Pat LaFrieda Says You Shouldn't Use Ground Beef In Your Chili - Exclusive

There's something classic and comforting about a big pot of spicy chili simmering away on the stove. Whether you're dishing it out to all your friends for Super Bowl Sunday or just trying to stay warm with a hearty winter meal, you can't go wrong with chili. Or can you? It turns out that the way you've been making your chili is probably due for an upgrade.

Tasting Table recently got the chance to consult with an expert on a variety of meaty topics during our exclusive interview with celebrity butcher Pat LaFrieda. When we asked him about the best meat to use for chili, he did not mince words, immediately saying, "not ground beef."

You're definitely not alone if that response has got you rethinking every beef chili recipe you've ever made or bookmarked to try out on game day. According to LaFrieda, "When ground beef is used [in chili], it tastes very common." So don't serve your family and friends lackluster, ordinary chili — follow LaFrieda's guidance and take your next bowl of red to a whole other level by using a cut of meat you might never have thought of before.

Take your chili to the next level with boneless short rib

We'll cut to the chase — if you want to make chili like Pat LaFrieda, then you need to skip the ground beef in favor of whole cuts of meat. Specifically, LaFrieda said, "Something called chuck flap tail is what we use. It's [a type of] boneless short rib ... and it's usually half the price of boneless short rib, but it's the same muscle." Other cost-effective alternatives you could use in your chili include chuck roast, brisket, or a beef shank.

The trick here, according to LaFrieda, is to not grind the meat. Instead, "dice it into small cubes, and that braising effect will turn that into something that's spoon-tender," he suggested, adding that "a fine dice is something any chef at home can accomplish with the right knife, but it takes on a different form when it's ground." When the meat is diced and then allowed to simmer in the chili spices and ingredients for around an hour and a half, according to LaFrieda, the effect is mouthwatering. The meat will not only break down to a fall-apart texture, but also absorb all the delicious flavors you've added to the recipe. As he put it, "It's going to change the way you make chili."

Click here to learn more about Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors and their wholesale options for quality cuts of meat.