Why put BEER in chili?

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senor boogie woogie
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2013/01/31 12:49:55 (permalink)

Why put BEER in chili?

 
The other day I was bored and ended up watching the first few minutes of this Food Network (like) show, which showcases a certain food and the best places in the country that has it. I think I may have seen this series before, when they did a show on Steak and another on hamburgers.
 
This one concerned chili, and in the introduction to the show, went to Texas. I turned it off when some guy told the camera, "This is the secret ingredient..." and pours a bottle of beer into the soup. I rolled my eyes and changed the channel.
 
I have heard of this before, but why in the hell would someone cook with beer or put beer into something like chili. Don't get me wrong, I love beer.  But to me, putting beer into food just ruins it, and I would kick someone's butt if they put that in my chili, because the chili would not be worth eating and be spoiled.
 
I think people who do this are drunken men who thinks for some reason that this would be a cool thing to do for some reason. It's a male, machismo thing. Dunno.
 
So, why put beer in chili (or anything besides my mouth and my liver?)
#1

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    SeamusD
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 14:34:31 (permalink)
    If you're putting a can of Bud Light into your chili, of course it's not going to do anything. But a bottle of a heavy, flavorful beer might make a difference in the flavor. I've had some stews flavored with Guinness where I could really taste it. And loving Guinness, the stew appealed to me in the first place.
    That being said, the only time I've ever put beer in my chili was if I was reheating it on a camp stove and it needed a little more liquid and I didn't want to waste the drinking water on it.
    #2
    Davydd
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 15:43:36 (permalink)
    Guilty I guess. I used Excelsior Brewing Bitteschlappe brown ale instead of water yesterday baking pumpernickel bread.
     
    Then a few years ago I Dutch oven cooked a hearty beef stew (not chili) in a stone driveway at a campground. I used beer instead of water. After all the beer did say "Stone Soup".
     

    #3
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 16:02:51 (permalink)
    Looks mighty good. It must have been difficult having to use beer, though. That just ruins good stew. I mean, water is so much more flavorful.
    #4
    1bbqboy
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 16:06:53 (permalink)
    Beer activates the peppers. Simple.
    #5
    Big_g
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 16:47:28 (permalink)
    I've used strong beer in some and used Black coffee in some chili too....flavor inhancement.
    #6
    kland01s
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 17:02:03 (permalink)
    I'm not a beer person but I think it would depend on the beer. Some are thin and light and would do nothing  to add flavor. Flavor is the only reason I can see adding beer. I did used to use beer to marinate beef.
    #7
    ChrisOC
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 17:43:27 (permalink)
    Michael Hoffman

    Looks mighty good. It must have been difficult having to use beer, though. That just ruins good stew. I mean, water is so much more flavorful.
     

    #8
    edwmax
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 18:08:43 (permalink)
    I think it would be a good use for 'flat' beer in strong flavored soup/stews like chili; but otherwise a waste for good drinking beer.   Flat beer sure beat using creek water & a lot of 'city' water.    .... Beer was probably used a lot more in the past on trail-drive/camping or tavern chili.
    #9
    Davydd
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 18:09:54 (permalink)
    ChrisOC

    Michael Hoffman

    Looks mighty good. It must have been difficult having to use beer, though. That just ruins good stew. I mean, water is so much more flavorful.
     

    Yeah giving up flouride and chlorine is a bummer.
    #10
    Twinwillow
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 18:58:07 (permalink)
    Living in Texas for 50 years now, I've come to learn there are two types of Texas chili.
    The traditional Texas style (old red) chili which contains neither beans or beer (my preference) and, competition chili which can contain just about anything and everything your imagination can come up with. Be it Armadillo or feral pig meat, choice of spices, and very possibly, beer. Whatever it takes for your chili to stand out and take the trophy.
     
    Ask fifty Texans how they make their chile and most likely, none won't tell you.
    But, all fifty will be different and, none of them will contain beans!  
     
    post edited by Twinwillow - 2013/01/31 19:09:46
    #11
    EdSails
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 20:31:18 (permalink)
    As Twinwillow said, there are rules and then there is creativity. I often put a good beer such as Anchor Steam or Arrogant Bastard in instead some of the water. It just adds a difference balance of flavor. Putting Bud or Coors in does nothing at all except ruin a good pot of red.
    #12
    TJ Jackson
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 21:45:25 (permalink)
    EdSails
    I often put a good beer such as Anchor Steam or Arrogant Bastard


