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Chili questions

Boilermaker BenBoilermaker Ben Posts: 1,956
edited 1:14AM in EggHead Forum
I'm making chili this weekend, and will be doing a few things differently this time.

This will be my first time cooking in a dutch oven on the egg. At what height do you use the DO? On the fire ring? On the spider? On a raised grid? Some combination (sear the meat, saute the onions closer to the coals and then move it up to a higher level for the braising period? And for the height you use, what size fire and/or temp do you run at?

Also, this will be the first time I'm using pre-smoked pork-rib trimmings (leftovers from a couple racks of spares). I'm going to use chili powder, instead of a BBQ rub, sound like a good idea? For those of you who have used smoked rib meat in chili, at what point do you add the pork to the chili? Since they're already fully cooked, do you add it at the end of the cook, just to warm them up? Or do you only lightly smoke (rather than fully cook) them and then finish them off with the full braise?

I'm also using leftover uncooked brisket meat. I thought I'd grind some of it, and cut some of it into 1/2" chunks. Last time I made chili with chunks of beef, rather than ground (I think I used chuck) it came out tough. I'm guessing I didn't cook it long enough to make it tender. Any tips for a man trying new things?


  • I would grind the brisket and sautee it with my onions and peppers. I'd let it cook the whole time with my chili, as well as the pork.
    I cook indirect at the felt level. Scott
  • Richard FlRichard Fl Posts: 8,087
    I do chili in a 9 qt DO on the Large. Spider down for searing the meat and sauteeing the weeggies. spider up for the rest OR plate setter legs up with spacers between plate setter and DO Top off mix all ingredients and cook 300F or so for a few hours until you are happy.

    I frequently use the trimmings of ribs that I have boiled and removed the meat and/or left over cooked brisket chopped into 1 inch pieces. If using uncooked brisket either grind course or chop small pieces, leave some fat on it for flavor. They all fall apart with time.
    Keep an eye on the thickness, you may have to add some liquid, beer, tomatoe juice or water, your call. stir every 1/2 hour or so. Last year did a batch with apple wood and after about 3 hours of cooking,checked liquid,left pot on, shut the BGE down and went to bed, about 10pm. Got up next morning and had an EGGcelent pot of chili.

  • Thanks for the advice.
    Do you keep the fire small if you're doing the searing/sauteing with the spider/legs-down? I'm thinking about how hot my wok gets and figuring a smaller fire would be needed.
  • Clay QClay Q Posts: 4,432
    I have a 'camp' Dutch oven with feet that I stand on the plate setter. This keeps everything nice and stable. If you got a D.O. without feet you can use three egg feet. I sometimes use the egg feet or pieces of firebrick I have cut into feet/spacers. You may have seen the small firebrick feet at the eggfest with my D.O.
    For chili I cook around 275-300 degrees dome indirect for a low boil.
    I guess that browning the meat first with onion and garlic like regular chili would work for you as a starting point even though the meat you have is already cooked.
    A loooooong slow cook is best for chili, then a rest in the frig overnight to mellow the flavors before serving the next day.
    Good luck and have fun.
  • vidalia1vidalia1 Posts: 7,091
    I cook chili with the platesetter in feet up...I use the little green feet and set the 9 qt CIDO on the feet...half the cook is done with the top on and half with it off...
  • Richard FlRichard Fl Posts: 8,087
    I just get enough charcoal in for a regular fire, that will last 4-6 hours. I control with the damper and lid openings, have done chile and gumbo with fire box full.
  • Feet up with the DO on the platesetter start at 300* and go up or down from there as the others said cook it all at the same time, the longer it simmers the more tender the meat well get

  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226

    If using uncooked brisket make sure you brown it first and leave the chili cooking for a long enough time to fully cook any uncooked meat in the liquid.

    I load the lump to just above the top of the air holes in the fire box. I light in 2 to 3 places, I am not looking to get high heat. At my altitude a nice slow simmer happens at about 340° - 375° dome (300° on the top of the DO).

    Put the DO on the spider in normal position to brown the uncooked meat. Cooked meat won't matter, I add meat early in the cook to impart full flavor.

    You can also put a cast iron DO right on the lump to sear, but make sure you don't leave the cook until the DO is on the spider.

    Also, roast the chili powder & dry seasoning in the DO before adding liquid. It gives the seasoning a wonderful flavor.

    Invert the spider and put the DO on the spider and finish adding ingredients, stir and let it cook at a low simmer.

    A DO doesn't need anything to be used indirect in any manner, nor does it hurt go indirect.

    In my picture below I use a deep dish SS pizza pan only because the DO is too small to sit on top of the Spider without falling through.



    You are in for a great cook.

  • Thanks for the very detailed response, Kent.

    From reading the whole post, it looks like "normal position" for the spider is so the ring is lower, and inverted means with the ring raised, correct?

