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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

Expert Guide

4 Best Beef Cuts for Chili

Texas-Style Chili

Save the steak for the grill (or your cast-iron skillet). For chili, use less expensive cuts of beef that are best cooked through.

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expert guide

How to Use Dried Chiles for Beef Chili

Three-Chile Beef Chili

Learn how to belnd your own chili powder for a better beef chili.

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expert guide

Wines to Pair with Beef Chili

Cumin Chili

Tips on what wine to pair with beef chili.

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America's Most Wanted

Beef Cocktail Is the New Shrimp Cocktail

“Beef tongues aren’t the sexiest ingredient,” admits chef Micah Frank. But at Black Market in Indianapolis, his beef tongue cocktail is creating buzz around the rarely used cut.

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Expert Guide

5 Steps to Warming, Delicious Beef Stew

Short Rib Stew

After you master the method, there are zillions of ways to vary a recipe. Here are five steps to take when creating your own beef stew.

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Cheap Wine Challenge

3 Wines to Pair with Beef Stew

Pot Roast Smothered in Bacon and Onions

Beef stew is one of the homiest, heartiest fall dishes. Making stews is an excuse to break out full-bodied red wines. Here are three styles to try.

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Winery Intel

These Fancy California Cows Drink Red Wine, Give New Meaning to the Classic Beef Pairing

At Wente Vineyards, the tasting room visitors aren't the only ones drinking well.

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Picadillo Vainica

Picadillo Vainica

This is Andrew Zimmern's simple, flavorful version of picadillo, the Spanish ground meat dish. It's made with lots of chopped fresh green beans and finished with a little crushed chile in vinegar.

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TV Food Guide

Genius Game Day Snack: Khe-Yo's Sesame Beef Jerky

Sesame Beef Jerky Recipe

This easy recipe yields the perfect snack to eat while wearing stretchy pants and watching football or Homeland.

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Know Your Meats

Shin Steak for the Win

In this series, expert Josh Ozersky offers a guide to buying, cooking and eating meat, in particular those unusual and obscure cuts that are rarely seen in restaurants.

The Cut: Cross-cut beef shank (#117 foreshank in the National Association of Meat Producers guide). If they called it “shin” instead of “shank” it would make more sense. Because that’s what it is.

The Sell: Beef shank is good, and I eat it a lot, and I like it. It is in the beef “friend zone” though, for sure. Beef shank is familiar to most people as osso buco, at least in its immature form (osso buco is generally a veal shank). And I eat it more than might be expected, given my access to big, high-end steaks and roasts. For one thing, shanks are cheap—for the obvious reason that no one likes them—and secondly, they are available at C-Town supermarket, where they practically qualify as a top-shelf selection. Rather than getting the whole shin, which is the size of a fire extinguisher, I tend to get cross-cut shin steaks. Calling these “steaks” is horribly misleading: They are tough and lean, and if you tried to grill them up you would be disappointed. But the meat has an immense amount of dense muscle tissue, not to mention all that gnarly connective tissue, which is basically instant gelatin.

The How-To: The traditional remedy for tough beef shins is simply to boil—or rather, braise—the hell out of them, disguising the resultant gray leather with broth and hot sauce and so on. This is way too much trouble and not that good anyway. Cut the meat off the shin instead, and grind it coarsely for chili. Beef shin is endowed by its creator with a single purpose, and that purpose is chili. All the things that make it bad as a straight-up eating meat—its tensile strength, its too-beefy flavor, its inaccessibility—serve to make it a secret weapon in things like chili and taco filling and meat sauce, where its textural issues are negated and its flavor enhanced. More importantly, all that tough gristle and collagen will melt, binding up the final dish in a dense, sticky, invisible nimbus of silky mouthfeel. Or you can make osso buco.

Josh Ozersky has written on his carnivorous exploits for Time, Esquire and New York magazines; he has authored several books, including The Hamburger: A History; and he is the founder of the Meatopia food festival.

Related: Best-Ever Meat Recipes
Delicious Chili Recipes
Fantastic Taco Recipes

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