Is it possible to simmer chili too long?

50
12
Joined Dec 20, 2010
Right now I have a vat of home-made chili slow simmering on my induction burner in preparation for the Superbowl tomorrow.  The meat is mostly 1/4 inch cubed shoulder roast I quickly seared before incorporating into the batch. The rest of the ingredients are pretty standard: chiles, onion, garlic, spices, etc. Since I'm using the induction burner, I could safely set the temp for 180 (or 140 if I wanted to go that low) and go to bed with the thing running.  That would give this batch almost 24 hours of simmer/heating time by the game tomorrow. Would the meat be reduced to mush? How long is too long?

Thanks,

Doug
 
2,668
512
Joined Jan 4, 2011
Well ............... since you can go to a lot of places, all known for their chili, where each and every one is completely different from the other, I would say that YOU CAN  ... and YOU CAN'T over-simmer chili. I think it's up to you. What texture are you looking for? What texture do you personally like? 

I also made a big batch for S-B Sunday. I got mine to bubble temp, let it go for about 5 minutes, then shut it down. It's gonna take a couple hours to cool down to put-away temp (residual continuation heat), then I'll heat it up tomorrow (more cooking). Mine includes a lot of chunks of stuff (onions, carrots, celery, peppers, beans, tomatoes). I don't like it over-mushy (technical term). 

I'm sure that whatever way you make yours, it will be just fine. You're the cook, who's gonna argue.
 
Last edited:

phatch

Moderator
Staff member
9,070
794
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I think that would be too long. A few hours at most in my opinion.
 
2,668
512
Joined Jan 4, 2011
Yeah. I agree w/ phatch



(I just saw this, and I wanted to put it somewhere.)
 
3,208
160
Joined Aug 25, 2009
I agree with chefs above, an hour or two stove top, 3-4 slow cooker but 24 hours ? well.............I am gentle, but if i had to spill the beans ....24 hours is a long time to cook, in my opinion, yes, your meat would go to mush.

Max 6 hours is enough to cook your chilli and then reheat before game time.

what is one more little opinion ?

May your team win ! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif
 
50
12
Joined Dec 20, 2010
I'd like the chili to retain some of it's texture, so I took it off the burner.  However, this highlights a glaring lack of planning. The pot I used couldn't possibly fit in the fridge.  Currently it's 32F outside, projected to dip down to 26.  I stuck the pot out on a table on our back deck with a ratchet strap around the lid and through the handles plus two bricks on top to boot. Haven't seen 'coons in the yard for a while; hope they don't have a taste for chili and/or the drive to gnaw through stainless steel!

Thanks,

Doug
 
3,208
160
Joined Aug 25, 2009
Phreon,

Hi, Then the way things are turning out, it seems to me your going to have some pretty terrific chilli DEMAIN   ! I hope your staying positive still.
 
1
10
Joined Feb 6, 2011
Hi!

I actually made some chili the other day and it was much easier than I expected it to be. I just left it for about an hour or so and I thought it was PERFECT. I imagine the boil then simmer is just to let the flavors of the spices blend together better. Not sure it could have gotten any better for extended simmering time though. Hope yours turns out ok for the big game--we're just doing pizza here :).
 
369
11
Joined Dec 9, 2010
A lot of info here, but if you want my opinion, that depends on your own preference.  Some people like chili to be, pretty much, soup. I personally want it so thick I can stand a spoon in it, and an acceptable burrito filling. Cooking for 24 hours straight would make me nervous. If we're trying purely for convenience, simmer the tomatoes alone until you have a thick sauce (with maybe spices and aromatics) then add your beans and meat later on. that way they'll have a fresh texture still. also maybe some diced tomato for textures as well? If you're going to leave that sauce completely unattended, bane marie! Tomatoes, onions, all that stuff WILL burn if you dont mix it often, but the indirect heat of a bane marie will really help.

also, if you don't have time to do chili, may i suggest gumbo? YAn organized cook can whip out a sausage or white meat gumbo in a half hour to an hour tops.
 
Last edited:
7,626
781
Joined Apr 3, 2008
The best thing about a slowly cooked dish such as chili is that it can be done with little fuss in just a few hours until you've reached the texture you're looking for.  Then it goes straight into the fridge.  It's wayyyyy better the next day heated up.  You did the right thing.  And if not, at least the racoons will enjoy it.

I like mine with kidney beans, green peppers, and raw chopped red onion on top.  Ha ha ha ha, hate me all you want!
 
50
12
Joined Dec 20, 2010
Thanks for all the advice!

I brought the chili in this morning and realized how much it had cooked down. Thinking I needed to stretch it a bit, I added more diced tomatoes, a little more onion, more home made chili powder, a pinch of salt and nearly another bottle of Yuengling (some might have found it's way into my stomach). After bringing it back up to a boil (fast simmer), I cranked it back down.  A few hand-fulls of stone ground corn meal helped thicken the chili, add texture and even a bit of depth. It simmered another 1:30 before heading to the party. Perfect consistency; not soupy, but not sticky. Thick enough to crown a spoon a good bit.

Yes, it was a hit. I'm quite happy my first attempt at scratch chili went so well. Well enough that I actually wrote down the proto-recipe. It wound up with a sort of a smoky Cincinati-Tex-Mex hybrid flavor.

My thought about needing to stretch the recipe was wrong, given all the finger food other people brought. Sadly, I have plenty of left over to share with friends, take for lunch, etc.  Oh darn!

Doug
 
Last edited:
75
12
Joined Jan 13, 2011
I personally don't know if I could stand to let chili simmer for 24 hours. After 4 hours of smelling it, I get hungry. That's when I know my chili is done and ready for consumption 2 hours after.
 
48
10
Joined Apr 16, 2007
Chili, or any other braise, can simmer for too long.  What is happening in a braise is the connective tissues that hold the mussel fibers together are breaking down, separating the fibers from each other, which is what gives us this "falling off the bone" texture that we all aim for whenever we braise meats.  However, these connective tissues take a lot of cooking to fall apart - which is why braising usually takes 3-4 hours to be completed properly.

However, the logical extreme of this is "over-braising" where the connective tissue is so broken down that there is almost no structure to the meat at all left. It becomes an almost evenly-distributed solid throughout the stew instead of there being nice, tender chunks of meat.  (I liken it to seeing tiny splinters throughout the stew.)  Since this homogeneous mix is not the point of using cubes of meat in the first place (might as well use ground meat if that's what you're aiming for) that can obviously be called "overdone" and therefore can be thought of as "simmering for too long."

That being said, I love a great chili as well - I do mine with smoked peppers and bourbon!
 
Top Bottom