28 June, 2011

Brookdale Hot Habanero Chili (by ALDI)

You know why it's so hard to find a decent canned chili? Because so many of them suck, that's why. The quality ranges from pretty good all the way down to dog food, and sometimes that's within a single company's product line.  Take Hormel, for example.  Standard Hormel chili is nasty, while their glass-bottled Chili Master chili is pretty good, and most Stagg chili varieties (yes, Stagg is a Hormel company) is fairly decent as well.

So, brand name or manufacturer seems to mean nothing when it comes to finding a chili you might like - and I fully recognize that some of you reading this might think that Stagg sucks and original Hormel chili is t3h nazz - and the best way to find an edible chili is to maybe read a few reviews here and there and then gamble a buck or two on a can to see how it measures up.

And that's what led me to pick up a couple of cans of Brookdale Hot Habanero Chili with Beans (shut up, I like beans in chili) at ALDI.  

Surprise!  I can add this brand to the category of Chilis That Don't Suck. Yes, there were a lot of beans (three varieties I think) but there was also plenty of meat in respectably-sized chunks. Good chili flavor with rich spice profile as well.  And although it was kind of spicy, and habanero peppers are listed on the ingredient panel, I have to mention that it wasn't anywhere near what I'd describe as "hot."  If that's what you're looking for, you'll have to either add some fire of your own or look elsewhere unless you're a total kindergartener when it comes to spicy food.

Interesting footnote: According to the USDA inspection mark on the label, this chili was made at Establishment 199C, aka Hormel Foods. How about that?

2 comments:

Diane said...

I don't mind Hormel chili if I'm using it to make chili dogs, but it's not the best for eating by itself. I tried Stagg chili once and found it too greasy and got violently ill a couple of hours after eating it, so I won't even touch another can of the stuff.

I live in Texas so none of the other brands you mentioned are available here, but I think I know from chili. There's a product out there on the market called Wick Fowler's 2-Alarm Chili Kit that I think is the very best. All you need is either coarsely-minced chili meat or regular ground meat (either ground beef or ground turkey is fine by me) and a can of tomato sauce. I always put in the full packet of red pepper to make it nice and spicy, but it's not too overpowering.

I don't have a problem with beans in chili. I'm not that strict about chili authenticity. As long as it tastes delicious, rich, and meaty, I'm happy with it. Oh, and it has to be served with cornbread, and it has to be either the America's Test Kitchen recipe for cornbread or the Martha White/Gladiola brand of cornbread mix-made cornbread. As for canned chili, the only kind that I find acceptable is Wolf brand chili, though I find that I usually have to add some chili powder in order to make it taste better (though it still doesn't have quite the kick I like) and if I add pinto beans (either canned or homemade), it gets a bit on the watery side and I have to liven it up with shredded cheddar. Still, at least Wolf brand isn't even remotely greasy and I've never gotten ill from eating their chili.

BTW, Wick Fowler's chili kit is available on Amazon. Just follow the package directions and ta-da, authentic chili! And go ahead and enjoy beans in chili. It adds healthy fiber to your chili and besides, if it's good enough for diners in the Pacific Northwest frequented by manly, chili-loving lumberjacks (where I've had some of the best chili I've ever had), it should be good enough for everyone.

B9000 said...

I agree with Dave. I, too, was pleasantly surprised at the taste of ALDI's Brookdale Habanero Chili. It's pretty good, and though I do shop "budget," I almost always generally steer clear of canned chili, stews, even soups. But I'm a sucker for hot and spicy, and this oddly compelling can was staring me in the face near the unmanned check out aisles at my local ALDI and I gave it a go.

Can't say enough good things about it. The price cannot be beat.