Saturday, August 25, 2012

Padfoot the pupster's 1st birthday + chili!

St. Paddy's Day 2012, this little monster/ love-bug joined our lives (after 3 months of searching)! He's got some labrador in him, as well as some rottweiler and Australian shepherd. He's the silliest (he likes to play with his toys on his back, holding them in between his front paws, like an otter) and sweetest puppy and we feel like he was made for us.

We don't know his exact birth-date, but we decided August 17th made sense. He was approx. 7 months when we brought him home. St. Paddy's Day was March 17th. The 17th lands in the middle-ish of the month. So, we gathered the in-laws and threw him a party.

I cooked him a plate of real bacon and cheese. And we gave him a bone as long as he is.

For the adults, we grilled some chicken drumsticks (marinated the drumsticks in beer for a couple hours, then sprinkled with a dry rub of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper). The secret ingredient: basting the chicken with homemade BBQ sauce the last 10 mins or so. Everything's better homemade, yes?

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses or honey (or mix n' match ... honey will be sweeter of course) 
  • 2T butter
  • 1/2t garlic powder (I always add extra)
  • 1/2t onion powder
  • 1/4t chili powder
  • 1t paprika
  • 1/4t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2t cayenne pepper (add more if you want it spicier, but taste it first and add slowly) 
  • 1t salt
  • 1t coarsely ground black pepper


Simmer all ingredients for up to 20 minutes. For a thicker sauce, simmer longer, and for thinner, simmer less!

The winner of the day, though, was a homemade chili. We topped it on Nathan's hot dogs (better than Hebrew National, IMHO) or just ate it by itself.

I followed this recipe exactly - except cutting the quantities and adding half a bottle of Blue Moon's Summer Honey Wheat. Because IMHO, chili recipes are only improved by adding beer.

All-Beef Chili Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut into small pieces (I used scissors because uncooked bacon is hard to slice up! Chewy, slippery little suckers ...) 
  • Half an onion, chopped
  • 1 pound of ground beef (I used 90/10) 
  • 4 garlic cloves 
  • 8oz can of tomato sauce (I didn't have any on hand but did you know that tomato sauce is basically just one part tomato paste and one part water?) 
  • 1/2 cup beef broth 
  • 1/2T molasses
  • 1/2T honey
  • 1T paprika 
  • 1/2T ground cumin 
  • 1/2T chili powder 
  • 1/2t cayenne 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Half a bottle of beer (whatever you have in the fridge is fine) 


Fry the bacon over medium heat until it begins to get crispy, then add the chopped onions and fry over high heat, stirring often, until they begin to brown. Add in the ground beef and stir in well. Cook this, still over high heat and stirring occasionally, until the beef is browned. This will take a few minutes. When the beef is about halfway browned, toss in the chopped garlic and mix well.

the recipe doesn't call for red peppers, but I had some extra lying around ... 

Once the beef is well browned, add the tomato sauce, molasses, honey, beef broth, and beer. Add all the spices except the cayenne and stir well. Bring to a simmer and taste. Add salt or the cayenne if it needs it. You can of course add much more cayenne or chili powder if you like things really spicy, but it’s best to taste first and then add more. This is also when we added half a bottle of beer.

I've made this with both ground beef and turkey ... we prefer it with beef, but turkey is healthier

Let the chili cook on a gentle simmer for at least 30 minutes before serving. I served mine the next day so the flavors really had time to become friendly with each other and it was tasty!

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