Because it must make an impact in just one bite, competition chili is often too rich and salty for plain eating. We prefer this recipe from Carter Rochelle, a native Houstonian and chili connoisseur.
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- 6 oz. suet, cut into small pieces
- 3 lb. boneless chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup masa harina
- 4 cups low-sodium beef broth, warm
- 3 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
- Cayenne pepper
- Fresh cilantro or scallions, for garnish
- Tabasco, for serving
- Saltines, for serving
- Sour cream, for serving
- To a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the suet and melt, stirring frequently. When the fat has rendered, 8–9 minutes, remove and discard any suet solids that remain. Add the chuck (in batches, if necessary) and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 8–10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, and stir in the chili powder and garlic. Season lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the masa harina and stir well to coat. Gradually stir in the broth, vinegar, and 4 cups water. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, partially covered, until the meat is tender and begins to break down into the sauce, stirring occasionally and adding additional water as needed if the chili seems dry or begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, about 4 hours.
- Before serving, adjust the seasoning with additional salt, black pepper, and cayenne. To serve, ladle the chili into bowls, garnish with cilantro or scallions, and serve with Tabasco, saltines, and sour cream. Serve warm.