October 1st, 2013
05:30 PM ET
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Editor's Note: February 27 is National Chili Day. America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

A great beef chili should be a mainstay of every home. In its essence, chili is a form of beef stew and employs a long, slow, moist-heat cooking process to tenderize tough meat. For the best meat, you need to choose cuts from the shoulder; blade steaks or a chuck-eye roast provide plenty of flavor and a silky texture.

This recipe uses a twist on the ready-made chili powder, which can give chili a gritty feel, as well as a rather dull flavor. Instead, we toast dried chiles and then process them with flavorful ingredients and chicken broth to make a deeply flavored, smooth textured paste.

Finally, we know that stews of any kind, and chili in particular, can be time-consuming to prepare. So while the chile paste, vegetables and sauce are simmering, we brown the beef in batches, separately in a 12-inch skillet, and then deglaze the pan with good old beer. Its flavor, a perfect match with chili, only enhances the overall dish. Then it all goes into the oven, where the all-around heat cooks the meat, beans and everything else to tender perfection.

Serve this chili with the usual garnishes. We like diced avocado, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro leaves, lime wedges, sour cream and shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese.

Why this recipe works
Blade steak was easy to cut into pieces and cooked up tender, so it served as the base of our chili recipe. We avoided the grittiness of supermarket chili powders by making our own. Adding cornmeal to our chili powder thickened the chili. For secret ingredients, our chili recipe relies on lager, unsweetened cocoa and molasses.

Serves 6 to 8
A 4-pound chuck-eye roast, well trimmed of fat, can be substituted for the steak. Because much of the chili flavor is held in the fat of this dish, refrain from skimming fat from the surface. Wear gloves when working with both dried and fresh chiles. Dried New Mexican or guajillo chiles make a good substitute for the anchos; each dried árbol may be substituted with 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. If you prefer not to work with any whole dried chiles, the anchos and árbols can be replaced with 1/2 cup commercial chili powder and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, though the texture of the chili will be slightly compromised. Good choices for condiments include diced avocado, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro leaves, lime wedges, sour cream and shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese. The chili can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Table salt
1/2 pound dried pinto beans (about 1 cup), rinsed and picked over
6 dried ancho chiles (about 1 3/4 ounces), stems and seeds removed, and flesh torn into 1-inch pieces (see note above)
2-4 dried árbol chiles, stems removed, pods split, and seeds removed (see note above)
3 tablespoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 medium onions, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
3 small jalapeño chiles, stems and seeds removed and discarded, and flesh cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons light molasses
3 1/2 pounds blade steak, 3/4 inch thick, trimmed of gristle and fat and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (see note above)
1 (12-ounce) bottle mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser

1. Combine 3 tablespoons salt, 4 quarts water and beans in large Dutch oven and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pot from heat, cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse well.

2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place ancho chiles in 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat; toast, stirring frequently, until flesh is fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes, reducing heat if chiles begin to smoke. Transfer to bowl of food processor and cool. Do not wash out skillet.

3. Add árbol chiles, cornmeal, oregano, cumin, cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon salt to food processor with toasted ancho chiles; process until finely ground, about 2 minutes. With processor running, very slowly add 1/2 cup broth until smooth paste forms, about 45 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Transfer paste to small bowl. Place onions in now-empty processor bowl and pulse until roughly chopped, about four 1-second pulses. Add jalapeños and pulse until consistency of chunky salsa, about four 1-second pulses, scraping down bowl as necessary.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture has evaporated and vegetables are softened, 7 to 9 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chile paste, tomatoes and molasses; stir until chili paste is thoroughly combined. Add remaining 2 cups broth and drained beans; bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer.

5. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Pat beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Add half of beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer meat to Dutch oven. Add 1/2 bottle lager to skillet, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Transfer lager to Dutch oven. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil, steak, and lager. Once last addition of lager has been added to Dutch oven, stir to combine and return mixture to simmer.

6. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Cook until meat and beans are fully tender, 11/2 to 2 hours. Let chili stand, uncovered, 10 minutes. Stir well and season to taste with salt before serving.

This recipe, as well as recipes for White Chicken Chili and Simple Beef Chili with Kidney Beans, is featured in Ultimate Chilis on our online cooking school.

More from America's Test Kitchen:
Cook with confidence: America's Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook
How well do you know your beef steak cuts?
Sautéing, roasting, and baking online cooking lessons
Baking demystified: The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book
Do cold eggs ruin baked goods?

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Filed under: America's Test Kitchen • Chili • Content Partner • Dishes • Make • Recipes • Soup • Step-by-Step • Tailgating

soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. Nikki

    Throw the chili powder in the trash can. It causes indigestion and it's just NASTY. If you don't want gas, leave out the beans!

    November 7, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  2. CLOWN

    I don't do chili to often, makes me fart a bunch.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Duke LaCrosse

      It's the beans, Clown, the beans!

      November 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  3. Eric

    I always start with salt pork...adds another layer of flavor.
    I use carrots to cut the tomato acid.
    And cubed steak is a must.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  4. chrisrapier

    Ya know, if you want to get really serious about it chili shouldn't have tomatoes in it either. Chili should just be chili peppers and reconstituted jerky (onions are alright as they stored well on the trail. Tomatoes, not so much). If you want to be traditional about it at least. If you are going to insist on tomatoes in your chili you have no leg to stand on when it comes to complaining about people putting beans in their chili.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Duke LaCrosse

      Valid. I can do without tomatoes, but I cannot do WITH beans.

      November 7, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  5. Jrad

    Try adding a can of tomato soup

    November 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Duke LaCrosse

      Tomato Puree offers a cleaner flavor addition.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  6. Barbara

    Won't be using this recipe any time soon with the lager (Budweiser) in it as I am allergic to all beer. :(

    November 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • TrueCoug

      Why go on living? Just grab a bottle of Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA and call it a day.

      February 27, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
  7. secret

    surprised nobody knows about adding a little cinnamon

    November 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • mgkdrgn

      only in Cincinnatti ;-)

      November 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Duke LaCrosse

      We know about it, it just makes us puke. Cincinnati Chili gets so darn close to Texas Red and then veers off the road into a ditch as soon as the cinnamon is added, right before it's poured over spaghetti and sprinkled with cheese. Abomination!

      November 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  8. oldsquid

    Chili just doesn't work unless there's juice from a lime in it. All of the above sound excellent but I find personally that the combo of lime/beef/chili peppers just flat out works.

