A delicious Appalachian chili bun from Southern culinary legend, Ronni Lundy. Dress ’em up however you like.
5 chili buns
1 hot dog bun
3-4 heaping tablespoons chili (recipe at right)
Chopped white onion
1 cup flat beer or water
1 pound lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
6 saltine crackers, finely crushed (1/8 cup cracker meal)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons New Mexico ground red chile, or cayenne
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
For the Chili:
- Put the beer and ground beef in an unheated medium saucepan. Use your fingers to gently break apart beef by rubbing pieces lightly until it makes a slurry with the liquid. You don’t want chunks or lumps.
- Stir in garlic, salt, and cracker crumbs and place over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring to keep it from sticking to the bottom of pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Cook until liquid has largely evaporated. The chili should be a finely grained aggregate that holds its shape on the spoon.
- Stir in tomato paste. Remove from heat and stir in the spices. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Lightly paint inside of hot dog bun with yellow mustard. Pack chili into bun, starting with spoonful in center that you smooth in with the back of a spoon. Add more, moving out to either end and smoothing lightly as you go, until bun is filled. (You’re not making a sloppy joe; chili should be firm in the bun.) Top with chopped onion and pass hot sauce on the side.
- From Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes by Ronni Lundy