Zac Brown Chili

My name is Dave, and I’m a Parrothead. Whew, glad I got that off my chest.

I am a huge fan of Jimmy Buffet and often wish for little more than to be able to sail off to some salty piece of land. Sigh…

I have damn near every song Jimmy has ever recorded, so I was intrigued when Jimmy performed with the Zac Brown Band and said that when it came time to “pass the Tiki torch” he was going to pass it off to Zac.

That’s one hell of a recommendation, but I took one listen to Zac’s The Foundation and it was all over. I now have both it and You Get What You Give in permanent rotation on my CD player. He’s not Jimmy, and that’s a good thing, but they both share a love for great lyrics, general irreverence, and that wonderful country/reggae/Caribbean sound.

Now I hear that Zac has a cookbook called Southern Ground coming out and I just had to give his chili recipe a try. This is my version:

1 lb. beef-tenderloin tips, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork or chorizo
1 medium white onion, diced
1 tablespoon masa flour or cornmeal
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 (14.5-ounce) can beef stock
2 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken stock
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (4-ounce) can mild diced green chilies
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, chopped fine
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
3 tablespoons medium chili powder

Brown all the meat and the onion in a large dutch oven or other grill-safe pan. Drain if needed. Add the masa, garlic, stock, sauce, chilies, cumin,  jalapeño, pepper, and chili powder.

Simmer for an hour, then add:

1 (10-ounce) can Rotel Tomato & Green Chilies
4 tablespoons medium chili powder
2 tablespoons Ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained

Simmer for 45 minutes. Adjust seasonings, and serve with a sharp grated cheddar cheese and a dollop of crema.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Excellent chili! Much beefier and less tomato-based than my usual recipes. The deep, rich, and well-rounded heat didn’t overtake the dish. I’m not sure what adding the seasoning in 2 waves buys this recipe, but I’m not one to argue chili with a southerner.

“But you only get once chance at life to leave your mark upon it
And when a pony he comes riding by you better set your sweet ass on it”

Let it Go, Zac Brown Band

4 thoughts on “Zac Brown Chili”

  1. That has got to be one flavorful chili. First of all all of the meats and then that lineup of chili powders. I’ve not heard of the Zac Brown band, will have to learn more about them.

  2. That sounds like one hell of a chili, as a Parrothead myself and a fan of Zac Brown as well, this has been booked marked and on the “cook as soon as possible” list. As always thanks for the inspiration!

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