili reduce to your desired consistency.

2. Cook for longer, and let reduce

Cook time is another key to great chili. Cooking for longer will yield a deep color, and will help to bring out the flavors of all the spices and ingredients. Cooking for longer can also help reduce the amount of liquid. Some people cook their chili all day long, and I’m sure it has even more flavor!

Look at these pictures below for example. The chili on the top hasn’t been cooking for long. The chili on the bottom has been cooking for several hours, resulting in a deep color and flavor.

Chili cooked for 30 minutes Chili rich in color, cooked for over 2 hours

3. Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

I have started adding canned pinto beans into the beef chili that I make. The beans are starchy, so adding them and their liquid can help to thicken your chili naturally. Beans are not necessary, you can add less liquid to help the chili thicken. The beans add substance, flavor, texture, and I like them! But if you prefer, you can leave them out. If you are eating paleo, leave the beans out.

Dutch Oven

I love to cook chili in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I feel that cooking chili in a dutch oven helps to keep the heat in, making the flavors come together with more depth. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can find a great Le Creuset one on Amazon, and I also recommend these Amazon Basics ones. Lodge also makes great enameled cast iron pots, just like my dutch oven. I prefer enameled cast iron because it is non-stick without seasoning it, and you can cook more things in it (like foods with acid). Lodge and Amazon Basics have great affordable prices, but I am always drawn to Le Creuset ANYTHING!

Check out my other Poblano Beef Chili using beef chuck cubes instead of ground beef!


The Best Ever Beef Chili

I have done it. I have made the BEST EVER beef chili. For years I made what I called “chili”, but I was never able to get the right consistency or flavors. This time I tried something different, and it worked.

When I usually cook beef chili, I add whatever I find in the fridge and some flavored liquid of some sort. Beef broth, beer, anything liquid and flavorful. In the past I have added my own fun ingredients, and however much liquid I felt was necessary. I also tried to get away with cooking chili for maybe an hour.

My chili before I learned to cook real chili. And yes, this is my premature food photography!

Consistency Mistakes

Why couldn’t I get it right? It tasted good, but it didn’t taste like chili. It looked good but it didn’t look like chili. It wasn’t deep red in color, thick or rich like chili. It was ground beef soup with a lot of flavors.

These last few weeks, I learned where I was making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, all my chili has resulted in great flavor. Chili isn’t all about the flavor. Consistency is something that is so important in chili. If it doesn’t have the right consistency and looks like a pot of liquid and ground beef, you might as well call it a soup.

But how do we get the right consistency? Here are my tips:

  • Less liquid
  • Cook for longer, and let reduce
  • Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

1. Less Liquid

The secret to chili is adding very little liquid. I used to dump a whole beer, some broth, and tomato sauce in it. With all the liquid I used, of course I wouldn’t get a thick and rich chili.

Now, I use a very small amount of liquid. Tomato juice, liquid from the diced tomatoes, a little broth, and the juice from the canned beans. Cooking down the vegetables will also yield a small amount of liquid. After the chili cooks covered for a few hours, be sure to remove the lid and let the chili reduce to your desired consistency.

2. Cook for longer, and let reduce

Cook time is another key to great chili. Cooking for longer will yield a deep color, and will help to bring out the flavors of all the spices and ingredients. Cooking for longer can also help reduce the amount of liquid. Some people cook their chili all day long, and I’m sure it has even more flavor!

Look at these pictures below for example. The chili on the top hasn’t been cooking for long. The chili on the bottom has been cooking for several hours, resulting in a deep color and flavor.

Chili cooked for 30 minutes Chili rich in color, cooked for over 2 hours

3. Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

I have started adding canned pinto beans into the beef chili that I make. The beans are starchy, so adding them and their liquid can help to thicken your chili naturally. Beans are not necessary, you can add less liquid to help the chili thicken. The beans add substance, flavor, texture, and I like them! But if you prefer, you can leave them out. If you are eating paleo, leave the beans out.

