Jeb’s 5th Wheel CHILI -DUMP

It would be quite a stretch to say that I have been a lifelong chili lover. I grew up eating my mom's 3-Alarm Chili...and truth be told, maybe even an occasional can of Wolf Brand Chili from Piggly Wiggly.

It wasn't until sometime in the mid to late 80's that a friend invited me to join him and his family and friends at a "Chili and Music Festival” in Thurber, Texas near the old smokestack that I was exposed to real Texas chili. It was special. Even more special is that is where I first heard Gary P. Nunn. Life changing on both accounts really.

My first ever time to enter a cook-off was while attending The University of Texas at Austin. A friend and I entered the annual "Silver Spurs Chili Cook-off" and even though we didn't place...we made what I remember as a damn good pot of chili. That would be my one and only chili cook-off to my name I must say. Having said that, my own personal "cook- offs" have only been for family and friends...and the feedback and recognition has always been very enjoyable.

Many years ago, someone handed me a copy of a true Terlingua champion chili recipe. I believe it was called "Bottom of the Barrell Chili". I was intrigued. Enough so that I started studying many of the recipes from past Terlingua champions. From there I adopted a handful of ingredients that seemed to appear in many of them, tweaked some others and even added things I thought might be good and unique. After several cooks, I was pleased and thinking to myself that for ME - the recipe couldn't be improved upon. I stopped and made sure I had it saved for future reference. It was called by several different names over the years including "Jeb's Cowtown Railyard Chili”, “Not your Mom's Chili”, "Jeb's Big Mess o' Chili" before finally landing on "Jeb's 5th Wheel Chili".

Lots of joy has come my way while making chili at home, but not exactly for my wife Lovi. You see I am REALLY messy in the kitchen. Her kitchen! So, unless she was out of town, or I was at the deer lease "5th Wheel❞ near Throckmorton...I wasn't able to make my chili. At times she would even say to me "please don't make chili - can you please just wait until you're out at the 5th Wheel and you can make all the mess you want!" I complied.

Another thing became clear to me early on as well. Making the "full-blown" 3-dumps and 3 cooks chili recipe was not only messy - but it was also quite the challenging production to pull off in an RV with limited counter space and a small sink. Further, it was a tiresome exercise to source all the ingredients to make that traditional recipe. Of all the friends and family, I have provided the recipe to that had asked for it NONE of them, not a one, ever made it after they saw the shopping list and preparation instructions. It was simply too overwhelming for the average matter how much they loved it. Those two significant observations led me to experiment around with a much easier recipe. A super easy grocery list and an instant "chili-dump" that works well with only a 30-minute simmer on the stove after meat is browned. I worked on a modified version of my recipe and acquired a case of glass jars and set out to make multiple variations of the blend for test batches. I had identified friends that were willing to be testers and whose opinions in all things food I respected. They were more than happy to participate. I stopped after the second test batch. Everyone agreed that it was a homerun. A "right down the middle" heat and flavor to please the general crowd. Not too mild and not too spicy or hot. A solid blend to be labeled as "Medium". Other than a couple of minor modifications to that blend it's essentially what is now the "ORIGINAL Medium" blend. My other blends of "Santa Elena HOT", "Chichén Itzá FIRE" and "Low- Sodium MILD". Each one using different amounts and types of pepper and slight additions or subtractions of other ingredients.

I am happy about the way things have turned out - as are my friends and family. We have enjoyed it immensely. We hope you will enjoy it as well.

Buen Provecho,

Jeb Bradshaw