Rustic Chili

First of all Happy New Year!! I hope everyone had a great night of celebrating and stayed safe and out of jail. I made a resolution to write on the blog once a week, so like all resolutions I will start off strong and slowly let it fade away.

Anyway, this time of year there is a perfect storm of reasons to make a crock of chili. Usually winters freezing cold makes you crave a warm bowl of chili, but now I’m in Austin and it’s 70 degrees so I can’t use that excuse. However I could simply say I’m in Texas and it’s state law to make chili at least once a year (I so wish that was a real law). But more importantly, there are about 40 football games in a 7 day span and we all know chili is the ultimate football food.

I’ve had a itch to make chili for a few weeks now since I found a retro meat grinder at the thrift store. It was the ultimate find – $7.50 for a badass meat grinder. So I got together all the ingredients, cracked open a Genessee Cream Ale and got to work. Since I usually use ground chuck in chili, I bought a big 2 pound chuck roast.

I cut it into manageable sized pieces and dropped them into the top of the grinder. Crank, crank, crank. Nothing. There is way too much gristle (cartilage and tough inedible fibers in meat) to push through the grate. I pretty much would have needed to drop it in a blender first to make this grinder work, so I cut my losses, chugged down the beer and improvised. I pounded out the meat to tenderize it a bit then cut it up with a sharp knife into quarter size pieces. It actually ended up working out well because I cut out some fat and could work around the gristle. In the end, it would have been a lot faster and less stressful to just buy the pre-ground chuck, but this ended up with a different texture which I enjoy and which is also why it’s called Rustic. Because chunky means rustic right? No? Whatever.

From here you can move on as if its pre-ground or self-cut, since it is the same process. So check out the recipe below and try it out. It works in a crock pot or just a large spaghetti pot. I’m a huge fan of spicy, so adjust the portions to fit your taste!

Rustic Chili Recipe

  • 2 lb chuck roast or ground chuck
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 fresh jalapeno
  • teaspoon of cumin
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans
  • 1 10 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 or 3 ounces of tabasco
  • salt and pepper

Heat a large skillet with oil, and once hot add the beef. I tried to get it real hot first to sear the meat, but probably not necessary for ground chuck. This is when I seasoned the meat, adding salt and pepper as well as the cumin. Cook until all the pink is gone, then transfer to your crock pot or pot using a slotted spoon leaving the grease and excess water behind. This step is important because it keeps the chili from being way too fatty like it would if you tried to cook everything in the crock pot.

Next, add the diced peppers, jalapenos, and onions as well as minced garlic into the crock. For the tomatoes, I used whole peeled tomatoes and crushed them in my hand making it more rustic and unique. Helps make each spoonful different. Then strain the juice off your beans and add them in, as well as the diced tomatoes with green chilies and all your spices. Do it in steps so you don’t go past your desired spiciness level. Set the crock to 250 degrees and let it chill out for at least 6 hours, but longer is better! It will thicken and darken with time and I recommend finishing up the seasoning after its cooked and the flavors fully mix. But that’s it, simple and easy and ready for the big game. Have fun.


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