What’s the Best Chili Meat?
We all know what the most popular chili meat in the world is… right? Beef! Fatty, delicious beef is the chili superhero. If it isn’t beef, it’s usually chicken. For people who enjoy chili without meat, the beans are usually considered the “chili meat.” Before we discuss my personal favorite chili meat, let’s learn just a bit more about chili in general.
Chili hasn’t been around here very long, but variations of it have. Its various adaptations are considered so dear to each region given credit that no one can happily agree on which is the true “Mama Chili.” Some are bland, spicy, or sweet. Some have little liquid while others are mostly liquid… If there are beans, peppers, and spices floating in a bowl, it’s probably chili!
I’ve grown up loving super spicy chili most of my life. The way the peppers and spices combined with the freshness and warmth hit my palate (and my nostrils) somehow soothes me.
It reminds me of growing up and spending one afternoon a week in the kitchen (more often than not) with my grandfather when it was his turn to cook. I could almost always count on his meals to be some type of stew. He’s the one who taught me that chili is actually considered a stew because it swims alongside its ingredients in liquid, instead of becoming the liquid soup we can slurp!
As the years passed, he learned to make his chili better and better. My taste buds seek and fail to recreate all the tastes his chili always created. One day, I just know I’ll get it right!
That leads me to saying that chili is different all over the world, and it probably always will be! Even here in America, we can’t agree on its ingredients. Regardless of region, the majority of us seem to be able to agree that chili should usually include: peppers, spices, meat and/or beans. I don’t wish to argue for either side that can’t agree with combining chili meat and beans because, to me, it seems like the perfect match.
Anyway, back to the meat part. I’m pretty sure it’s easiest for everyone to agree upon ground beef and chunked chicken. Maybe some chili you’ve tried has had chopped beef instead of ground. Well, I’m here to offer a tasty alternative: lean ground turkey.
Once you have found the perfect combination of spices for your chili, try swapping whatever meat you do or don’t use with ground turkey. Spice the turkey up before combining it with the other ingredients, as well as after, and you’ll hardly be able to tell the difference between it and beef.
Ground turkey is a great chili meat replacement because you don’t notice what you’re missing. While beef pours flavor into the “punch bowl,” turkey makes the tough spice guys taste nice without drowning them out. Turkey is often cheaper than ground beef as well, so you could enjoy chili more often if you don’t overdo it on the spices!
That was the first recipe I tried swapping beef with turkey with and I haven’t looked back. I also don’t deal with nearly as much grease or bloating with it. Read up on whether it’s a good swap for you or not and, if it’s safe for you, make ground turkey your new chili meat of choice!