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Old 03-10-2014, 09:02 AM   #1
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Smile What makes red grease?

Hello!

You all were very helpful to me a few months ago when I posted a question regarding frozen chili tasting spoiled. Thanks again for that. Here's another question!

I'm trying to reverse engineer the recipe of a certain restaurant's chili in the town I grew up in. I now live out of state and miss that place immensely! I've got a pretty good chili recipe of my own creation, but now and again, I'd like to have something that tastes remotely close to that chili back home. My attempts are getting better, with the flavor approaching that of the restaurant's chili, but here's something that bothers me:

Their chili has little dots of red (or maybe orange) grease that float to the top. I figured it was because they use ground beef (they've advertised that they use fresh ground beef). So I use 80% ground beef, browning it first after coating the bottom of the pan with vegetable oil, and my grease is more of a clear/yellow color. Is it the vegetable oil that's preventing my grease from being red, or am I using the wrong technique, or might there be an additional ingredient producing the red grease in the restaurant's chili?

I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions.

Thank you!
Steven.

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Old 03-10-2014, 09:20 AM   #2
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Hi,
I'm not sure but it could be Paprika that gives the red colour in the grease.Turmeric tends to give a yellowish Hue to Curry sauces. I don't think it is to do with the meat content. Maybe some of the other members will have suggestions that I haven't thought of .
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:31 AM   #3
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Tomato will give you orange fat. Chili usually has at least a small amount of tomato. Some recipes have a lot. Red chilies could also add to the coloring.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:42 AM   #4
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Thank you, Celtic Cook and Andy! Your answers are so helpful because they're steering me away from thoughts about adding meats and instead pointing me toward other ingredients. My recipe currently has paprika and tumeric, but no tomatoes. It also doesn't have much in the way of red chiles- just a little cayenne pepper. I was actually not going to put the paprika in my next batch, since it doesn't seem to do much for the flavor. The tumeric seems necessary as their chili is very orange (except for the red grease), and tumeric is the only thing I've found that gives me that orange color. So maybe I'll leave the paprika in it and add some tomatoes next time.

And I hope others will share their thoughts as well.

Thanks again and again!
Steven.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:48 AM   #5
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I think chilies are releasing color and soaking into the fat content. Paprika comes from a mild pepper. It doesn't have to be meat fat. If you cooked some onion or veggies in any type of oil, this may occur.

If you don't want this, allow to cool and blot up with a paper towel when the fat comes to the surface while still warm or refrigerate completely and remove the fat layer. Reheat and serve.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:49 AM   #6
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I recommend you do a little research on chili recipes. This will give you some ideas for ways to duplicate the flavor.

Chili's basics are meat and chilie peppers. Mexican oregano, tomato, onion, garlic and cumin are often added. Turmeric isn't a normal ingredient in chili. Worry less about the color and more about the taste.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAtThis View Post
Thank you, Celtic Cook and Andy! Your answers are so helpful because they're steering me away from thoughts about adding meats and instead pointing me toward other ingredients. My recipe currently has paprika and tumeric, but no tomatoes. It also doesn't have much in the way of red chiles- just a little cayenne pepper. I was actually not going to put the paprika in my next batch, since it doesn't seem to do much for the flavor. The tumeric seems necessary as their chili is very orange (except for the red grease), and tumeric is the only thing I've found that gives me that orange color. So maybe I'll leave the paprika in it and add some tomatoes next time.

And I hope others will share their thoughts as well.

Thanks again and again!
Steven.

Paprika and turmeric aren't usually used in chili. Particularly turmeric.

Id suggest trying to "reverse engineer" based on flavor and texture rather than color.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:27 AM   #8
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Thank you, Whiskadoodle! I will look for some mild red chilis that might give color while not imparting lots of heat. This chili shouldn't be spicy.

Thanks again, Andy! Oh the research I've done... I've done a lot, specifically on chili's derived from Mexico and Texas a century ago which is where and when this recipe originated. Tumeric is sometimes a chili ingredient and was available in that region. I've experimented with oregano and garlic, and they take the flavor in a different direction. Onion is a certainty in this recipe because I can see it, and I know cumin is in it because I can taste it. I've experimented with tomato sauce but found that it makes the broth opaque instead of the translucent nature that I'm going for. As for the color, the color is a result of the ingredients, and when I began looking at the color as a clue, things started improving. Specifically, tumeric not only bought me the orangeness I needed, but it also brought the flavor more inline as well. Unfortunately, it brought the staining capabilities as well, which is also a characteristic of the chili I'm trying to duplicate. Put a white plastic ladle in it, and you pull out an orange ladle! Ok, so that's enough explanation of what I know of chili and why I'm using what I'm using. I do really appreciate your advice, so thanks for indulging me in my wordy explanations and questions.

