Texas Old Buffalo Breath Chili written 1985

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Texas Old Buffalo Breath Chili written 1985

Postby Hj » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:06 am

Thought you all would enjoy this recipe n article.

Recipe by: John Thorne writter
Sep/Oct Chile Pepper Magazine This writer's own. Old Buffalo Breath Chili (1985)

5 lb Chuck roast
2 T. Mild chile
8 garlic cloves crushed
2 T. hot chile powder
1/4 c. olive oil
beef broth
2 T. Mexican oregano
Masa harina
1 T. cumin seeds toasted and ground
Small whole dried piquin chiles
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

On Texas range, firewood meant mesquite. Not only did the trail cook use it for his own pit cooking, but ranch cook used it to fire his wood stove. Until it was replaced with gas and electric, mesquite-flavored grilling dominated rural Texas cooking with its distinctive sweet savor. The meat of this chili is seared over charcoal where mesquite chips have been set to flame (the taste of mesquite charcoal is indistinguishable from that of any other hardwood), which gives the resulting chili a haunting hint of smoke -- and without tasting a bit like barbecue, since there is no onion or tomato in it, none at all.

For the fire: mesquite wood chips and hardwood charcoal.

For the Rub: 2 or 3 cloves of garlic and chili powder.

The chuck roast should be as lean as possible and cut at least three inches thick. Two or three hours before you plan to make the chili, rub the meat all over with a mash of crushed garlic and salt then sprinkle it with chili powder to coat it lightly. Loosely cover it with plastic and set it aside.

Fire up enough hardwood charcoal to sear the meat in an outdoor grill, preferably one with a cover. At the same time, soak a few handfuls of the mesquite chips in the water. When the coals are covered with gray ash, spread them out evenly, and scatter the soaked mesquite chips over them. Then immediately set the meat on a grill over the smoke, about an inch from the coals. Cover the grill and adjust the dampers to maintain a slow, steady heat. Let meat sear for about 12 minutes (this is meant to flavor, not to cook the meat) and turn over to sear the other side for the same amount of time. Remove it from the heat, saving any juices on its surface, and transfer to the refrigerator. Let it cool thoroughly, about one hour.

After meat has cooled, trim away any surface fat or cartilage. With a sharp knife, cube meat into smallest pieces you have patience for, saving all juices. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pot over moderate heat. Stir in the garlic and saute until it turns translucent. Stir in meat and all reserved meat juices, adding just enough beef broth to cover, or about one cup. Pour in lime juice and sprinkle in rest of the seasonings, stirring and tasting as you go. Crumble in a few piquins or other fiery chilis to bring the heat up to taste. However, do not try to adjust the seasoning to perfection right now; it's easy to ruin a chili by correcting the flavors too soon - the long cooking will smooth and sweeten it.

Lower heat to as low as possible. If the pot is left to boil, the meat will toughen. Every half hour or so after the first hour, taste for seasoning, adjusting and thickening with the masa harina a teaspoonful at a time. The chili should be about ready to eat in three hours, although it will benefit from a night's ageing in the refrigerator.

Serve it simmering in large, heavy bowls with an ample supply of soda crackers and a side of beans, but not much else except, maybe, hot, black coffee or quart-sized glasses of iced tea or a few frosty bottles of your favorite beer. And, after a good long while, push things aside, lean back in your chair, and start arguing.
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Re: Texas Old Buffalo Breath Chili written 1985

Postby Qshack » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:51 am

Another awesome looking recipe HJ. I have come to realize that you're a chili-head, so why just one Piquin pepper? This is akin to adding one drop of tobasco to a 5 lb pot of chili. Ok, more like ten drops as Piquins are HOT. But still, do you think it really makes a difference you can taste? I realize that's how the recipe is written. Keep 'em coming, brother.

Edit: Should have read the post closer. Now I see "peppers" or, to taste, I presume. Yes, this could give one buffalo breath, if you was lucky.

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Re: Texas Old Buffalo Breath Chili written 1985

Postby JimH » Mon May 14, 2012 7:19 pm

I don't know Hj, mesquite wood needs to be very seasoned. I had a bag in the garage for a year and it still bled sap when I lit it up. I think they used what they had on hand, oak and pecan.

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