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Cooking Terlingua Red

... the competition way

Jim Parker
Hard Times Cafe
1404 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314  

A basic chili recipe is not complicated at all. The Terlingua Red spice blend is simply chili powder, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder and a little salt. Much of what makes a winning recipe is the care and attention given in the preparation. The following is my cooking technique when competing. If you want to make a good bowl of Terlingua Red, follow the directions on the box. If you want a bowl worthy of competition, try this one.

In addition to the spice blend you'll need:
...2 ½ pounds of coarse ground beef (preferably 80% or 85% lean)
or
..2 ½ pounds of cubed chuck shoulder. Cut the chuck shoulder into ½ inch steaks, put the steaks into the freezer just long enough for them to become slightly frozen. Remove the steaks and cut them into cubes. (Putting the chuck shoulder steaks into the freezer firms them up enough to be able to cut the meat into perfect cubes.)

You'll also need:

  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 12 oz cans of beef broth (have several cans available)

Optional items:

  • 12 oz can of chicken broth a little bacon grease - or a pork chop Worchestershire sauce McCormick season salt

Now you are ready to go!

Brown the meat in your chili pot in the bacon grease. (The bacon grease lends a broader, richer flavor to the meat). While browning the meat sprinkle on a few shakes of McCormick season salt and Worchestershire sauce. Once the meat has been browned, pour off the fat and dispose of it. Put the meat back in the pot with either the chicken broth (optional) or water to cover the meat in the pot. Boil the meat until it becomes tender.

If you are cooking the cubed chuck shoulder its best to boil the meat in the chicken broth. An enzyme in the chicken broth helps to tenderize the meat as well as adding flavor to the meat. You can add the pork chop in the pot while you are boiling the meat. The pork adds extra flavor.

Once the meat becomes tender, add beef broth and the can of tomato sauce and bring things back up to a boil. Now is the time to add the spice mix.

Thoroughly stir the spice blend into the meat and broth and adjust the flame for a very slow boil. Boil covered for approximately ½ hour (longer for the cubed beef) - occasionally stirring. As the moisture evaporates and the gravy thickens you may add additional beef broth to suit your preference. You are striving for a thick rich gravy.

If you used the pork chop in your recipe, take it out of the pot once your chili is ready to serve. You will have a cooked pork chop with the chili spices cooked into it. Eat the pork chop. Its an added treat to reward you for your efforts.

Because Terlingua Red is a beef broth based chili you'll find that it is very tasty by itself. However, serving it on top of beans, spaghetti, or even fritos corn chips enhances the enjoyment of the chili. Be sure to top it with cheese, onions, or even a little sour cream.

Enjoy! ........ Jim Parker

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