Dutch Oven

I love to cook chili in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I feel that cooking chili in a dutch oven helps to keep the heat in, making the flavors come together with more depth. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can find a great Le Creuset one on Amazon, and I also recommend these Amazon Basics ones. Lodge also makes great enameled cast iron pots, just like my dutch oven. I prefer enameled cast iron because it is non-stick without seasoning it, and you can cook more things in it (like foods with acid). Lodge and Amazon Basics have great affordable prices, but I am always drawn to Le Creuset ANYTHING!

Check out my other Poblano Beef Chili using beef chuck cubes instead of ground beef!


The Best Ever Beef Chili

I have done it. I have made the BEST EVER beef chili. For years I made what I called “chili”, but I was never able to get the right consistency or flavors. This time I tried something different, and it worked.

When I usually cook beef chili, I add whatever I find in the fridge and some flavored liquid of some sort. Beef broth, beer, anything liquid and flavorful. In the past I have added my own fun ingredients, and however much liquid I felt was necessary. I also tried to get away with cooking chili for maybe an hour.

My chili before I learned to cook real chili. And yes, this is my premature food photography!

Consistency Mistakes

Why couldn’t I get it right? It tasted good, but it didn’t taste like chili. It looked good but it didn’t look like chili. It wasn’t deep red in color, thick or rich like chili. It was ground beef soup with a lot of flavors.

These last few weeks, I learned where I was making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, all my chili has resulted in great flavor. Chili isn’t all about the flavor. Consistency is something that is so important in chili. If it doesn’t have the right consistency and looks like a pot of liquid and ground beef, you might as well call it a soup.

But how do we get the right consistency? Here are my tips:

  • Less liquid
  • Cook for longer, and let reduce
  • Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

1. Less Liquid

The secret to chili is adding very little liquid. I used to dump a whole beer, some broth, and tomato sauce in it. With all the liquid I used, of course I wouldn’t get a thick and rich chili.

Now, I use a very small amount of liquid. Tomato juice, liquid from the diced tomatoes, a little broth, and the juice from the canned beans. Cooking down the vegetables will also yield a small amount of liquid. After the chili cooks covered for a few hours, be sure to remove the lid and let the chili reduce to your desired consistency.

2. Cook for longer, and let reduce

Cook time is another key to great chili. Cooking for longer will yield a deep color, and will help to bring out the flavors of all the spices and ingredients. Cooking for longer can also help reduce the amount of liquid. Some people cook their chili all day long, and I’m sure it has even more flavor!

Look at these pictures below for example. The chili on the top hasn’t been cooking for long. The chili on the bottom has been cooking for several hours, resulting in a deep color and flavor.

Chili cooked for 30 minutes Chili rich in color, cooked for over 2 hours

3. Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

I have started adding canned pinto beans into the beef chili that I make. The beans are starchy, so adding them and their liquid can help to thicken your chili naturally. Beans are not necessary, you can add less liquid to help the chili thicken. The beans add substance, flavor, texture, and I like them! But if you prefer, you can leave them out. If you are eating paleo, leave the beans out.

Dutch Oven

I love to cook chili in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I feel that cooking chili in a dutch oven helps to keep the heat in, making the flavors come together with more depth. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can find a great Le Creuset one on Amazon, and I also recommend these Amazon Basics ones. Lodge also makes great enameled cast iron pots, just like my dutch oven. I prefer enameled cast iron because it is non-stick without seasoning it, and you can cook more things in it (like foods with acid). Lodge and Amazon Basics have great affordable prices, but I am always drawn to Le Creuset ANYTHING!

Check out my other Poblano Beef Chili using beef chuck cubes instead of ground beef!


The Best Ever Beef Chili

I have done it. I have made the BEST EVER beef chili. For years I made what I called “chili”, but I was never able to get the right consistency or flavors. This time I tried something different, and it worked.

