Sweet Willie’s Sub- Atomic Chili

This is easy. Depending on the mob you’re having over, brown one or two pounds of ground beef. We’re not making meatballs here, asshole, so keep breaking up the mound o’ beef with a wooden spoon or something. I don’t care. Use a fucking crowbar if you want. Break that shit up.

When that meat is browned and broken into rubble, drain the grease into a coffee cup. You don’t want to appear in court after someone croaks from a grease-clogged heart after eating your chili. If you do go to court, don’t blame me. I told you to drain it, remember? That grease is some nasty shit. For a good time, watch it coagulate in the coffee cup. (Actually it’s best to toss that shit out in the yard before it gets all crusty.)

OK, so you’ve got the meat all browned. You’re ready to rock, Poindexter.

I like the chili thick, densely populated like some hipster Brooklyn neighborhood. So I put in a couple of big-ass cans of diced tomatoes. Nothing fancy. Our big chain is Stop & Shop, so I get the house brand. Again, depends on how many buttheads you’re having over. I generally drop in two 28 ounce cans of these. I also put in one 15 ounce can of tomato sauce.

Now, put in two tablespoons each of cumin, oregano, garlic powder and paprika. You can either dice a quarter of an onion or use the dried, chopped onions you can find in the spice section of your local grocery. Then — again, depending on how many dipshits are coming over — add chili powder from the spice-section. If you’re making two pounds of beef and two cans of diced tomatoes, then I think six tablespoons of chili powder are in order.

Do not add water. You don’t want to serve watered-down crap. Just get the old wooden spoon and stir all of this together. Blend it like your mis-spent life depended on it.

Because of all of my gastric disruptions of the last few years, I’ve had to scale back on the kind of chili I make. I can’t go for the hot stuff no more. No more burning rectums for me, Bubba. I’ve had tons o’ surgeries the last few years, so my stomach ain’t what it used to be. However, if you want to impress your friends with your amazing tolerance for the hot stuff, go ahead and follow the instructions in the paragraph below. If you aren’t afflicted with the aftermath of multiple cancer and gastric surgeries, then go all-out. Make the kind of chili that would make the participants in the Manhattan Project proud. Add an assload of red pepper and go full atomic!)

So note this: This chili is sub-atomic. Here’s what to do if you want to fully earn the atomic part of the name: Dose this fucking pot with chili powder and red pepper and chop up a couple jalapenos and toss them in there. I’m with you in spirit, though if I actually ate chili like that these days, I’d fucking die.

You can also chop up some green peppers. I don’t do that, but if you get moist about green peppers, then knock yourself out. It is nice to have a little color for contrast. Fuck it — toss in some red peppers too.

Notice: no beans. In fact, fuck beans.

Here’s why: We generally make chili in the winter months, when people stay inside a lot. Imagine serving chili with beans to your freeloading guests. Imagine staying inside with a bunch of geezers who’ve just consumed your bean-stoked chili. Do the math, Germ. It ain’t pretty.

I like to let all of the above cook on the stove — medium heat, of course — for a few hours at least. If I’m serving this for a Super Bowl party or something, and the kickoff is at 6 pm, then I’ll get this shit started around 10 o’clock in the morning.

It’s very important that you taste the chili frequently. This is why we have wooden spoons. Chase with a beer.

When the chili is done, start making the pasta. I like to use corkscrew macaroni. The rough edges hold the chili. Sometimes we use angel hair, but that reminds me of Skyline Chili in Cincinnati. Man, that shit is good. Using angel hair only makes me think how different my chili is from Skyline’s (with its secret ingredient: chocolate). I kind of get depressed. So we use angel hair only when the pasta cupboard is otherwise bare.

So I’d go for the corkscrew.

When it is done, serve the chili thus:

Drain the macaroni. Take a big-ass spoonful and spread it into a bowl. You are making a bed in which the chili will slumber. Your chili is thick, not soupy, so ladle it gently onto that bed of macaroni. It looks like an ice-cream sundae, only made of chili.

It is vital that you maintain the integrity of the macaroni and the chili. Do not mix them together. The pasta should form a halo around this mound of chili. Presentation is key.

Top this Mount Hood of chili with a tablespoon of sour cream, then sprinkle over that a generous amount of finely shredded cheese. You decide what kind of fucking cheese you want, but the Mexican blend cheese seems to follow through on the theme. Garnish with parsley (more Vitamin C than an orange!), chopped purple onions or — if you have intestines of steel — chopped jalapeƱos.

Trust me, Dudes and Dudettes, this stuff is good.

The name of this recipe honors my mother, the late, great Martha McKeen. Her nickname for me was Sweet William. This explains my love for the ancient ballad, “Barbara Allen,” which tells the story of Sweet William’s undying love for the hard-hearted Barbara Allen. Listen to Art Garfunkel’s version of the song here and weep like a baby. I get misty thinking about it. I want it played at my wake.

OK, go away now and enjoy the chili. My work is done here.