Buzzard's Breath Chili

Cooks on the competition chili circuit are known to be playful when naming their recipes. But don't let the name of this recipe fool you. This chili took first prize at the Chili Appreciation Society International Cookoff in Terlingua, Texas in 1977.
  • 3 tablespoons lard, butter or bacon drippings
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 8 pounds beef chuck or round, coarse chili grind
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon ground hot red chile
  • 5 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon ground mild red chile
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
  • 3 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • parsley (optional)
  • 1 cup masa harina (corn flour)
Melt the lard, butter or drippings in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent.

Combine the beef with the garlic, ground chile, cumin and oregano. Add this meat-and-spice mixture to the onions in the pot. Break up any lumps with a fork and cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes, until meat is evenly browned.

Add the tomato sauce, water, salt and optional parsley. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Stir in the masa harina to achieve the desired consistency.

Cook 10 minutes longer, stirring. Taste and adjust seasonings.

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