Here's Why You Should Add Vinegar To Your Chili

Chili makers and lovers have strong opinions on the taste and ingredients that go into their bowl of red. The consistency of this hearty dish is described by Merriam Webster as a "thick sauce of meat and chilies." While its origin is up for debate, historians concede that the first description of chili was penned by a man in Houston, Texas who described it as a "hash" of equal parts peppers and meat "stewed" together. Perhaps this is why Texas considers chili its state dish. Even President Lyndon Johnson believed Texas chili is like no other, saying, "Chili concocted outside of Texas is usually a weak, apologetic imitation of the real thing. One of the first things I do when I get home to Texas is to have a bowl of red. There is simply nothing better," (via National Chili Day). 

But whether you are a fan of Texas chili or your recipe hails from someplace else, chances are you are always looking for ways to improve the flavor of your recipe by kicking it up a notch. Or maybe you need a trick to ensure every spoonful of your pot of this savory meal is vibrant in flavor and taste. Well, if you are, then it might be time start adding vinegar to your chili recipe, and here's why.

Boost your chili's flavor with a splash of vinegar or another acid

As awesome as your chili may be, sometimes the taste can be off. Maybe you put in too much of an ingredient or forgot an ingredient. Whatever the reason might be, if the flavor isn't up to par, according to Food 52, you should try adding a dash of vinegar or other acid like lemon juice to your chili right before you ladle it into your bowls. The vinegar will enhance and improve the flavor, giving it that umami infusion your chili may be lacking. 

Kitchn notes that you will not taste the sour tang associated with vinegar but that this acid works well with the other ingredients. Still, don't overdo it. You don't want the vinegar to overpower the other flavors you slaved over a hot stove to create. About one tablespoon of vinegar per pot is the optimal amount. If you are on the fence about what type of vinegar to use, Kitchn's recommendations include apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar. What happens if you do put too much vinegar in your chili? Don't sweat it — we can all get a little over enthusiastic when cooking. eHow suggests countering the overwhelming taste of the acid by adding a little brown sugar and tomatoes to your chili. Problem solved!