When I usually cook beef chili, I add whatever I find in the fridge and some flavored liquid of some sort. Beef broth, beer, anything liquid and flavorful. In the past I have added my own fun ingredients, and however much liquid I felt was necessary. I also tried to get away with cooking chili for maybe an hour.

My chili before I learned to cook real chili. And yes, this is my premature food photography!

Consistency Mistakes

Why couldn’t I get it right? It tasted good, but it didn’t taste like chili. It looked good but it didn’t look like chili. It wasn’t deep red in color, thick or rich like chili. It was ground beef soup with a lot of flavors.

These last few weeks, I learned where I was making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, all my chili has resulted in great flavor. Chili isn’t all about the flavor. Consistency is something that is so important in chili. If it doesn’t have the right consistency and looks like a pot of liquid and ground beef, you might as well call it a soup.

But how do we get the right consistency? Here are my tips:

  • Less liquid
  • Cook for longer, and let reduce
  • Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

1. Less Liquid

The secret to chili is adding very little liquid. I used to dump a whole beer, some broth, and tomato sauce in it. With all the liquid I used, of course I wouldn’t get a thick and rich chili.

Now, I use a very small amount of liquid. Tomato juice, liquid from the diced tomatoes, a little broth, and the juice from the canned beans. Cooking down the vegetables will also yield a small amount of liquid. After the chili cooks covered for a few hours, be sure to remove the lid and let the chili reduce to your desired consistency.

2. Cook for longer, and let reduce

Cook time is another key to great chili. Cooking for longer will yield a deep color, and will help to bring out the flavors of all the spices and ingredients. Cooking for longer can also help reduce the amount of liquid. Some people cook their chili all day long, and I’m sure it has even more flavor!

Look at these pictures below for example. The chili on the top hasn’t been cooking for long. The chili on the bottom has been cooking for several hours, resulting in a deep color and flavor.

Chili cooked for 30 minutes Chili rich in color, cooked for over 2 hours

3. Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

I have started adding canned pinto beans into the beef chili that I make. The beans are starchy, so adding them and their liquid can help to thicken your chili naturally. Beans are not necessary, you can add less liquid to help the chili thicken. The beans add substance, flavor, texture, and I like them! But if you prefer, you can leave them out. If you are eating paleo, leave the beans out.

Dutch Oven

I love to cook chili in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I feel that cooking chili in a dutch oven helps to keep the heat in, making the flavors come together with more depth. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can find a great Le Creuset one on Amazon, and I also recommend these Amazon Basics ones. Lodge also makes great enameled cast iron pots, just like my dutch oven. I prefer enameled cast iron because it is non-stick without seasoning it, and you can cook more things in it (like foods with acid). Lodge and Amazon Basics have great affordable prices, but I am always drawn to Le Creuset ANYTHING!

Check out my other Poblano Beef Chili using beef chuck cubes instead of ground beef!


The Best Ever Beef Chili

I have done it. I have made the BEST EVER beef chili. For years I made what I called “chili”, but I was never able to get the right consistency or flavors. This time I tried something different, and it worked.

When I usually cook beef chili, I add whatever I find in the fridge and some flavored liquid of some sort. Beef broth, beer, anything liquid and flavorful. In the past I have added my own fun ingredients, and however much liquid I felt was necessary. I also tried to get away with cooking chili for maybe an hour.

My chili before I learned to cook real chili. And yes, this is my premature food photography!

Consistency Mistakes

Why couldn’t I get it right? It tasted good, but it didn’t taste like chili. It looked good but it didn’t look like chili. It wasn’t deep red in color, thick or rich like chili. It was ground beef soup with a lot of flavors.

These last few weeks, I learned where I was making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, all my chili has resulted in great flavor. Chili isn’t all about the flavor. Consistency is something that is so important in chili. If it doesn’t have the right consistency and looks like a pot of liquid and ground beef, you might as well call it a soup.