    But in the long run, isn't any chili excellent with a cold beer?.....................

    November 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  9. Alabama Joe

    The problem with this recipe and most other recipes from "celebrity" or TV chefs is that they have ingredients that most people do not regularly use...like corn meal, cumin, cocoa powder and molasses. So, to make this recipe, you have to buy containers of those ingredients, which hold far in excess of the amount needed. So, lots of unneeded and leftover ingredients...unless you make the same recipe every week for months! Give us a recipe for great chile (and lots of other dishes) that uses "everyday" ingredients. I think there's a cookbook for that, but the name escapes me.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • chrisrapier

      Cumin should be a staple in any spice cabinet. Seriously, you simply *cannot* make chili taste like chili without cumin. The corn meal I could possibly agree with if it also isn't used for any number of other things (like fried chicken, catfish, corn muffins, etc). Cocoa powder is also staple if you do any sort of baking or like good hot chocolate. Now I understand not want to buy a lot of things if you will never ever use them again – but if you aren't going to use them ever again then maybe this sort of home cooking isn't where you should be looking.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • hawkechik

      Are you *sure* you're from Alabama? I keep every one of those ingredients on my shelf!

      November 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Ally

      Hmmm...I use all but 2 of those ingredients a couple times a week. The cocoa and molasses usually last until the holidays but are all used up making sweet things for Christmas.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Texican

      Well, really, ground cumin is widely used in all southwestern recipes, and corn meal is sort of needed for a lot of stuff including bread baking. The dried chiles are more of a specialty thing, and I just use chili powder. Some will call me a heretic... But my own chili is plenty fine stuff. :) This recipe is very extravagant for something that ends up all cooking in a pot. KISS method works best! Keep It Simple, Spicy. Marinade the beef in beer overnight, then boil the beer the next day (kill the germs) and let it cool to use as a broth.

      November 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  10. Kage

    I love how everyone becomes 'experts' sitting behind computers and commenting on articles. I cook my chili the way I like it and it's still considered chili to me. All of your 'opinions' wouldn't change a thing.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • TrueCoug

      Want a medal?

      February 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
  11. Ally

    I think it's cute how many Texans are so spun-up about putting beans in chili. Like many popular dishes, there are several different styles all over the country. Texas-style chili (or chili con carne) is simply one version that doesn't have beans. Incidentally, that doesn't make you wrong or right. It just puts you in the minority. I can't think of another regional style of chili that doesn't use beans.

    Personally, chili con carne isn't a favorite of mine. There aren't enough different flavors and textures for me.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Texican

      I'm from TX, I know chili as something that HAS beans or NOT – it's the cook's choice. This recipe looks good, but way too complicated for me; I make mine from scratch with marinated boneless chuck cut into 1" cubes, it's based on Craig Claiborne's "Real Texas Chili" recipe, and I use masa flour instead of GP. I know some people are big on not having beans in their chili, but when it's THAT rich, the beans help to mellow it out. I've heard people take issue with it until after they had with – and without – and they always agree, you gotta have the beans, especially after it sits a couple days. It's extremely rich, needs a sidekick. Over eggs in the morning, with tortilla chips for lunch, rolled up in tortillas with whatever you like almost like a fajita for dinner... A good chili is the ultimate "Dude Food."

      And I agree with you that some people get spun up for the wrong reasons – before they tasted it. I also serve it with tortillas, and garnish with sour cream, cheese, onions, whatever comes to mind. Warm white corn tortillas, rolled up and dipped in, are really good, too.

      When I'm running low and need to extend it, I can add beans, but prefer to add broth and make a tortilla soup or something else.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
      • Ally

        Hmm... I hadn't thought to put it over eggs before... Sounds delish!

        November 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  12. Kevin McNelis

    Both the International Chili Society and the Chili Appreciation Society International, the two sanctioning bodies for chili cookoffs STRICTLY PROHIBIT both beans and pasta. Ergo, NO BEANS. If you and either, you can add them after the CHILI is served.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Kevin McNelis

      AND in a cast iron dutch oven!

      November 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
      • Campstove Jack

        Dutch ovens are made for baking. You must mean a cast iron stew pot or chili pot because the pot does take the flavors of the food that's cooked in it.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • Kevin McNelis

          You are right, of course. But we have gotten to the point where any big, heavy ovenproof pan with a lid is referred to as a "Dutch Oven" I use a real dutch oven (legs, flat lid with a rim for the coals) to cook my chili just because it will fit on my stove. The legs fit over the grates so the bottom is directly over the flame.

          November 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Weeds

      That don't mean beans. They're all chili snobs anyhow.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Ally

      I think, Kevin; that they ban pasta and beans in the two main categories. Traditional Red and Chili Verde. They require beans in the Homestyle Chili competition and in the People's Choice.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • TexasMadge

      RIGHT ON, KEVIN!!! Real chili does not have beans!

      November 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Then they should change their names to the International Stew Society and the Stew Appreciation Society International, because without beans, it ain't chili.

      November 7, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
      • Duke LaCrosse

        Oh, Yakobi, just stop. You've never cooked chili in your life. And you know nothing about the subject of cooking chili even if you have told yourself that you have cooked a batch. Stew is stew and I don't know how you conflate stew with chili, with or without beans. You seem to have your own type of grip on that. Leave this chili discussion before you embarrass yourself even further. Your inputs have been sophomoric and uninformed.

        November 8, 2013 at 12:20 am |
  13. Anastasia Beaverhausen

    Cornmeal in chili? I don't think so.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Campstove Jack

      Cornmeal, masa its all the same. Most 'merican stores don't sell masa.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
      • Texican

        Ehh, one time, my masa was bad, so I looked into corn meal... too course, wrong flavor, not the same. Gotta use masa or GP – unless they call for corn meal. I think this recipe is here just to get people to argue. :)

        November 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
        • Weeds

          Yeppers, corn meal is more coarsely ground. One could always give it a spin in a clean coffee bean grinder... Three tablespoons in a good pot of chili is only a minor infraction. I'll over look it if you will.