    I've got an enamelled DO, so I don't think I'll be putting it IN the coals. ;)

    I also cook my seasonings, but I do it when they are whole. I toast the whole chiles and whole cumin, then grind them. I usually do this the day of, or day before the cook.

    I'm thinking I'll use the spider for the sear, then go indirect for the remainder of the cook. I'll brown the meat, saute the onions, add the remaining ingredients, except for the smoked rib meat (and the beans...gotta wait to do those until I have the cook mostly done and have reserved some of the "chili" for my wife's no-bean "chili" portion :unsure: ), and then go indirect. I'm used to doing chili with the lid on for the first half of the cook, and the lid off for the second half, so I think I'll continue doing it that way, and add the cooked rib meat toward the end, so it doesn't get dry and chewy. Then reserve the wife's portion and add the beans to the rest.
  • DryFlyDryFly Posts: 351
    Use Egret's recipe. Guaranteed winner.
  • fiver29fiver29 Posts: 589
    I prefer Kennyg's chili. Here's his recipe. It can be adapted to your needs.

    Here's the base recipe. This will provide 4 hearty servings or about 15 EggFest portions
    and will double, triple, and quadruple nicely for company and larger crowds. I made a 4X
    batch for EggFest. note: *=recommended brands. Also see Eggers notes below.
    1 large can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes and liquid.
    *(Muir Glen)
    2 cans (14 oz. each) chili beans and liquid.
    *(Bush's, hot or mild)
    1 lb ground meat or sausage (ground chuck,
    sirloin in any fat/lean combination) left over
    sausage, etc.) I used a 2:1 ratio of ground meat
    and spicy pork sausage at EggFest.
    2-3 strips of bacon.
    2-3 medium cloves of garlic run thru a garlic
    1 large or 2 small onions, medium chop
    2 stalks cerery, small dice.
    2 Tbs chili powder *(McCormick or something
    1 Tbs ground cumin.
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
    1 squirt chocolate syrup or 1 T. Cocoa powder
    *(Hersheys, Swiss Miss).
    Splash of balsamic vinegar.
    Splash or Tabasco hot sauce or your favorite.
    1 tsp oregano.
    2 Tbs BBQ rub *(Dizzy Dust, Lysanders, Bilardo
    6 0z. beef broth *(Swanson) or better yet, beer or
    fruity red wine.
    1 large dried chili pepper (guarillo, california,
    pasilla, chipotle, scotch bonnet-(5 alarm).
    Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
    Wood chunks, I used Kiawe (Hawaiian mesquite)
    and pecan in ATL.
    *Indicates recommended brands
    Preheat your Egg to 275-300º
    Open tomato and bean cans and dump into appropriately sized "chili pot", deep
    Corningware cassarole dish, metal stockpot, cast iron dutch oven, etc.
    Fry bacon extra crisp in a non stick skillet and crumble into chili pot.
    Use bacon drippings to brown ground meat and sausage, seasoning with salt and pepper
    as you go. Halfway thru the browning process, add onions, garlic and celery. Drain
    grease and dump contents into chili pot. Float your dried peppers on top.
    Add all remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly to incorporate well.
    Cook on the Egg with smoking chunks, placing chilipot on a pizza stone or other
    "thermal barrier". This allows the chili to heat slowly and pick up more smoke flavor. Stir
    and taste every 20 minutes or so.
    Monitor the chili temp with an instant read thermo or Polder. Remove the dried pepper
    when you have the heat you are looking for. At about 140º internal and/or 1.5-2 hours,
    remove the thermal barrier. With the pot directly over the heat now, it should come up to
    a boil in about 30 more minutes.
    Serve with thinly sliced green onions and graded cheddar cheese on top, perhaps a dolop
    of sour cream also.
    It will taste even better the next day when reheated from a refrigerated and not frozen
    Freezing is OK, but something will get lost in the translation.
    Eggers Notes:
    If you prefer a "no beans" Texas chili, skip the beans while adding another 1/2 pound of
    meat and another 4 oz. of beef broth per batch.
    Recipe Source
    Author: KennyG (Ken Gajda)
    Strongsville, Ohio

    Yes.  I own a blue egg!  Call Atlanta if you don't believe me!
    [I put this here so everyone knows when I put pictures up with a blue egg in it]

  • Don’t have a spider, so I brown / sauté’ on the grid, either atop the fire box or fire ring, most often the fire ring. I’ve thought about trying it atop the lump…But haven’t done that one yet.
    I then set up for indirect and move the DO to the plate setter (legs down and spaced) and cook everything together.
    Once the onion and garlic are ready, all the ingredients go into the pot at the same time and I simmer for as long as I can stand it, at a max temp. of 300F.
    I always use a chili powder along with fresh peppers, if I have them.
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