Steven.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:31 AM   #9
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Thank you, Jennyema!

You all are so great and quick with your answers. I really appreciate that. You were so quick that my answer to Andy was half-typed when you made similar comments. Either way, I really appreciate your help. Every tip I can get from expert cooks like you is useful, and I know it will make this recipe, and my cooking skills in general, better.

Steven.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:34 AM   #10
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Thank you, Whiskadoodle! I will look for some mild red chilis that might give color while not imparting lots of heat. This chili shouldn't be spicy.
I would suggest chili powder rather than chili peppers. The powder is easier to work with and the flavor is more consistent. It's not hot and it is the primary flavor I associate with chili.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:42 AM   #11
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Take a look at this list. If you want mild, I wouldn't go much beyond jalapenos for heat level. You can get the fruitiness of the pepper taste without all the heat. Fresh peppers are not in season here, so yes to dried or powdered, plus you can more easily control how much you add to your recipe.

You may even have to order some online if looking for a particular pepper.

Using fresh peppers can be dicey. I have had mild jalapeno's and then there is one in the group that is decidedly hot !

Have fun experimenting too.

Chili Peppers - a list of chili peppers and their heat levels
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:51 AM   #12
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Thank you, GotGarlic! It probably is time for me to experiment with chili powder again. I did originally, but then the chili tasted too much like my own recipe that I've been making for years. What I'm trying to come up with tastes nothing like my original recipe, but a small dose of chili powder wouldn't hurt, and it might be enough to stain the grease.

Thanks, Whiskadoodle! I'm positive they use powdered peppers (or maybe liquid). When you look at their chili, you see pinto beans, a few bits of ground beef, and very rarely, a piece of diced onion. It's all swimming in a transparent orange broth that has brown flecks (cumin?) and red flecks (some kind of pepper). That's what you see. No other diced veggies. And this is a greasy spoon kind of place. I'm pretty sure they use cheap ingredients and don't use any gourmet techniques. Powders are easy, and I bet that's what they use.

Thanks again.
Steven.
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:21 AM   #13
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I would suggest chili powder rather than chili peppers. The powder is easier to work with and the flavor is more consistent. It's not hot and it is the primary flavor I associate with chili.
True.
And unless I'm mistaken, it's main ingredient is paprika. I can't speak for the tumeric though.
Chili powder and a little grease from your burger will give you your little pools of red rising to the top.
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:26 AM   #14
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pacanis is right about meat and chili powder being the basics.

Chili powder is a blend of ground chilies, oregano, cumin, garlic. You can use chili powder or use powdered chilies, oregano, cumin and garlic separately to achieve to flavor you want.
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:30 AM   #15
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The fat in my chili is in red specks after refrigerating, if I didn't completely drain the burger first after browning. I use chili powder.

Can you call the restaurant and ask how they make theirs?
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:37 AM   #16
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My chili has both diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and the fat is red. I also get reddish fat on my vegetable soup which I think is from the diced tomatoes and tomato juice.
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:57 AM   #17
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Wendy's chili very orange and watery and not very hot.

https://www.topsecretrecipes.com/Wen...li-Recipe.html
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:00 PM   #18
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Wow, thanks, pacanis, Andy, Dawgluver, and CarolPa!

Now I'm very excited about my next batch. I think I'll add a little chili powder to the meat. If that doesn't turn my grease red, I might add some tomato juice in the following batch. I like the idea of tomato juice versus tomato sauce since it should be less opaque and therefore more like what I'm trying to achieve. At the same time, I might leave out the paprika and decrease the tumeric, and if I lose that orange color, I'll put the tumeric back in.

Dawgluver, I would love to ask the restaurant how they make their chili, but it's a big secret. It would be akin to asking Coca-Cola for the Coke recipe, only instead of just being told no, I'd probably be laughed out of the establishment, or maybe yelled at. Either way, it wouldn't be pretty. Besides, after 22 attempts, I'm still really enjoying this! Sometimes I think I'll never match their taste, but it's a great challenge.

Steven.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:03 PM   #19
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NewAtThis, I think you need to make a friend on the "inside." LOL When my DIL worked at a local restaurant she told me that the pies they advertise as homemade come in frozen and they bake them. To me, that's not home made.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:04 PM   #20
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Jennyema, Wendy's is another distinct-tasting chili that I love! It has a totally different taste from what I'm trying to get, but still, that "Wendy's" recipe might give me some good ingredient ideas. Like I said earlier, I believe a chili's appearance can give a clue as to its ingredients, and if Wendy's looks anything at all like my target chili, then they might share some ingredients.

Thanks!
Steven.
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