What makes it Real Texas Chili?
My Real Texas Chili recipe is slow-cooked over low heat until tender and spicy hot. The history of Texas chili goes way back and is actually a classic chuck wagon meal meant for hungry cowboys. There are a lot of strong emotions surrounding Texas chili, and rules have been set in place to keep things under control. Therefore, no foreign objects (such as beans or spaghetti) turn up in my Texas no beans chili recipe.
Some Texans get really angry and confrontational about beans in chili. So just to be clear, there are no beans in a Real Texas Chili recipe. A competition Texas chili recipe is just beef, chilies, and spices, and not much else.
The first rule in the International Chili Society’s long list of rules is:
- True chili is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat, or combination of meats, cooked with chili peppers, various other spices, and other ingredients with the exception of items such as beans or spaghetti which are strictly forbidden.
Although born and raised in Texas, I’m not a purist when it comes to a chili recipe. I love it both with and without beans, I’ve had it with all sorts of unusual ingredients in it, corn, potatoes, chicken, vegetarian, etc. etc. So as far as I’m concerned, put whatever you want in it, but for all of our peace of mind, just call it something other than Texas chili.
What is in a Texas Chili Spice Mix?
The dry spices I use in my chili recipes are:
- Ancho Chili Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- Smoked Paprika
- Ground Cumin
- Dried Oregano
- Red Pepper Flakes
Fresh spicy ingredients are:
What do you garnish Texas Chili with?
How to garnish Texas chili? That’s a good question, it depends on what level fanatic you are when it comes to Texas chili! Personally, I love chili in all its many forms; beans or no beans, chicken, vegetarian, etc. When it comes to chili, I am not prejudiced one way or another, so garnish away with whatever you want. Texas chili is a very personalized dish after all, so I put together a tray with a variety of garnishes. That way, anytime I make chili or my friends and I have a Chili Cookoff, we let everyone make their own bowl.
Here are some of my favorite Chili garnishes:
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese, oh my, the way it melts and mixes into the chili is Heavenly!
- Fritos Corn Chips. Frito pie is a classic way to eat chili that goes way back
- Fresh or pickled Jalapenos, like your chili with a little extra kick? These will do the trick!
- A squeeze of fresh lime juice, not for everyone, however, cumin and lime juice are a good combo and it adds a nice complexity to the chili
- Sour Cream, adds a nice creaminess to the chili and helps cool things down a little.
- Diced Green Onions or White Onions, a nice crisp crunch and freshness
- Crisp Bacon, I mean, yeah, bacon. I love the crispy bacon crumbles sprinkled over the top of a bowl of chili just before eating.
- Diced Avocado or Guacamole, the flavor of cumin and avocados go together really well
I’ll put two recipes on this post, one is my recipe for Real Texas No Beans Chili, the other I’ll call Chili with Beans recipe.
Here’s my Real Texas Chili recipe:
Real Texas Chili
- 2 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef
- 1/4 Pound Bacon Smoked, 1/2-inch dice
- 3 Jalapeños Seeded and diced
- 2 Cups Onions Large dice
- 2 Tablespoons Garlic Crushed and chopped
- 1 14-ounce Can Tomatoes
- 1/2 Cup Ancho Chili Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 12-Ounce Bottles Dark Beer or Substitute Beef Broth
- Fry the bacon until crispy, remove and set aside the bacon, save the fat
- Sauté onions, jalapenos, and garlic until soft, remove set aside with the bacon
- Brown the beef. Then add the tomato paste and cook the paste briefly
- Return onions, peppers, garlic, and bacon to the pot and stir to combine. Add the beers or broth, plus 1-pint of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low.
- Add the chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Simmer on low with a lid slightly ajar for approximately 3-hours. Occasionally, skim the fat from the surface, when finished cooking, all the fat should be removed
- About 30 minutes before serving, add the ground cumin and paprika
Here’s my Chili with Beans recipe:
- 2 Pounds Ground Beef
- 8 Cloves Garlic, Crushed and Chopped
- 2 Medium Onions, Large Dice
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 28 Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
- 3 14 Ounce Cans Black Beans
- 2 14 Ounce Cans Corn
- ½ Cup Ancho Chili Powder
- 1 ½ Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 2 ½ Teaspoons Ground Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1-2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
-Place a large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat and add the olive oil.
-Sauté onions for 1 minute, add the beef and garlic and cook until beef is completely browned
-Add tomatoes, beans, corn with all of the liquid, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper, and water to desired consistency and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer
-Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for around 3 hours, more or less
-Occasionally, skim the fat from the surface, when finished cooking, all the fat should be removed
-About 30 minutes before serving, add the black pepper, dried oregano, ground cumin, and smoked paprika
Both of these Chilies can be served with sour cream, grated cheese, chopped green onions, sliced jalapenos, and corn chips.