    #13
    Twinwillow
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/01/31 21:51:37 (permalink)
    Thank you, TJ. That will be just perfect to quench my thirst.
    #14
    hatteras04
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/01 09:46:03 (permalink)
    I've never put beer in chili (not becasue I am against it, I've just never thought of it) but the recipe from Cook's Illustrated for Carbonnade a la Flamande (a Belgian beef, beer, and onion stew) is one of the best things I have ever made.  My family loves it so much that they even asked for it for Christmas dinner one year.
    #15
    rneiner
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/01 10:44:46 (permalink)
    Beer is good with or in anything!!! 
    #16
    ChrisOC
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/01 10:55:02 (permalink)
    I had an aunt that always put a little beer in the turkey gravy she made with the pan drippings.  The first time was by accident.  She liked it, and put beer in the gravy from then on.
    #17
    boyardee65
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/01 12:13:16 (permalink)
    I always put my chili instead of water. I think it tastes better.
     
    JMHO
     
    David O.
    #18
    Root-Beer Man
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/01 17:03:41 (permalink)
    I could see using a bit of smoked beer in a chili, but I usually just stick to the basic recipe, sans beer and beans.
    #19
    ChrisOC
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/01 17:51:49 (permalink)
    I always have trouble trying to smoke the beer.
    post edited by ChrisOC - 2013/02/01 17:54:21
    #20
    agnesrob
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/01 20:33:12 (permalink)
    ChrisOC

    I always have trouble trying to smoke the beer.


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    CCinNJ
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/01 20:40:43 (permalink)
    You can smoke beer with a Smoking Gun...
    http://www.molecularrecip...smoking-2/smoked-beer/

    I was never allowed to drink beer. I believe those rules are still in effect.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2013/02/01 20:48:00
    #22
    Poverty Pete
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/01 20:45:01 (permalink)
    Smoked beer is normally made with either Rausch malt  from Bamburg, Germany,
    or peat smoked malt from Scotland.  I think one of the small maltsters in Wisconsin produces a smoked malt, but I've never used it.
    #23
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/01 21:18:10 (permalink)
    That sounds fancy.
    #24
    bartl
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/02 08:57:05 (permalink)
    One thing that hasn't been brought up (except indirectly), and that is that alcohol is a solvent, and will dissolve some things that water won't. That means that, while alcohol itself is flavorless, when added to food, it will dissolve some flavoring agents that the water (or your saliva) does not, and then evaporates, making those flavors available for tasting (usually referred to as "bringing out the flavor", or, as 1bbqboy said, "activates the flavor"). Which explains vodka sauce. However, wines and beers can add additional flavors to dishes which can match them very nicely.
     
    I'm a non-drinker, but I typically keep a hearty red wine, a dry white wine, either saki or a dry sherry, and dark beer in the house for cooking. While the red wine would be good in chili, I typically use the dark beer (although my Texan friends say that if I insist on putting beer in chili, it should be Lone Star). I also have an inherited bottle of Armagnac which I save for special dishes.
     
    Bart
    Bart
    #25
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/02 09:55:42 (permalink)
    After searing the beef, adding beer deglazes the pot
     
    What little alcohol there is in beer evaporates faster than you can proceed to whatever is the next step in your recipe.
     
    (BTW:  anyone that can detect the taste of a 12 oz. beer in a gallon of chili is a better man than I).
     
    Here is my favorite recipe for Texas Chili; it's by Emeril and has a 'five star' rating from those who attempt it:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-live/texas-style-chili-recipe/index.html .
     
    Chef LaGasse deglazes a little later in his process, but his purpose is the same as mine.  IMHO, his calling for a particular brand of beer and tequila is just showmanship:  BAM!!!
    #26
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/02 10:04:10 (permalink)
    BTW, when I do my "red pasta gravy" I deglaze with red wine after searing the meat.  Later, I add more as a "taste" ingredient. 
     
    Same deal when Mrs. Metro does her wonderful Boeuf Bourguignon.  She uses elements from both Julia Child and Emeril in her oeuvre.
    #27
    bartl
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/06 22:49:11 (permalink)
    MetroplexJim After searing the beef, adding beer deglazes the pot

    I use beef broth to deglaze the pot.
     
    Bart
    #28
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/07 07:24:24 (permalink)
    1bbqboy

    Beer activates the peppers. Simple.


    Is there any bio-chemical truth to this or is it an "old wives' tale".
    #29
    Davwud
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    Re:Why put BEER in chili? 2013/02/07 07:32:02 (permalink)
    senor boogie woogie

     

    I think people who do this are drunken men who thinks for some reason that this would be a cool thing to do for some reason. It's a male, machismo thing. Dunno.



    So is this what you think of people who put wine in pasta sauce??
     
    DT
    #30
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