Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pulled Pork Chili

Pulled Pork chili

5 lbs of pulled pork

1/2 lb bacon diced
3 28 oz cans diced tomatoes and juice
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 14.5 oz cans tomato sauce
5 cups water
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 15 oz cans pinto beans
2 15 oz cans dark kidney beans
2 15 oz cans Bush chili beans
1 15 oz can corn kernels drained (optional)
brown sugar
cayenne pepper
chili powder
3 small med heat peppers seeded and chopped
1 hot pepper chopped with seeds
1 small green pepper
1 lrg yellow onion
1 whole head garlic, hulled and chopped
instant coffee

Thanks for reading today! I've missed having anything to write about and am glad that I can bring you a recipe I'm working on for pork chili. This batch was close to what I have in mind for a perfect chili and only a couple of changers are needed the next time I prepare it. This recipe doesn't involve cooking outdoors, however one of the ingredients, pulled pork, was smoked outside for 13 slow and savory hours. That recipe and technique can be found here.

The list of ingredients is long I'll admit, however I like to encompass several complimentary layers of flavor in my food. For example, in this recipe, I use cinnamon and cumin to open the receptors of the tongue and allow the peppers and heat to be savored without burning your mouth. Your forehead may break out in a sweat, but your tongue will be just fine. You'll also see that I use a couple of sweeteners and avoid using processed white sugar. The sweetness is just enough to convince your palette to take another spoonful. the instant coffee creates a richness and color that is complimented by the apple cider vinegar's pleasant bitterness.

I'm not going to provide measurements today because I do not cook that way. I can't even think of the last time I used a teaspoon or a tablespoon to add an ingredient to what I am cooking. I will give some rough estimates but if you make this or use the recipe as a base for your own, use more or less of an ingredient to create the flavor you want. This way my recipe becomes your guide and your chili is your own creation. Just keep in mind that heat from peppers takes time to develop as you cook. Do not keep pouring cayenne pepper in until you get your first burn or heat, because that stuff will develop and come back to ruin your batch.

Add ingredients with heat sparingly at first, until you have a knack for knowing the ingredient. Fresh peppers are the best for a recipe like this because they are really robust and compliment the pork well. Fresh peppers will open the nasal passages and please your senses. If you can't get fresh peppers in your area, just make sure to use a recently purchased container for freshness and flavor. Do not store your spices over the stove as they'll loose flavor their fast. Store them in a cool dry and dark place.

The first ingredient is pulled pork. You can learn how it was prepared by visiting the link above or on the right under the recipe nav bar. There is no substitute for this ingredient. The flavor of the smoke and pulled pork is critical in making this dish what it is. If you don't have a smoker you can still smoke a shoulder or a boston butt (top shoulder with only a blade bone) in your gas or charcoal grill by using indirect heat and wood chips or pellets. I'll be providing a tutorial on that cooking method soon, I promise. It is a simple process and some of you already use it one you move a nearly done burger to the side of the grill to make room for one that needs more cooking. We simply cook the meat without being over direct flame. The trick is to keep the temperature about 225 degrees Fahrenheit and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 200-205. Let it rest until it is cool enough to pull bone out by hand and then simply pull apart into strands.

OK, let's get in the kitchen and get started on our chili before the first snow sets in. I live in Florida and don't have to worry about snow, but i know some of you enjoy it every winter. I miss it, and i don't. It was great when I was a kid. The first thing we are going to do is get all of our ingredients together. I like to place my veggies on a cutting board together and gather everything close by, so I know it's there when I need it. I don't like to be rooting through cabinets or the fridge while cooking.

Go ahead and dice the onions, mince the garlic and chop up the peppers. On my Güero peppers, I remove the membrane and seeds to keep the heat down. You may leave them in if desired. The Güero peppers has a great spicy smell to it. Get out a large stock pot and turn the heat on to medium high, tone it down a tad for gas stoves. (I'm cursed with electric) Add the chopped up bacon and stir around until it begins to look done, add the onions and green pepper and garlic and cook until the onions turn translucent, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat and add your heat peppers and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. When you can begin to smell the spicy aroma from the heat peppers, it's time to being adding our liquids.

Pour in the water, apple juice, cider vinegar and tomato sauce, cover and under a low heat, bring to a simmer. Add any remaining spices and sugars and coffee and stir in thoroughly. At this point, taste and adjust seasonings until the heat is about 50% of what you want. Remember, that heat will develop and become stronger as you allow the chili to cook. Cover the stock pot and resume simmering for approximately one hour, stirring occasionally. At this time, taste it again and make any adjustments you desire. If the tomato tastes bitter, add more honey or a touch of brown sugar. The heat should now be close to what you want, so if it still is a bit weak, add some more cayenne and chili powder, in small increments.

Once you have the flavor where you want it, take a potato masher and mash the floating tomato pieces and the pork meat onto the bottom of the stock pot until the tomato pieces break up and the meat is in fine strands. Once you have that consistency, add all of the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 45 minutes. The beans should be tender and the heat from your peppers should be right where you want it at this time. Allow the chili to sit off the burner for about an hour before serving. This allows the flavors to further develop and the chili to cool a bit so it doesn't burn the roof of your mouth. Stir deeply before serving.

Afterthoughts: My friend and neighbor suggested that there was entirely too much meat in this dish and that it needed more corn and beans. I agreed with him 100% and next time we'll use two cans of corn and will reduce meat by about half. We will also double the amount of beans, as there simply weren't enough for the amount of chili that we prepared. The beans were sparse in the bowl. The spices were right on though, so we'll leave those as is next time. This chili had a wonderful aroma and a pleasant hot spicy flavor that didn't have you running to the faucet to put out a fire. This recipe made about 10 quarts of chili and it freezes well.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions. Good tips or questions will appear in future blog entries unless you specify that don't want it printed.imply click on my signature below to contact me.

Until next time - Keep on smokin!

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