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Author Notes: Even though he is strictly a product of New Jersey, the Spouse has always been 100% Lone Star when it comes to his chili. He became even more of a chili snob once he got onto the chili cookoff trail and started hanging out with folks named Big Jim (Hog's Breath Chili), Doc (Secret Remedy Chili), and most tellingly, Tarantula Jack (famous for his Thundering Herd Buffalo Tail Chili. I am not making this up). They would spend hours drinking beer and doing shots and debating the merits of different kinds of chili peppers and whether granulated garlic was better than whole garlic cloves for competition purposes because you could control the amount down the the last obididdy and so on. About the only thing that would break up these discussions was when it came time to judge the Miss Chili Pepper contest. Go figure. —wssmom
- 3 pounds tri-tip, cut into small cubes
- 1 baseball-sized sweet onion, chopped fine
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 2-3 cups homemade chicken stock
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons cumin, toasted briefly
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 tablespoons commercial, no salt added chili powder, such as Gebhardts, Whole Foods, or WIlliams-Sonoma
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- In a skillet, brown the meat until there's no more pink left. Drain off the fat, put the meat into a heavy pot with a close-fitting lid, add the onions, garlic and 2 1/2 cups of the stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
- In the meantime, use a medium bowl to mix together the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, balsamic vinegar and enough of the stock to make it so it doesn't clump.
- Stir in the sauce, cover again and simmer another 30 minutes or so or until the meat it meltingly tender.
- Take the lid off, let reduce for five minutes or so, salt and pepper to taste, and adjust seasonings.
- Serve with plenty of grated cheese and chopped onion.