This past weekend was consumed by one overarching task: to make the kick-assest chili ever to enter in a friend’s chili cook-off. We didn’t follow a recipe–instead, we plotted for weeks, swapped success stories, and consulted various ethnic and historical sources. The final product included:

a medium-sized rump roast (a little shy of 4 lbs.), cut into small pieces and browned in bacon fat (bacon later added back in)
onions and garlic
a can of whole San Marzano tomatoes drained and chopped
one bottle of Newcastle
three large poblano peppers roasted, peeled, and chopped
six tomatillos, roasted and chopped
two large dried guajillo peppers lightly toasted and chopped
spice blend of: ancho powder, cayenne powder, unsweetened cocoa, cumin, cinnamon, clove, allspice, oregano, adobo powder
juice of one lime
chopped fresh cilantro
chopped scallions
queso fresco (for garnish)

We assembled all except the tomatillos, cilantro, lime, and scallions a day in advance and let it simmer for a few hours. Then we put it in the fridge overnight, skimmed off most of the fat in the morning, then set it to simmer for most of the afternoon before the party. Ours was delicious and popular, but we got beat out by a (admittedly very tasty) turkey chili with lots of veggies. The other second-place winner was another mole variation with almonds and prunes. And we were in some pain after tasting about nine different chilis.