Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Chilis in the night

I cook a mean pot of chili, if I say so myself. Good quality lean meat and fresh spices and beans (yes, I'm a heretic and put a can of chili beans in) result in a fiery yet flavorful concoction that is irresistable.

The problem is that making up a good batch of chili takes time, and to do it right, you have to make a BIG batch of chili. Then there's the fuss of freezing it into individual containers, carrying it to work in a backpack (motorcycle, remember?) still frozen, yada yada yada. Plus you can't carry it on a camping trip on the motorcycle. So I've been searching for something in a jar, can, foil pouch, whatever that I can easily haul to work or on a camping trip.

Verdict: I'm still searching.

I tried a couple of variants of the Stagg's. Blah. Fatty-tasting, no bite, the overwhelming taste of the corn starch and lard used as a thickener. Blah. Just blah.

Same deal with the Bush's. The Bush's "Hot" chili was almost edible. Almost. The spice was okay, but it still had the redolent reek of lard.

Hormel: You're joking. This crap is dog food.

So: Is there anything out there that's actually edible? Curious penguins want to know!

-- Badtux the Gustatory Penguin

Posted by: BadTux / 10/21/2006 10:23:00 PM  


Um... I make good hotcakes. I like the chili at Wendey's.
# posted by BBC : 22/10/06 7:10 AM  

Hey bbc, I like the chili at Wendy's too, almost the same thing I make so it is easier to just stop at Wendy's.

I think Wendy's chili would not have enough bite for the Penguin though.
# posted by The TechnoBabe : 22/10/06 9:44 AM  

I like the way you focus on the important issues, like chili and pizza.

The only way to have chili, is homemade!. Yes I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to chili and pizza.

My chili has beans also, but I use black beans, I like the flavor, and they are a good source of iron (I'm anemic). Never tasted anything out of a can that can come close to what I can make myself, give up now and learn to can your own chili.

in a pitch, I can stand Wendy's chili, with the extra hot sauce, or some Texas Pete. Forgive me, Tux, for the use of the TX Pete, but I like the flavor, and you are probably used to the more powerful Louisiana hot sauces, which are mighty good also, but I already sweat too much here in Alabama.
# posted by niCk (Mem Beth) : 22/10/06 10:39 AM  

i am sorry to report that in my experience chili is something that must be homemade. sometimes you can use a canned product (like a spaghetti sauce) to be the base for a souped up semi-homemade version. alas, chili is not something that this can be done with. beware chili while traveling. it can do permanent damage to body and soul. chili should be served and consumed, only at home (yours or a trusted friend's) by and with people that love you. beans? go ahead. it's your house, your chili. the chili fools who make all these bullshit rules have very little understanding of the dish, its origins and want to freeze something dynamic and vibrant into a west texas stale ass white bread bowl of red goo. served up with shitty beer. give me a heads up sometime and we can post differing, but not competing recipes. (i do a beyond decent chili verde, but my chili con carne recipe came from the legendary maria camacho)
# posted by The Minstrel Boy : 22/10/06 12:49 PM  

I make a decent home-made chili con carne. But, I have yet to find anything out of a can that even came close. Most of the canned chilis have too much lard/grease/junk, and not enough spices. Or, their version of spices are just hot-hot-hot, which isn't what chili is supposed to be about; you should be able to taste the flavour without requiring a firetruck to put out the flames in your mouth.

Anyway, the best solution may be to can your own. You could either use a glass jar, similar to home canning that millions of mothers have been doing for decades, or you could buy a home tin canning machine and use that for something a little more resilient against breakage. Just be a little careful that the acid in the tomato sauce doesn't affect the can (e.g., use a lined can).

As for chili ingredients, those can vary widely. I like a nice ground venison base, though, with lots of red beans, ground chili peppers (beware the commercial ground chili powder that contains silica; who wants to intentionally eat sand?), tomato sauce, and onions. Optional are a couple of jalapenos (or even habernos, although see my previous comment about hot-hot-hot) and beer for body and flavour (although it tends to scortch if you don't keep the temperature down or don't keep it stirred enough).

But you're coming close to exhausting the extent of my cooking ability. I do, though, make a mean soup (although it's more of a mulligan than anything, although certain people call it more of a stew).

# posted by Anonymous : 22/10/06 5:13 PM  

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention "Cincinnati Style Chili", which some people don't even consider to be chili at all (and others consider the only true chili):

# posted by Anonymous : 22/10/06 5:19 PM  

Yeah, minstrel boy, I loved Chile Verde when I lived in NM, but haven't learned to make a decent one myself. I think I'll start experimenting again, but the ingredients, like good green chile are to hard to find in Alabama.
# posted by niCk (Mem Beth) : 22/10/06 5:34 PM  


I was at Wendy's yesterday and saw an employee: 1. Stick her hand down her pants. 2. Grab a pot of hot water off the coffee warmer. 3. Pour the water into the chili to thin it out and stir it in before serving the next customer.

I can only assume that they hand down the pants was to add flavor.

I got a frosty.
# posted by NewsBlog 5000 : 22/10/06 5:56 PM  

I love Frosty's also. And chili is a cooked food, I don't have any problem with a little nose picking, or hands down the pants with it.

Now salads in Restaurants, they bother me, I've cooked in a Restaurant, I don't order cold salads in them. I've seen to many of them prepared on surfaces that wasn't properly sanitized.

I'll eat a cooked meal in a dive, but not a fresh salad.
# posted by BBC : 22/10/06 6:18 PM  

I gave up on canned chili, it's all pretty much dog food. I generally use 1 qt freezer ziplocs, and lay them on a flat surface while they are settling and freezing. My friends laugh at my "food filing system" in the freezer, but it works. Once the bags are frozen you can stand them up in plastic baskets and look through them like you would files in a filing cabinet. Big batches of soups, stews, chilis, no problem. Just keep a big bowl at work, and pull off the bag while it's still frozen and microwave. No mess with the bags that way, and no melted plastic in your food.
# posted by nunya : 22/10/06 9:49 PM  

i like that nunya - thanks!!
# posted by azgoddess : 23/10/06 9:58 AM  

Two words: Alton Brown

Granted, he's riding a BMW, but he recently did a short series on road food called Feasting on Asphalt. He even picked up this gadget that plugs into the bike and cooks food while you ride. Other versions use engine heat to do the same thing. Alton's bike gear

I recommend dehydrated ingredients and picking up fresh meat at or on the way to your destination. Put ingredients into abovementioned cooker and voila. If you're roughing it, well... You may want to try the flat freezing system and make chili your first night meal.
# posted by Sionnach, the Celtic Kitsune : 23/10/06 5:19 PM  

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