          November 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
        • Ally

          If you look in some of the larger stores I've seen different grinds of corn meal before. course through fine...just like coffee. But then, if you're in a larger store you can probably get masa. :-)

          February 27, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
  14. Cards fan

    For those of you that are blowing your lid over beans in chili, I'm from Louisville and we put spaghetti and beans in our chili. Oh wait, and ground beef, not chunks. It must have to do with our close proximity to Cincinnati. Everyone I knew growing up made theirs this way and I didn't know there was anything else. So blah, blah, blah, those in Texas think you have a lock on chili. Get over yourselves, we make it in the rest of the country and it's particular to the region.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Originally from Cinci

      I was born in Cinci and although I've lived in the St. Louis area most of my life, I thought ALL chili had cinnamon, beans and a mound of cheese on it! 3 ways from Skyline are the BEST, I'll never feel any other way.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • John

      I live in TN but from KY and we also put beans ground beef and 2 kinds of pork along with elbow noodles.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • John

        P.S. Texas is full of B.S. they can't make chili or bar-b-que.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • Kage

          P.S. You're full of BS

          November 7, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • bluegrassbride

      From Louisville too, and I've been around and like how us Louisvillians make it the best. Plus, we have Bloemer's. and my god is it good. People from other states try it and think it's the best they've ever tasted.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • bluegrassbride

      From Louisville too, and I've been around the U.S. and haven't tasted better chili than what we make here in Louisville. Plus, we have Bloemer's. People I know from out of town try my chili and think it's the best thing they've ever had. And I just throw some stuff in a crockpot and call it a day. Noodles and beans in chili > any other way.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  15. Yakobi

    Look, if your concoction doesn't contain each of these essential ingredients, then it's not chili:
    chili peppers

    November 7, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • downinit

      Complete BS!

      November 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Harvey

      This is about making FOOD, not about winning some contest or proving who has the bigger member. There are regional differences in many things including, but not limited to, food. Where I come from, chili with beans is called ....wait for it...Chili Beans. But I make no assumption that our ways are the best. There is no "best". Just eat what you like, with people you like, and enjoy life!

      November 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  16. theoriginaljames

    Almost every Americas Test Kitchen recipe is long, complicated, and labor/labor intensive. I am such a chili addict that I am tempted to jump through all of the hoops for this version, but will be surprised if I find it better than my much more simple one using prepared chili powder, which is definitely not dull.

    I think chili has to be cooked in Texas to be the best.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Mike in NJ

      Yeah, because after scientifically testing dozens of ways, they determine this to be the best way they can find to make it. Any old chili powder, meat, etc., will likely make a serviceable chili. Of course, it also might suck – because hey, testing.

      But if you do it their way, the way they tested, it will VERY likely be excellent. I play the percentages, and Test Kitchen has never done me wrong – but sometimes, I use my personal style because I can. Don't dis them becuase they're complicated recipes – perfection often requires extra effort.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
      • Duke LaCrosse

        I have every bimonthly edition of Cook's Illustrated dating back to Jan/Feb 1993. It is the most reliable, valuable cooking resource I own with the possible exception of Joy of Cooking (which keeps one grounded in the basics). They rarely get it wrong and, if they do, they revisit it months or years later to get it right. They put beans in their chili because they're northeastern Yanks. It's not their fault. For all they get right, I forgive them this glaring oversight and will continue to wow company with recipes from this outstanding organization.

        November 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
        • Ally

          Duke, I've been getting Cooks Illustrated since '97. I love EVERY issue. I completely agree that the testing they do really makes for an outstanding recipe every time. While they tend to be weekend recipes...they're worth the time.

          I get that you love your non-bean chili...but step out and try a different style for once. You might like it! :-)

          November 7, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
        • Duke LaCrosse

          Unlike alot of the bean types who speculate as to how chili must taste without beans, I have tried many types of chili with beans. I suppose it just depends upon what chili was to you at a young age as well as having knowledge of chili heritage. For me, when I was a kid, it was the Wick Fowler packaged chilis (with masa, without beans) that hit the stores in the '70s after Wick turned his 1970 International Chili Society win into a marketing project aimed at bringing Texas Red into everybody's home. I modeled my recipe after his after much tinkering and indigestion.

          No, unlike the numnuts that thinks chili without beans would taste like dogfood, I can affirm that I have had almost all styles and none has the flavor punch of a basic amalgam of beef (maybe pork), various chilis, cumin, onion, tomato and spices.

          Dixie Johnson won the CASI championship about 15 years ago and gave me a great quote, "You can make my recipe, but you can't make my chili."

          Viva Texas Red!!!!

          November 7, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Dover

      If you are using a pre made chili powder, you know nothing about chili. And your comment about Texas just reinforces the stereotype that all Texans think everything is bigger and better in Texas. Meanwhile, the rest of the country is laughing at you.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • chrisrapier

      There are different kinds of chili powder. What most people think of as chili powder contains salt, garlic, oregano, undefined chili, etc etc etc. Real chili powder is nothing more than powdered chili (of only one type as well). Either way, if you are a traditionalist you use whole chili. Personally, I mostly just use chipotles in adobe. 1 can per pot brings it to a good spice level. I'll round it out with some Ancho but that's about it.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  17. CEL1

    WHOA NELLIE !!!!!! You people are complicating what should be a simple, very tasty, spicy dish. Ground sirloin, 97% lean, works very nicely. Diced tomatoes with green chilies and a specific brand of pinto beans with onions(in a can, OMG!!!) work nicely. Cooked in about an hour, when served with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, your favorite corn ships and some country style cornbread, it is an amazing meal.
    Back to the drawing board, you heathen devils......................

    November 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Mike in NJ

      Yeah – the POINT here is that 'chili' can be made very simply, of course. But this chili has TONS more flavor profiles than the simple chili most of us make. FRESH ingredients are simply superior to any canned/processed ingredients – both for flavor and for health. Cooking things in a certain order, pre-cooking the beans, etc. – all these steps DO THINGS to the food that makes is superior. This is not "chili" that may or may not be terrible based on the brand of powder and grade of meat you happen to have on hand at the time – it's REALLY GOOD chili that has been proven repeatedly by testing.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • chrisrapier

      The difference in flavor between using a long braised roast that is then shredded versus ground beef is almost imposisble to describe. Honestly, my version is just onion, garlic, some fresh peppers, marjoram, a 3 pound chuck roast, a can of chipotle peppers in ancho, and a quart of tomato sauce. Saute the veg, chop the chipos finely, put them in a dutch oven, cover with tomato sauce and braise for around 3 hours. Shred the beef and eat. Add beans if you like. Doesn't take much time at all and is really amazing.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  18. mr.meyer

    I love all these bohunks who get their panties in a wad about beans. But no one says "Cocoa and molasses in chili???"

