With the southern hemisphere’s winter upon us, there’s no need to mothball the Weber when you could be dishing up a steaming bowl of delicious chili on a cold night. For issue 22’s Munchies page, we got this cracking recipe from BBQ guru Matt Moore.
South Africans love a braai, Americans love to grill. They call their cast-iron pots “Dutch ovens” where we would use a potjie (Afrikaans for little pot). But while South Africans do make savoury mince as something you might smash with a vetkoek (fat cake), Americans take imperial ownership of chili.* There are closely guarded recipes, techniques (stir vs no-stir?), pride and prestige around potjie competitions and debates in South Africa. The US have those for chili, but 100-fold. Beef or turkey? Beans or no beans? Cinnamon? Coffee? And so on.
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There is no single way of making chili. Like anything popular and versatile, there are going to be loads of remixes over the centuries. It is widespread across many states, making chili is hugely personal and provincial, but for us the connotations are that of cowboys, the West and specifically Texas, where it’s the state dish. To teach us how to cook chili in a potjie/Dutch oven on the braai/grill, we spoke to Nashville-based author and chef, Matt Moore. You might know him from his earlier hits, The South’s Best Butts (not what you think) and A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen.
Matt has just released a new book, Serial Griller: Grillmaster Secrets for Flame-Cooked Perfection, which is jam-packed with drool-provoking recipes from his travels to BBQ pits and smokehouses across the USA. While we were tempted to feature the East Nashville Hot Chicken, Debris Po’ Boy and Greek Ribs, ultimately it was this cracking chili recipe from the book that won the day. Nail it for your mates and you just might win 2020.
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CHILI ON THE GRILL
Hands-On: 1 hour, 20 minutes | Total: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Matt says, “There is chili, and then there is chili from the grill. Cooking the ingredients in an open, searing hot Dutch oven in a covered grill allows the ingredients to get both a flavorful browning without losing any natural juices to the flames and plenty of smoky flavor. The result is a complex, delicious chili. It is formidable on its own in a bowl with your preferred garnishes, or as the key component in a chili cheese dog.”
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium (8-ounce) yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
1½ tablespoons minced garlic (from 4 medium cloves)
2 pounds/1 kg 80/20 lean ground beef
2½ tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can tomato puree/passata
1 cup water
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
For the method, plus a vetkoek recipe to pair with your chili, get stuck into The Mission Issue 22 below, or buy the print version here (we ship worldwide).