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How to Make a Texas T'Tonka Chili

A tasty, hearty, no-bean chili guaranteed to leave you feeling satisfied at the end. Perfect meal when you come home after a day's hard and long hike. I use bison meat because I get to pretend it's healthy. Just kidding, it's not *too* terrible for you. Also, yes, referencing Dances With Wolves.

By: Charlie Jasper + Save to a List

Disclaimer and/or Shameless Plug

Episode 1 of Grubbing With Grizzly, Texas T'Tonka Chili, is available on YouTube and at www.grubbingwithgrizzly.com

What do I need?

  • Well, you need a big pot, first. I use a gigantic 6-quart ceramic/cast-iron pot.
  • A slightly less big pot
  • A blender
  • You need about 2.5 lbs of bison sirloin, trimmed
  • About 2 cups of cup of beef stock
  • 2 tbsp of kosher salt and black pepper (mixed)
  • 2.5 tbsp of smoked sea salt
  • 1.5 tbsp of chipotle and cumin powder (mixed)
  • 8-10 dried guajillo peppers (more for flavor than kick)
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of light (or dark) brown sugar
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 3/4-1 lb bacon
  • 1 cup whiskey (or...to taste)
  • Water
  • Time. Lots of time.

Ok, now what do I do?

  1. First and foremost, heat up the peppers (all of them) in your big pot over a lowish heat, 3-4 minutes a side.
  2. Peel the outer skin and outer layer of your onions and cut them into small-ish chunks. Don't fuss about the size, just enough to pop them in your blender.
  3. Flip the peppers to do that other 3-4 minutes a side. Total time 6-8 minutes of roasting.
  4. Peel and press (lightly) your garlic cloves and put those in your blender.
  5. Take your roasted peppers and put them in your less big pot with some warm water, keep that over a low flame for about 20-40 minutes.
  6. Add your salt-and-pepper and chipotle-cumin mixes to the blender, along with half of your beef stock, and a half cup of whiskey.
  7. Layer the bacon in your big pot and let that fat start coating the pan.
  8. While your bacon is greasing the pan, cut your meat into 1-1 1/2" chunks.
  9. Remove the bacon when it's fairly close to crispy and let it sit on a paper towel on top of a plate. Once all of your bacon is done, empty the fat into a mug or a measuring cup and start browning your meat on at least two sides of the chunks
  10. Once your peppers are good and soaked - flexible, heavy because water, leaking, maybe the stems fall out - drain them into a colander and slice them open on one side. Gently run water on them while you remove the seeds (as many as humanly possible...unless you're into that) and put them all into your mix in the blender. Run it until everything is pureed into a smokey-smelling goo.
  11. As the meat browns, add the mix to it, along with some of the bacon grease. After about half an hour, it should look like this. Stir occasionally.
  12. Start mixing in the brown sugar, corn meal, smoked sea salt, and whiskey at various intervals.

  13. Crumble up the bacon and throw it in the pot after about 30 more minutes.

  14. Pour the remainder of your whiskey and brown sugar in. Literally leave nothing but the detritus and garbage behind. Stir it up. Let it sit for another...30 or so minutes.

  15. After 30 minutes, it should look something like what you see above. Squeeze a little juice from a lime onto it, and have with a slice of bread and butter, or maybe Texas toast, I ain't judging.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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