    November 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Alias

      you are entitled to season your chili however you want.
      however, if it isn't chili then don't call it chili.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • theoriginaljames

      Agreed. I use Ranch Style brand beans, which have a base which I think enhances the chili. But sweetener in chili leaves me scratching my head. At least they didn't do the Ohio spaghetti version...

      November 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
      • Dover

        Adding a sweet ingredient cuts the acidity of tomatoes. It is also why so many salad dressings have sugar in them....to cut the acidity of the vinegar. The trick is to add just enough so you can't tell a sweetener was added but the acidity is tamed.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
      • Mike in NJ

        Cocoa and molasses provide superior umame – that's 'meaty flavor' – that makes the chili 'taste better.' Have none of you had a grandmother that kept one ingredient secret from everyone to her deathbed?

        "I wonder what she puts in that stew to make it so rich – no one's stew is like hers!" Know what that often is? Coffee or Cocoa. Easy to sneak in there too – who would ask a question of a cook with a cup of coffee near the stove? Then, when no one is looking, she just BAM dumps it in! These guys – the test kitchen folks – share these 'secrets' with the rest of us, and then everyone can have delicious food. You guys can kick and scream all you want. Cooking is about learning what is good, refining the recipes to taste better, and changing if it works. It's not about staying the same for 10000 years, if there is a better way. That's just ignorance.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
      • Ally

        A friend of mine uses just a bit of good dark chocolate in her chili recipe. It really balances the flavors and makes it very savory. No real sweet taste at all.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • JayNYC

          It's not the cocoa powder or dark chocolate that adds the sweetness, both of those are more or less unsweetened. It's the molasses, although, as mentioned, it really isn't there to make the chili sweet, but to offset the acidity from the tomatoes.

          November 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Duke LaCrosse

      It's as simple as the line between primary ingredients and the more subtle category of seasonings. Just because you've never heard of the technique doesn't mean your opinion resonates. Chili heads understand. You're on the outside, looking into the world of real chili cooks.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  19. Tanzar, Protector of the Realm

    That's stew, not chili. Chili does not have beans in it.

    November 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Brad

      like I told the other guy: THOES THAT PUT BEANS IN CHILI DON'T KNOW BEANS ABOUT CHILI! Thanks for the protection!

      November 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Yakobi

      On the contrary–chili WITHOUT beans is a stew.

      November 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
      • Daphne

        In my book stew has to have meat, potatoes, and carrots.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Dover

      You can make chili without meat, but not without beans.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • Kathleen

        Uh, no you can't. That is bean soup.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  20. Robbie

    I love chili! can't wait to make some this weekend.

    November 7, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Brad

      As an old tome chili cooker, all I have to say is: THOES THAT PUT BEANS IN CHILI DONT KNOW BEANS ABOUT CHILI. I am however interested in the part of the recipe that involves the toasting of peppers and making a paste. I always put masa in chili after cooking to "tighten it up" as well as level the flavors out. But cornmeal? I will have to try this one. Beer? By all means! Beer is your best friend when making chili. However, I think the opposite way. I prefer a "skunky" beer. Guiness and a Modelo Negro mix is my preferred addition. I realize that to each his or her own. I have worked on my recipe for over 40 years and it is deep in Texas traditions. I call it: Bull's Two Ball Chili. Nope, my name ain't Bull but I am in the bull business. Oh, yes... "alternative meat" sources are good too! Venison chili is amazing... Keep on cookin'!

      November 7, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
      • Yakobi

        So, in this stew you call "chili" (because it has no beans in it), you add "skunky" Guiness–a stout? Wow, that's some serious light-struck beer!
        Beer should never be skunky.

        November 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
      • JayNYC

        Um, you do realize that masa is made out of corn? Probably the same effect as adding corn meal, but the latter is easier to find.
        And yes, alternative meats are great – the Stein Erickson Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah has the MOST AMAZING wild game chili, I think a combo of buffalo, elk and venison.
        Lastly, anyone who thinks adding beans makes it NOT chili is just being ignorant. The only mandatory ingredient in chili is, well the chili peppers! You can leave out the meat and have veggie chili, you can use poultry and have turkey chili, and so on.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  21. Fiona

    I'm going to try making a vegetarian version of this, with either a mock meat or potatoes standing in for the beef. Any suggestions out there (save the anti-vegetarian rants for another day)? BTW, that quick-boil-and-soak for beans does not yield a tender legume. Pintos are better when they are soaked overnight, water drained and the beans rinsed, then simmered in fresh *unsalted* water.

    November 7, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Noname

      Yeah here's a suggestion – don't be a moron and try to make vegetarian anything. Be a real human and eat meat.

      November 7, 2013 at 11:38 am |
      • Dover

        Any tips on how you keep your knuckles from dragging as you walk? That would be entertaining.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • Fiona

          Maybe he's holding them up to catch the constant drool...

          November 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • RedEye

      "Chili", meaning pepper, is the abbreviated form of "Chili con Carne", literally "pepper with meat." I've had so called vegetarian chili and turkey chili and will never again eat such an abomination and affront to the real deal. Even beans are prohibited in many Texas chili cookoffs. Vegetables have always been a side dish around here, and always will be.

      November 7, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • EB

      Mushrooms, particularly portabellas or "baby bellas" make a good stand in meat in vegetarian chili. I make vegetarian chili all the time. (And to those who are going to bring up the meat thing, a "chili" is stew made with chili peppers as the predominant flavor; stew can be made with or without meat, with or without beans, with or without vegetables...whatever you put in is slow cooked until it's tender, that's a stew).

      November 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
      • Fiona

        Mushrooms sound like a good possibility - maybe cut up in a dice. I pulled a "vegetarian chili" recipe off the Internet that was made with eggplant and mushrooms. It was good, but it was really just ratatouille with chili powder and green chile added.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Seth

      My parents are vegetarians and my mom regularly makes chili with beans and bulghur wheat. It's a pretty good replacement for ground beef.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
      • Fiona

        That sounds good, especially if it was toasted first. Thanks!

        November 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Weeds

      Try some extra firm tofu. Chop it into chunks and saute it on all sides so it'll hold together.

      Funny thing about my vegan acquaintances , they tell me about these vegetarian hamburgers and bacon and meat substitutes, saying how it tastes like the real thing. It makes no sense to me that a vegan would enjoy the taste of flesh. If you do, why not eat the real deal?

