Give a man a bowl of champion BBQ pitmaster Myron Mixon’s white chicken chili and he’ll eat for a day, and probably also forget all about fish. Teach a man to make a pot of Mixon’s chili — which is keto-friendly — and he’ll eat for a lifetime that may end up being just a little bit longer.
Mixon, a veteran of TV shows such as BBQ Pitmasters and BBQ Pit Wars who has won nearly 200 grand championships, 30 state championships and 10 national championships with his team on the competitive barbecue circuit, was told by his doctor in 2018 that he needed to lose some weight because the 350 pounds he was carrying around were wearing out his knees and joints. Knowing he wasn’t going to be able to eat rice cakes and drink protein shakes for more than a couple of days to shed some pounds, the 59-year-old turned to the keto diet.
“As far as I’m concerned, you’ve got to be someone who loves meat to get on the keto diet. I love proteins, I love meats,” Mixon tells InsideHook. “It was a diet I could do and sustain. You’ve got to be able to live it and sustain it. To me, keto was the least invasive of doing away with things that I like. I always have loved cheese. Well, cheese is part of your keto diet. My mom always made stews and stuff using heavy cream. Well, heavy cream is something you can have on keto. That’s what the diet is based around.”
Sold on going with keto, Mixon, who just opened a new restaurant in Hoboken, began modifying some of his old recipes to fit his new diet and saw major results, eventually losing around 100 pounds. Wanting to give others a way to share his success and taste his new recipes, Mixon released the Keto BBQ: Real Barbecue for a Healthy Lifestyle cookbook last May.
“People have a big misconception. I’ve heard it all my life, ‘Man, that barbecue will make you fat.’ Well, let me tell you what makes you fat. It ain’t the barbecue proteins,” Mixon tells InsideHook. “It’s all of that stuff on the side. It’s the potato salad. It’s the barbecue beans. That’s what puts the weight on. The sugars and sauces put the weight on. Sugar and carbs are your enemies in a keto diet. You can’t have that. That’s where monk fruit extract comes in. You want the 100% extract without any artificial sweetener in it. It’s a little bit more expensive, but it is 100 to 150 times sweeter than regular sugar. Therefore you don’t have to use nearly as much when you use the monk fruit to make up your barbecue sauces or your rubs. You can use the monk fruit extract and not be worried about those sugars and carbs.”
Along with onions, chiles and peppers, monk fruit extract is one of the ingredients. Mixon uses to help make the carb-free white chili in his cookbook seems traditional in both taste and texture even though it doesn’t contain any beans.
“The first thing I always look for in a good bowl of chili is the thickness of it. Before tasting it, I take my spoon and stir it around. When I pick my spoon up, I don’t want it to run off like a broth. I got to have it thick,” he says. “For this recipe, you got your smoked chicken, your heavy cream and your cheese in there. But what binds it and actually makes it chili is the chopped green chiles. That’s really what brings it all together. You got to have those chiles. You got to have onion. You got to have pepper. When we got those in there, it’s chili. It sounds really simple and it is, but it’s a great recipe and something you can eat more than once a week. I don’t know of anybody out there that eats normal food that doesn’t like heavy cream, cheese and meat.”
Amen to that.
Myron Mixon’s White Chili with Pulled Smoked Chicken
Ingredients for Myron Mixon’s Tangy Sweet BBQ Sauce
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 cup tomato paste
- ½ cup hot sauce
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp monk fruit sweetener
Instructions for the sauce
- In a heavy, medium-sized pot set over medium heat, combine the vinegar, tomato paste, and hot sauce. Stir until well mixed.
- Add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and stir to dissolve. Stir in the monk fruit sweetener and allow the mixture to come to a simmer but do not let it boil.
- When the spices are thoroughly dissolved, take the pot off the heat and set it aside to cool to room temperature.
- Funnel the sauce into bottles or containers of your choice. Cover tightly. The sauce will keep for up to one year if refrigerated.
Ingredients for the pulled smoked chicken
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ⅓ cup monk fruit sweetener
- 1 chicken (about 3 ½ pounds), cut into 8 pieces
- 2 cups tangy sweet BBQ sauce
- 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted
- Butter, at room temperature
Instructions for the chicken
- In a large bowl, combine the broth with the sweetener; stir well to dissolve the sweetener. Place the chicken pieces in the mixture and marinate, covered in the refrigerator, for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
- When you are ready to cook the chicken, heat a smoker to 250°F.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off excess. Apply the rub liberally to all the pieces. Place the pieces, skin-side up, in a deep aluminum baking pan. Rub the chicken pieces all over with the butter; if any butter remains, place it in the pan with the chicken. Place the pan in the smoker and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the smoker, flip the chicken pieces so they are skin-side down, and return the pan to the smoker. Cook for 1 hour or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 155°F.
- Remove the pan from the smoker and sprinkle a little more rub over the chicken. Return it to the smoker and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the smoker and brush the chicken sauce over the pieces. Return it to the smoker for another 15 minutes to let the sauce soak into the chicken.
- Remove the pan from the smoker and let the chicken rest, uncovered, to cool to room temperature, for about 20 minutes.
- Use your fingers or the tines of two forks to gently “pull” the chicken meat from the bones. Then shred the chicken into thin strips, discarding any excess fat, cartilage, and bones as you go.
Ingredients for the white chili with pulled smoked chicken
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups of pulled smoked chicken
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp of ground cumin
- 1 tsp of coriander
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 14 ounces of chopped green chiles
- ¼ cup of heavy cream
- ¼ cup of cream cheese
Instructions for the chili
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the butter and let it melt but not foam or smoke. Add the olive oil, onion, peppers, jalapenos, and garlic. Sauté to soften, about 3 minutes, but do not let the vegetables brown.
- Turn down the heat to medium. Add the chicken, salt and spices. Toss with the veggies to coat.
- Slowly pour in the broth, green chiles, cream and cream cheese. Stir to incorporate the cream cheese fully.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and let simmer while covered for 30 minutes.
- Serve warm. If you’d like, garnish with scallions, cheddar cheese and bacon.
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