But how do we get the right consistency? Here are my tips:

  • Less liquid
  • Cook for longer, and let reduce
  • Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

1. Less Liquid

The secret to chili is adding very little liquid. I used to dump a whole beer, some broth, and tomato sauce in it. With all the liquid I used, of course I wouldn’t get a thick and rich chili.

Now, I use a very small amount of liquid. Tomato juice, liquid from the diced tomatoes, a little broth, and the juice from the canned beans. Cooking down the vegetables will also yield a small amount of liquid. After the chili cooks covered for a few hours, be sure to remove the lid and let the chili reduce to your desired consistency.

2. Cook for longer, and let reduce

Cook time is another key to great chili. Cooking for longer will yield a deep color, and will help to bring out the flavors of all the spices and ingredients. Cooking for longer can also help reduce the amount of liquid. Some people cook their chili all day long, and I’m sure it has even more flavor!

Look at these pictures below for example. The chili on the top hasn’t been cooking for long. The chili on the bottom has been cooking for several hours, resulting in a deep color and flavor.

Chili cooked for 30 minutes Chili rich in color, cooked for over 2 hours

3. Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

I have started adding canned pinto beans into the beef chili that I make. The beans are starchy, so adding them and their liquid can help to thicken your chili naturally. Beans are not necessary, you can add less liquid to help the chili thicken. The beans add substance, flavor, texture, and I like them! But if you prefer, you can leave them out. If you are eating paleo, leave the beans out.

Dutch Oven

I love to cook chili in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I feel that cooking chili in a dutch oven helps to keep the heat in, making the flavors come together with more depth. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can find a great Le Creuset one on Amazon, and I also recommend these Amazon Basics ones. Lodge also makes great enameled cast iron pots, just like my dutch oven. I prefer enameled cast iron because it is non-stick without seasoning it, and you can cook more things in it (like foods with acid). Lodge and Amazon Basics have great affordable prices, but I am always drawn to Le Creuset ANYTHING!

Check out my other Poblano Beef Chili using beef chuck cubes instead of ground beef!


The Best Ever Beef Chili

I have done it. I have made the BEST EVER beef chili. For years I made what I called “chili”, but I was never able to get the right consistency or flavors. This time I tried something different, and it worked.

When I usually cook beef chili, I add whatever I find in the fridge and some flavored liquid of some sort. Beef broth, beer, anything liquid and flavorful. In the past I have added my own fun ingredients, and however much liquid I felt was necessary. I also tried to get away with cooking chili for maybe an hour.

My chili before I learned to cook real chili. And yes, this is my premature food photography!

Consistency Mistakes

Why couldn’t I get it right? It tasted good, but it didn’t taste like chili. It looked good but it didn’t look like chili. It wasn’t deep red in color, thick or rich like chili. It was ground beef soup with a lot of flavors.

These last few weeks, I learned where I was making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, all my chili has resulted in great flavor. Chili isn’t all about the flavor. Consistency is something that is so important in chili. If it doesn’t have the right consistency and looks like a pot of liquid and ground beef, you might as well call it a soup.

But how do we get the right consistency? Here are my tips:

  • Less liquid
  • Cook for longer, and let reduce
  • Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

1. Less Liquid

The secret to chili is adding very little liquid. I used to dump a whole beer, some broth, and tomato sauce in it. With all the liquid I used, of course I wouldn’t get a thick and rich chili.

Now, I use a very small amount of liquid. Tomato juice, liquid from the diced tomatoes, a little broth, and the juice from the canned beans. Cooking down the vegetables will also yield a small amount of liquid. After the chili cooks covered for a few hours, be sure to remove the lid and let the chili reduce to your desired consistency.

2. Cook for longer, and let reduce

Cook time is another key to great chili. Cooking for longer will yield a deep color, and will help to bring out the flavors of all the spices and ingredients. Cooking for longer can also help reduce the amount of liquid. Some people cook their chili all day long, and I’m sure it has even more flavor!