      November 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • Ally

        Weeds, I've always wondered that too! If I want to eat a vegetarian burger-like patty I'm not expecting it to taste like a hamburger. And I don't dress it with the same stuff you would put on a hamburger either.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
      • Fiona

        The thing is, they don't taste like meat. I think what your vegan buddies are experiencing is "mouth feel." If you used to eat meat, certain dishes feel incomplete without a toothsome component. The only place I'll use a mock meat is in something like a chili, where I am used to (I grew up with) ground meat. The other recipe I use Smart Ground in is Bolognese sauce. You can't do that with tofu or veg.

        But then, people can be sanctimonious about everything, so criticize away.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Ally

      I second the portabello mushrooms idea and I've had good luck using wheat berries. They are very hearty and likely produce a similar texture to the bulgar wheat suggestion.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • Fiona

        Wheat berries are an interesting idea. I don't have much experience using them, but I'll give it a try.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Dover

      Try making a chili with white beans and butternut squash. If you don't overcook the squash and add all the other ingredients usually used in chili, it comes out great. I am a devout carnivore but have a lot of vegetarian friends, and therefore also enjoy many vegetarian dishes. I often make this version using mostly fresh green chilies.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • Eric

      Chunks of beets and or carrots may work as a beef replacement in some regards.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  22. Michael Sawyer

    If you make a caesar salad but substitute the lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and black pepper with ranch, it is no longer a caesar salad. If you make chicken fried steak with a chicken breast instead of a steak, it is chicken fried chicken, not chicken fried steak.

    You may substitute in your stew turkey instead of beef. You may but beans in it. And it may be delicious! You may win awards! You might get your own food network show and open a chain of restaurants and retire to the Hamptons a millionaire!

    And even then, it wont be chili. Its not a slap in the face nor a mark of shame. I have had lots of times beef stew with beans and it was damn tasty! But it was not chili.

    And that's ok

    November 7, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Yakobi

      That's all well and good, but chili without beans is a stew.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
      • Weeds

        its a stew regardless of beans or no beans. Consider how its been stewed in a pot for hours.

        November 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • Dover

          Exactly. It is both a chili and a stew. The only way to make it not chili, is to not put chilies in it.

          November 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  23. Eric

    Kim's Healthy Eats has a pretty good chili recipe – http://www.kimshealthyeats.com

    November 7, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  24. Chili Cook

    I live in Texas, originally from CO, and make my chili with Turkey and beans. My recipe also won a chili cook-off in TEXAS (who would've thunk)! Personally, I like chili with beans, and if it doesn't have beans, it must be a sloppy joe mix!

    November 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Duke LaCrosse

      Nobody with any actual knowledge of chili would have thunk. You're making turkey and bean soup. Tain't chili. And simply winning a random chili cookoff without a level of sponsorship or allowances for size of the competition accords no special status or knowledge on this. I personally have won four and mine was also chosen as the Florida State Championship People's Choice winner. Being from Texas, you should know that the national chili cookoff sponsored by CASI, Chili Appreciation Society International, is held yearly in Terlingua. You won't find a bean anywhere near those grounds when it's time to throw down. And you can't just go, you have to qualify at regional levels, accruing points along the way. You'll get no points for beans.

      Put whatever you like in whatever concoction you wish. As soon as you start beaning it up and using non-traditional meats, you're leaving chili and heading somewhere else. I'm sure it tastes great. Clam chowder is good, too.

      November 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
      • JCFinley1

        If you haven't tried turkey, maybe you should. I use ground turkey instead of beef. Whenever I bring in a pot (about two quarts), it is gone within minutes. My co-workers like the texture that ground turkey provides. I do tell them the recipe if asked.

        November 7, 2013 at 9:53 am |
      • Noname

        I've won 24 awards and personally kicked the ass of every Florida chili maker ever known. You're next, son.

        November 7, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Duke LaCrosse

          Bring it, cupcake. ;-D Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about Florida chili. I'm talking about the original animal called "Texas Red." Respect to all you boisterous, blowhard, bombastic Texas chili heads. But please tell me you don't use beans, or I'll have to add "inauthentic" and change "respect" to "disdain," confident that my pot of red would win in a walk with true chili judges (as in, not the local county commish, Mrs. McTavish the schoolteacher, or Father O'Brien).

          November 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
      • Joey

        If I was judging a chilli cook off and somebody told me they used Turkey I would give them a zero.

        November 7, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
        • Yakobi

          You mean you've have to be TOLD it contained turkey instead of beef? You wouldn't be able to tell?

          Turkey is preferable anyway, because it doesn't have the god awful grease that frequently accompanies beef chili, leaving you to taste the spices and veggies (and beans!).

          November 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
        • Yakobi

          You mean you've have to be TOLD it contains turkey instead of beef? You wouldn't be able to tell?

          Turkey is preferable anyway, because it doesn't have the awful grease that frequently accompanies beef chili, leaving you to taste the spices and veggies (and beans!).

          November 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
        • Duke LaCrosse

          Ya gotta trim up your beef and prepare it yourself. Greasy chili comes from lazy prep.

          November 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
        • Weeds

          Mass produced turkey has practically no taste. Their lives are so short and the way they are manufactured they have no means to develop their muscles and tissues, what flavor they have is in their fat. That kind of turkey is like tofu on stick feet.

          Turkey in chilli would taste like a hole because it would be surrounded by the wonderful flavors and the heat of the various chillis.

          November 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • Yakobi

          Prepped the right way, the turkey adds wonderful flavor because of all the spices and liquid it has absorbed before being put into the chili. Whereas using ground beef with high fat content just ends up tasting like eating a cup full of grease.

          November 7, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
        • Duke LaCrosse

          Again I say that grease = lazy prep. Is that who you are Yakobi?

          November 8, 2013 at 12:24 am |
  25. Craig from Pa

    Don't eat any for a few days after making it...the flavors develop better.....

    November 4, 2013 at 7:46 am |
    • Toad

      This is the one point on this whole page that is indisputably true.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  26. SixDegrees

    "Our mission is simple"

    To make a boatload of money off magazine subscriptions, closed pay-for-access websites, and a show on PBS paid for by American taxpayers.

