5 Tips for Better Chili

Looking for chili cooking tips? The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce Chili Cook-Off  is a Big Bear Lake tradition! Check out the list below for 5 Tips for Better Chili.

Add Something Sweet

Tomatoes are the main ingredient used in chili. However, they are very acidic and often leave chili tasting sour. By adding a spoon full of sugar or squeeze of honey, you can improve the flavors infused by the tomato base. To cut calories, you can also use artificial sweeteners.

TIP: Taste test your chili as you sweeten it for better results. If you over sweeten the pot, add salt.

Add a dash of sugar or honey to your chili for better flavor!

Spruce Up Your Chili with Sauce and Salsa

Do you favor chili that’s full of flavor? Spruce up your chili with your favorite jar of spaghetti sauce or Mexican salsa. The seasoned ingredients in spaghetti sauce and salsa include:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Basil, Oregano, Parsley and Other Italian Seasonings

Using pasta sauce and salsa is the perfect was to boost the overall flavor of your chili, created by the bland taste of plain tomato sauces, pastes and purees. If you prefer homemade spaghetti sauce, simply freeze 2-6 cups of sauce and add it to your next pot of chili. Salsa comes in an array of heat levels, which is why it’s important to taste, before pouring it into your pot.

TIP: For thicker sauces and salsa, add equal parts water to thin out the base of your chili.

Replace bland and canned sauce with salsa or sauce for better chili!

Season It like Steak

Chili calls for many of the same seasonings used to prepare steak. Try to think about the best steak you’ve ever eaten. How was it seasoned? What steak sauce did you use before it melted in your mouth? Imagine if you could take the culinary experience infused by the flavors in “the perfect steak” and add it to your chili. Now, do it.

Steak Seasonings 

Look through your refrigerator and sift through your pantry. First, trade out table salt and ground pepper for a few sprinkles of steak seasoning, which usually contain the following ingredients common to chili recipes:

  • Garlic
  • Onion Powder
  • Black and Red Pepper
  • Sea Salt

TIP: Be careful and sprinkle slowly. Steak seasoning can be very salty. You don’t want to ruin your chili by over salting the pot.

Add steak seasonings and sauce to your chili recipe.

Steak Sauces

Next, add a dash or two of Worcestershire or your favorite steak sauce, which accent the ingredients in chili, perfectly. In fact, many steak sauces are made with a tomato base just like chili! If you using homemade spaghetti sauce, already containing Worcestershire sauce. Take a taste, before you add another dash.

TIP: Poor the steak sauce on a spoon. Then, stir. It is known to be past to pour.

Try a New Meat

Stay away from your normal chili recipe by using a new type of meat such as:

  • Ground Turkey
  • Shredded Chicken
  • Cuts of Steak

Changing up your meat will allow you customize your chili for a specified diet or special occasion like a holiday gathering. If you are a creature of habit, the most comparable choice to ground beef—based on price and flavor—is ground turkey. For steak lovers, we suggest filet minion.

TIP: Prepare steak separately to a rare temperature. Add steak to chili. Simmer on the stovetop for at least one hour. For crockpot instructions, click here.

Taste That’s Worth the Wait

The longer a pot of chili cooks, the better it tastes.  Is chili recipe is lacking flavor? Try cooking it for one hour and stirring it regularly—about every 5-10 minutes. If you don’t have time to tend to the taste of your chili, use a slow cooker.

TIP: Cook chili a day before you plan to serve it for better flavor. Refrigerate and reheat on the stove top.

Share Your Own Chili Cooking Tips

We hope these tips help prepare you for the chili cooking season ahead. For information about our Big Bear Lake accommodations, make reservations online or call (800) 798-3960.

For information about events, local news updates, resort specials and weekly weather reports, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We would also love to hear your own chili cooking tips and cooking photos, so don’t forget to tag us @BigBearFrontier to join the conversation!

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