Look at these pictures below for example. The chili on the top hasn’t been cooking for long. The chili on the bottom has been cooking for several hours, resulting in a deep color and flavor.

Chili cooked for 30 minutes Chili rich in color, cooked for over 2 hours

3. Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

I have started adding canned pinto beans into the beef chili that I make. The beans are starchy, so adding them and their liquid can help to thicken your chili naturally. Beans are not necessary, you can add less liquid to help the chili thicken. The beans add substance, flavor, texture, and I like them! But if you prefer, you can leave them out. If you are eating paleo, leave the beans out.

Dutch Oven

I love to cook chili in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I feel that cooking chili in a dutch oven helps to keep the heat in, making the flavors come together with more depth. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can find a great Le Creuset one on Amazon, and I also recommend these Amazon Basics ones. Lodge also makes great enameled cast iron pots, just like my dutch oven. I prefer enameled cast iron because it is non-stick without seasoning it, and you can cook more things in it (like foods with acid). Lodge and Amazon Basics have great affordable prices, but I am always drawn to Le Creuset ANYTHING!

Check out my other Poblano Beef Chili using beef chuck cubes instead of ground beef!


The Best Ever Beef Chili

I have done it. I have made the BEST EVER beef chili. For years I made what I called “chili”, but I was never able to get the right consistency or flavors. This time I tried something different, and it worked.

When I usually cook beef chili, I add whatever I find in the fridge and some flavored liquid of some sort. Beef broth, beer, anything liquid and flavorful. In the past I have added my own fun ingredients, and however much liquid I felt was necessary. I also tried to get away with cooking chili for maybe an hour.

My chili before I learned to cook real chili. And yes, this is my premature food photography!

Consistency Mistakes

Why couldn’t I get it right? It tasted good, but it didn’t taste like chili. It looked good but it didn’t look like chili. It wasn’t deep red in color, thick or rich like chili. It was ground beef soup with a lot of flavors.

These last few weeks, I learned where I was making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, all my chili has resulted in great flavor. Chili isn’t all about the flavor. Consistency is something that is so important in chili. If it doesn’t have the right consistency and looks like a pot of liquid and ground beef, you might as well call it a soup.

But how do we get the right consistency? Here are my tips:

  • Less liquid
  • Cook for longer, and let reduce
  • Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

1. Less Liquid

The secret to chili is adding very little liquid. I used to dump a whole beer, some broth, and tomato sauce in it. With all the liquid I used, of course I wouldn’t get a thick and rich chili.

Now, I use a very small amount of liquid. Tomato juice, liquid from the diced tomatoes, a little broth, and the juice from the canned beans. Cooking down the vegetables will also yield a small amount of liquid. After the chili cooks covered for a few hours, be sure to remove the lid and let the chili reduce to your desired consistency.

2. Cook for longer, and let reduce

Cook time is another key to great chili. Cooking for longer will yield a deep color, and will help to bring out the flavors of all the spices and ingredients. Cooking for longer can also help reduce the amount of liquid. Some people cook their chili all day long, and I’m sure it has even more flavor!

Look at these pictures below for example. The chili on the top hasn’t been cooking for long. The chili on the bottom has been cooking for several hours, resulting in a deep color and flavor.

Chili cooked for 30 minutes Chili rich in color, cooked for over 2 hours

3. Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

I have started adding canned pinto beans into the beef chili that I make. The beans are starchy, so adding them and their liquid can help to thicken your chili naturally. Beans are not necessary, you can add less liquid to help the chili thicken. The beans add substance, flavor, texture, and I like them! But if you prefer, you can leave them out. If you are eating paleo, leave the beans out.