    November 4, 2013 at 2:39 am |
  27. talentpod

    2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
    2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
    Kosher salt
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    5 cloves garlic, smashed
    2 4.5-ounce cans chopped green chiles, drained
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    3/4 cup chili powder
    1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles
    1 to 2 tablespoons green hot sauce
    Sliced scallions, fresh cilantro and/or sour cream, for topping
    Tortilla chips, for serving (optional)
    Toss the beef with 1 tablespoon each brown sugar and salt in a large bowl. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the beef in batches until browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes (do not crowd the pan). Transfer to a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker.

    Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion to the skillet and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chiles, cumin and chili powder and cook 3 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water and the tomatoes and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low, 7 hours.

    November 4, 2013 at 2:07 am |
    • Dover

      First mistake: using a pre made chili powder. Second mistake, using chili powder AND cumin. All pre made chili powder is, is a generic ground dried chili and cumin. Choose your specific chili blend, and then add the amount of cumin you prefer.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  28. igoponthegop

    Texans make FANTASTIC chili. You just have to make sure that you use the right ones.

    November 3, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Dover

      Most are too fatty and cleaning the crap out of them takes too long.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
  29. jlg

    As soon as you said "beans," I knew that you did not know anything about chili.

    November 3, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • DA

      Yeah, the moment I saw beans and chili in the same sentence I stopped reading.

      November 7, 2013 at 11:57 am |
      • Dover

        More like: You stopped having the article read TO you.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  30. Red

    I'm happy to concede that this recipe makes a great chili, but FYI many of us don't have the time or desire to be this.....Martha Stewart-ish. I'm afraid these guys are out of touch with the vast majority of us who have many other things on our plate (pardon the pun) but still want to make a quality chili. I have a recipe I've used for years, people always rave about it, and it uses plain ol "gritty" chili powder and ground beef. One needn't get fancy to be good.

    PS not sure I get the Texas cat fight BS or kiddies spitting at each other in general, but would it be asking too much to just tick to the actual topic and the rest of you can go play north vs south (or whatever it is) elsewhere?

    November 3, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Jared

      Who are you kidding? This is not chili, chili pepper stew, but not chili. If you are going to craft something foreign with blade steak and cornmeal, call it something else, perhaps cornmeal stew but not chili. Do you have a good recipe for ground beef and bean chili?

      November 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
      • MDP

        I've lived in Texas for 30 years after the first 21 in Philly. This is my recipe:

        "Ace in the Hole – Ass on the Bowl" Papa-Vein Chili

        2# ground beef – chili grind or regular
        extra virgin olive oil
        chicken granules
        granulated onion
        1 – small white onion
        1 – 8 oz can Hunts tomato sauce with garlic
        1 – 14 oz can of beef broth
        2 – 10 oz cans Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
        light chili powder
        dark chili powder
        garlic powder
        ground cumin
        cayenne pepper
        black pepper
        (optional – 1 to 2 16 oz cans of dark red kidney beans)

        Step 1
        2 lbs. course ground beef (chili grind)
        1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
        1 TBS granulated onion

        Add ingredients together in 3-qt. covered sauté pan (or similar) and lightly brown meat.

        Step 2
        In separate pan, sauté 2 cups of coarsely chopped white onion in 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil until slightly golden.

        Step 3
        Chopped onion from previous step
        1 8 oz can Hunts tomato sauce with garlic
        1 14 oz can beef broth

        Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

        Step 4
        Add 1st dump:
        1 TBS light chili powder
        2 TBS dark chili powder
        1 tsp garlic powder
        ½ tsp salt
        ½ TBS ground cumin
        ½ tsp cayenne pepper, heaping
        ½ tsp black pepper
        1 tsp chicken granules
        (add beans at this point, if desired)

        Cook over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

        Step 5:
        Add 2nd dump:
        2 – 10 oz cans Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
        1 TBS light chili powder
        1 TBS dark chili powder
        1 tsp paprika
        ½ TBS ground cumin

        Leave covered and simmer for 30 minutes.

        Serve sprinkled with grated sharp cheddar and raw chopped onion, if desired. For spicier chili, add additional cayenne pepper very sparingly and mix well.

        November 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • Dover

          Chili made with ground beef tastes like it came out of a can.

          November 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • MDP

          Dover – I challenge you to follow my recipe to the letter and report back that it tastes like it came from a can. You won't be able to.

          November 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
        • Yakobi

          While I appreciate someone posting their recipe, I could never make it. I don't know what "chicken granules" or "granulated onion" are and don't use canned chilies. I make a mean chili with 7 different kinds of fresh peppers that has wonderful complex flavors (and colors) with 2 or 3 different kinds of beans–just for the Texas chili snobs. In fact, the last time I made it, not a single item came from a can!

          November 7, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • Fiona

      If this recipe is daunting to you (too Martha, really?), you must not make anything more complicated than PB&J sammies. What's your cut-off for "doable", two steps?

      November 7, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Noname

      Hey Red – how about you STFU and stop voicing your opinons in this here chili thread?

      November 7, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Speedro

      This is a pretty simple recipe if you have even basic cooking skills.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  31. UriNation

    There's nothing like getting all fired up from a great bowl or two of chili!

    November 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  32. Dmitry

    Finally cnn got an interesting article. Don't bother with reporting CNN, your horrible in it. Just write about chili

    November 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • keven

      Wait, let me guess. A (brainless)Fox news fan?

      November 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • Jack Sprat

        Brainless Fox News fan vs Brainless CNN fan. Not much difference.

        November 7, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • Noname

        Keven, yer momma was a rabid cock-fan. At least she was last night.

        November 7, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  33. Juergen

    No complaints about the above recipe. I'll try it.

    There's a chili recipe in Campbell's Great American cookbook that I've been bas(tardizing for years. Never fails to give a good product.

    November 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  34. rosethornne

    This article came right after the one about the FDA finding bug parts and rat hair in spices.


    I mean really, couldn't they at least have separated the articles with a burned body and a couple of shootings, just for good taste?

    November 3, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  35. The enlightened restauranteer

    "...ready-made chili powder, which can give chili a gritty feel, as well as a rather dull flavor." Do tell.

    Ingredients: "3 T cornmeal" Non-gritty cornmeal? LOL

    Ingredients: "1/2 pound dried pinto beans" Double LOL

    This isn't chili. It's a "North of the Mason Dixon Line disaster".


