Pebble Beach’s executive chef shares the secret to making the Tap Room’s famous Prime Rib Chili
Courtesy of Pebble Beach Resorts
Welcome to Clubhouse Eats, where we celebrate the game’s most delectable food and drink. Hope you brought your appetites.
If you were to saunter into The Tap Room at Pebble Beach and survey the golfers about their favorite hole on the resort’s world-famous course, chances are you’d get a broad selection of responses. Ask them for their favorite dish on The Tap Room’s menu, however, and there’s a good chance that most will point to the restaurant’s Prime Rib Chili, a dish that has graced The Tap Room’s menu for more than 35 years and has been a fan-favorite for nearly as long.
“It has become a quintessential comfort meal at our property,” says Ben Brown, the executive chef at the Lodge at Pebble Beach. “There’s something about a nice bowl of chili by the ocean that is unrivaled.”
The Prime Rib Chili has evolved in nominal ways over the years — a dash more salt here, a sprinkling of sharper cheddar there — but Chef Brown acknowledges that the foundation of the recipe has remained the same since the 1980s. As for the chili’s “secret ingredient,” Brown points to the slow-roasted prime rib, a cut of meat that’s painstakingly cooked for 18 hours. Although time-intensive, the meat’s cooking process (outlined in the recipe below) is pivotal. “It’s an involved process,” says Brown, “but it’s what makes the flavor so unique.”
In that regard, Chef Brown says that the secret to any great chili is the use of quality ingredients. “By not skimping on what goes into the pot,” he says, “you will be thrilled with what comes out.” That is especially true for the meat; just don’t select a cut that’s too lean. “You need the fat to help make the beef tender, which is why the prime rib is key.
“Besides the ingredients, the ‘extras’ can really go a long way,” he continues. “High-quality cheddar and toppings, and well-baked corn bread can make all the difference.”
When it comes to making The Tap Room’s famous chili, Chef Brown encourages patience — not only during the cooking process but also for when you decide to eat it. “Low and slow is the way to go,” he declares. “The slow process ensures you won’t get that burnt bitter taste. Another great tip is to cook today but serve tomorrow. The flavors have time to blend and enhance while sitting overnight.”
The Tap Room’s Prime Rib Chili
4 lbs. bone-in ribeye (slow-roasted to medium temperature, removed from bone and cut into bite-sized cubes)
3 oz. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
3 red bell peppers (cleaned, seeded, and roasted)
2 bay leaves
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
2 tsp. dark chili powder
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 16-oz. cans ranch style beans (can substitute pinto beans, if preferred)
2 16-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 16-oz. can green salsa
To slow-roast the prime rib, begin by rubbing the meat with a mixture of kosher salt, ground peppercorns (preferably toasted beforehand), fresh thyme, and bacon grease. Place the ribeye in a pre-heated oven set to 450 degrees and roast for 20 to 30 minutes. Once an initial sear has occurred, remove from the oven, reduce the heat to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and roast the prime rib for 18 hours.
In a medium pot, heat olive oil until shimmering, then add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft. Add the chili powder, kosher salt, coriander, cumin, and black pepper and continue to cook until the spices are slightly toasted.
Add the prime rib (deboned and cut into bite-size pieces) and sauté for about 8 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pot, bring to a simmer, then cook on medium-low for at least an hour. (The longer the better.)
Season to taste with salt and ground white pepper.
To serve, ladle chili into soup bowls and top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and chopped chives. (Makes 10 servings)
Note: Can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, warm on the stovetop over medium-low until the chili reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.