Dutch Oven

I love to cook chili in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I feel that cooking chili in a dutch oven helps to keep the heat in, making the flavors come together with more depth. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can find a great Le Creuset one on Amazon, and I also recommend these Amazon Basics ones. Lodge also makes great enameled cast iron pots, just like my dutch oven. I prefer enameled cast iron because it is non-stick without seasoning it, and you can cook more things in it (like foods with acid). Lodge and Amazon Basics have great affordable prices, but I am always drawn to Le Creuset ANYTHING!

Check out my other Poblano Beef Chili using beef chuck cubes instead of ground beef!


The Best Ever Beef Chili

I have done it. I have made the BEST EVER beef chili. For years I made what I called “chili”, but I was never able to get the right consistency or flavors. This time I tried something different, and it worked.

When I usually cook beef chili, I add whatever I find in the fridge and some flavored liquid of some sort. Beef broth, beer, anything liquid and flavorful. In the past I have added my own fun ingredients, and however much liquid I felt was necessary. I also tried to get away with cooking chili for maybe an hour.

My chili before I learned to cook real chili. And yes, this is my premature food photography!

Consistency Mistakes

Why couldn’t I get it right? It tasted good, but it didn’t taste like chili. It looked good but it didn’t look like chili. It wasn’t deep red in color, thick or rich like chili. It was ground beef soup with a lot of flavors.

These last few weeks, I learned where I was making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, all my chili has resulted in great flavor. Chili isn’t all about the flavor. Consistency is something that is so important in chili. If it doesn’t have the right consistency and looks like a pot of liquid and ground beef, you might as well call it a soup.

But how do we get the right consistency? Here are my tips:

  • Less liquid
  • Cook for longer, and let reduce
  • Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

1. Less Liquid

The secret to chili is adding very little liquid. I used to dump a whole beer, some broth, and tomato sauce in it. With all the liquid I used, of course I wouldn’t get a thick and rich chili.

Now, I use a very small amount of liquid. Tomato juice, liquid from the diced tomatoes, a little broth, and the juice from the canned beans. Cooking down the vegetables will also yield a small amount of liquid. After the chili cooks covered for a few hours, be sure to remove the lid and let the chili reduce to your desired consistency.

2. Cook for longer, and let reduce

Cook time is another key to great chili. Cooking for longer will yield a deep color, and will help to bring out the flavors of all the spices and ingredients. Cooking for longer can also help reduce the amount of liquid. Some people cook their chili all day long, and I’m sure it has even more flavor!

Look at these pictures below for example. The chili on the top hasn’t been cooking for long. The chili on the bottom has been cooking for several hours, resulting in a deep color and flavor.

Chili cooked for 30 minutes Chili rich in color, cooked for over 2 hours

3. Canned beans and their liquid for thickening

I have started adding canned pinto beans into the beef chili that I make. The beans are starchy, so adding them and their liquid can help to thicken your chili naturally. Beans are not necessary, you can add less liquid to help the chili thicken. The beans add substance, flavor, texture, and I like them! But if you prefer, you can leave them out. If you are eating paleo, leave the beans out.

Dutch Oven

I love to cook chili in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I feel that cooking chili in a dutch oven helps to keep the heat in, making the flavors come together with more depth. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can find a great Le Creuset one on Amazon, and I also recommend these Amazon Basics ones. Lodge also makes great enameled cast iron pots, just like my dutch oven. I prefer enameled cast iron because it is non-stick without seasoning it, and you can cook more things in it (like foods with acid). Lodge and Amazon Basics have great affordable prices, but I am always drawn to Le Creuset ANYTHING!

Check out my other Poblano Beef Chili using beef chuck cubes instead of ground beef!



Comments:

  1. Kijin

    Something so is impossible

  2. Olaf

    Sometimes same ... such accidental coincidence

  3. Kagagul

    I hate to read

  4. Mufid

    you were not mistaken, exactly

  5. Syman

    You are wrong ... specifically wrong

  6. Beaman

    It absolutely agree with the previous phrase

  7. Rover

    At me a similar situation. Let's discuss.

  8. Oliphant

    Wow, my sweets !!!!



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