    November 3, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • Bill

      Good point LOL what a post LOL do tell LOL oh yay for Southern snobbery LOL

      oops I almost forgot:


      November 3, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • whorhay

      I think the gritty they are talking about is how the spices from chili powders don't breakdown in the cooking process. You end up being able to see the particulates of spices suspended in the fluid. I've never noticed it feeling gritty myself but I suppose it's possible. The cornmeal once it absorbs the water will start to break down and thicken the mix up but won't leave the hard little particulates.

      The only region I've ever heard of where Chili was assumed to not have beans in it was Texas. Which is why everyone else refers to beanless chili as Texas style. It's much like how BBQ in Texas is mostly Beef and differs from the other prominent BBQ regions in the country in flavor and preparation. That doesn't make either way wrong, just different. The most amusing bit about the beans arguement is that the only time I hear it come up locally is when someone cries at the chili cook off at work when all of the chili's have beans, if it was really that important to him he could prepare a chili without beans himself.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  36. dmadam

    This looks like a good recipe and their kitchen does do a lot of research before they put out the final product. HOWEVER use a lager like Bud...you gotta be kidding. Use real beer like a good craft brewed Ale.

    November 3, 2013 at 4:40 am |
    • kwdragon

      Don't be so quick to judge. Depending on what you are cooking, sometimes cheaper beers taste better and less bitter. As an example, I ALWAYS use Miller High Life for my Brats and Onions on the grill (and on the stove). While I wouldn't be drinking this as a beverage, the high fructose corn syrup used in the MHL carmelizes the onions to perfection. This is also a plus in most beer breads. While I would be far more likely to drink a darker beer, they can turn bitter when heated. Just keep that in mind and buy your "cooking" beers in smaller quantities, as you likely won't be swilling it anytime soon.

      November 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
      • pat

        Yeah, I always use Miller lite. Save the craft beer for drinking, the cheap beer adds something without being too overbearing.

        November 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • 'Scuse Me


          November 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
      • Speedro

        Where would you get the idea that high fructose corn syrup is involved in making beer?

        November 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • Dover

          In America I wouldn't be surprised.

          November 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Toad

          This question sent me Googling. There is some dispute. Beer does not fall within FDA labeling regulations. But one web site got this response straight from MillerCoors: "“Corn syrup gives beer a milder and lighter-bodied flavor.”

          November 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  37. Green

    I'll have to save this recipe and see if I can adapt it to my dutch oven. On the debate on chili with or with out beans... Ya'll should probably note that this recipe is NOT a recipe for Chili con Carne. This is a recipe for Chili Beans. Distinctly different in my recipe book. Chili con Carne is a greate recipe for tortillas. Chili Beans are better with Cornbread.

    November 3, 2013 at 12:30 am |
  38. Dean

    Where are the chili tepins and jalapenos?

    November 2, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Dean

      3 small ones just doesn't cut it.

      November 2, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • AndyM

      Hey, you can always adjust. This is an terrific base chili recipe. A lot of people might not share your particular tastes, if you like it hotter, so this is safer for the masses.

      You can't go wrong following their recipes (then adding your own twist for something like this). These guys are awesome!

      November 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Ken

      Cooking dried beans in the pot, in the oven, in a recipe like this, is dicey. Cooking time will be longer than necessary and the dish is likely to be dry to the point of a casserole. There is nothing wrong with canned beans, in fact canned beans are superior to beans cooked in a pot in every respect.

      The best beef flavor per dollar comes from beef knuckle, not blade steak IMO. Ground chuck is fine. Once you have pulverized its collagen for several hours the cut of beef doesn't matter too much which is why the old-timers often used brisket. The only thing tougher than the brisket is the bones. =^)

      We often toast and then roughly grind chile ancho in a food processor, and if you want a chef's touch, de-seed some chile morita pods and add them (it is a type of chipotle–chile morita is a smoked red jalapeno). But this is all time consuming and intimidating if you aren't familiar with it–there is nothing wrong with commercial chile powder. Not sure where this "gritty" stuff came from they got in the test kitchen. The Kroger-branded chile powder in particular is first rate–nice ancho flavor, mild heat, just the right bitterness. Nothing wrong with it for the home cook at all.

      The best thing you can do for any chili recipe is put a ladle full of lard in it. There, I said it. Every Mexican cook knows it and now you do too.

      Source: Chef and operator of a Mexican food truck.

      November 2, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
  39. Austinite

    Real chili has no beans!! That makes a Yankee bean soup.

    November 2, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • The enlightened restauranteer

      Thank you. They just don't understand, do they?

      November 3, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • Shay

      On the whole debate about having beans in your chili being a Northern thing- I'm from Arkansas. I put beans in my chili. I think it's just a matter of what you like, and we happen to like beans.

      November 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
      • Duke LaCrosse

        Chili = Texas = No Friggin' Beans!

        November 4, 2013 at 12:47 am |
        • Kathleen


          November 4, 2013 at 9:49 am |
        • Yakobi

          Texas "chili" (i.e., sans beans) = "stew" in the rest of the country.

          November 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • JT

        As do I, and I live far away from the Mason-Dixon line in SOUTH Carolina.

        Chilli without beans is a topping for hotdogs and sloppy joe's. I hear they like it that way in the yankee bastion of Ohio, too.

        I'm beginning to think they don't allow beans in their recipes because they know it tastes better and they want to keep their "tradition" alive. It's okay if they want to handicap their chilli, but don't expect anyone else to fall in line.

        November 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • Ann

          Agreed. Around here, they call it "Michigan sauce" and it's put over hot dogs. Usually, over mushy, overboiled, cheap hotdogs at a potluck. Kinda gross, IMHO.

          November 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • Ally

          Agreed, JT.

          Just having meat and chilis in it makes the taste so one-dimensional...not to mention what I imagine would be a dog-food-like texture.

          November 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  40. bob searcy

    good chili could be realized without running 6 bucks worth of electricity thru an oven..

    November 2, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Kathleen

      It's like they can't leave well enough alone. Have to somehow fancy it up.

      There is a line between "can" and "should" and oven-baked chili crosses it.

      November 4, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  41. David Hoffman

    I have for a few decades read about the taste difference between real chili con carne and the rest of the stuff called chili. No beans in the chili con carne was always a rule. You could make a spicy bean dish as an accompaniment to the chili con carne. Freshly prepared peppers was optimum compare to powders. One thing that was never explained completely, was that using ground beef, even set to maimum coarse grind, was not a good way to prepare the beef. I only recently read about this. It makes sense when you think about cooking operations out on a cattle drive or at a cattle ranch. You are going to use chunks of beef, not ground beef. It also makes more sense for the flavor and texture profile you want to enjoy when eating chili con carne. That flavor and texture profile is impossible to create using regular ground beef.

    November 2, 2013 at 5:36 am |
    • Duke LaCrosse

      And the beef prep technique is to freeze it until you can easily chop it into small chunks. Thawed beef will not cooperate with this operation. Well worth the time taken for the resultant flavor and feel of that spoonful of chili.

      November 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
      • Ann

        Partially freezing the meat is one way to make it easier, but if you have a good sharp knife it isn't necessary.

        November 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
      • Speedro

        Or get a decent knife.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  42. GM

    What a bunch of crap......next tghing you know they will want fava beans and a glass of Chianti.... this is a BS article...

    November 1, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • nodat1

      same as last week, they were trying to convince that baked mac and cheese has bay leaf in it

      November 3, 2013 at 12:00 am |
      • Kathleen

        That made me want to slap someone.

        November 4, 2013 at 9:52 am |
  43. Gary D

    The best chili made is at Wendy's, you can't go wrong with it.

    November 1, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • krusty

      I know your being sarcastic, well I hope you are, but their chili is made using old unsold and overcooked burgers. They toss them in a bin and at the end of the night use it for the next days chili.

      November 2, 2013 at 11:29 am |
      • Invicta81

        This is true. Wendy's was my very first endeavor into the work force in 1997. Incidentally, I do not eat fast food anymore and haven't since 2005. Knowing what that "food" truly is and having done even more research keeps me cooking more in my kitchen and eating out less altogether.

        November 2, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • JT

      I like it too, though of course the snobs will disagree. Isn't it kind of ironic that their being snobby about keeping something simple? I usually thought it was the other way around.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  44. Rick

    I gotta say anybody that would put avocado in Anything oughta be shot in the ass with a 12 guage loaded with rocksalt and cayenne, but the rest of the recipe sounds alright to me. At least whoever this is knows NEVER to make chili with GROUND beef so he he's not completely out of his mind...LOL. I ain't ever put cocoa powder in chili, but it sounds it might taste good so I'd willing to try that. Well anyway remember what Pat Garret said about Billy The Kid at Stinkin Springs in New Mexico 1888. "Any man that eats chili can't be ALL bad."

    November 1, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Duke LaCrosse

      Wouldn't have to be cocoa powder. I've been known to melt a Hershey's chocolate bar into mine about 15 minutes before serving. This is way more widespread among chili heads than you might imagine. It can smooth out the mouthfeel without a hint of chocolate taste. It's a skill move.

      November 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • Jon-o

        yep, i do so all the time. it's a nice way to counter balance the acidity of the tomatoes. cinnamon can work as well. i've even used peanut butter a time or to with very good results.

        i've gone down the making my own chili paste route before, and it was good, but not some much so that it was worth the hassle. the key for me is getting good powders. penzy's has a good selection to work with. i usually do a mix of ancho, and chipotle powders. sometimes working in some chimayo red chili powder when i have it in stock. i then bolster that with roasted hatch green chilies as well as roasted red bell peppers.

        personally, I don't really have an issue with the kinds of meats you use to call it chili, i like to do a mixture of beef and pork, however, I do prefer my chili sans beans as they add nothing to the flavor in my opinion. i also like adding a mix of beef or chicken stock with beer. i've successfully used bocks and dopple bocks, guinness, pale ales, and the like with excellent results but will pretty much use what ever i happen to have in the fridge at the time of making.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
  45. David

    The way i make chili is the only right way, everyone else is wrong. Why can't you see that?

    November 1, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  46. eideard

    Chile is a fruit and as such should be eaten – or cooked with – when ripe. Which means red.

    October 4, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Auto-Thread Referral Service

      Someone needs a stickectomy. Go see Dr. Stew Pedassle and he'll get that out for you.

      October 7, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • Duke Lacrosse

      "Chile" is a country in South America. If you can't spell it, you can't pretend to know how to cook it.

      November 7, 2013 at 10:56 am |
      • Kevin McNelis

        Duke, you are showing your ignorance. "CHILI" is a dish. "CHILE" is the fruit of any of hundreds of plants from the genus Capsicum. I am a professor of Agriculture at New Mexico State University, home of the Chile Pepper Institute. I do believe I know how to spell "CHILE".

        November 8, 2013 at 11:29 am |
        • Duke LaCrosse

          I say again, nobody ever ate a bowl of "chile" and nobody ever visited that most excellent winery, Concha y Toro, in Chili. Of course the root of chili is chiles. I never said otherwise. Your inference is what's mistaken and, what's most amusing, you only went there to talk of your academic credentials. Only d-bags do that. Yes, we're all very proud of your attendance certificate from the Speedy Gonzalez Institute of Chile Puffery. It's on the wall next to your ninth place soccer trophies, right? Now, go eat a bowl of CHILI, made from CHILES. Numnuts.

          December 10, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • Kevin McNelis

          I'll play- look at the whole thread:

          Chile is a fruit and as such should be eaten – or cooked with – when ripe. Which means red.

          October 4, 2013 at 10:09 am | Reply
          Auto-Thread Referral Service
          Someone needs a stickectomy. Go see Dr. Stew Pedassle and he'll get that out for you.

          October 7, 2013 at 7:20 am | Reply
          Duke Lacrosse
          "Chile" is a country in South America. If you can't spell it, you can't pretend to know how to cook it.

          November 7, 2013 at 10:56 am | Reply
          Kevin McNelis
          Duke, you are showing your ignorance. "CHILI" is a dish. "CHILE" is the fruit of any of hundreds of plants from the genus Capsicum. I am a professor of Agriculture at New Mexico State University, home of the Chile Pepper Institute. I do believe I know how to spell "CHILE".

          November 8, 2013 at 11:29 am | Reply

          So, eideard spelled it "chile", and you then posted about "Chile" being a country. So that makes you the ignorant one. As in dumber that a box of rocks. So come suck my CHILE, dickhead!

          December 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
  47. Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

    Skip the cornmeal, molasses, & extra stock. Keep the beer in the bottle or pour it in a glass. There should be plenty of liquid from the vegetables and from the beans (whether they've been soaked or canned). This is so much ado about what is really a simple one-pot peasant dish.

    October 3, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Karl

      Yep, you can thicken the chili easily (without cornmeal) by mashing a few of the beans with a fork.

      November 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  48. Thinking things through

    This sounds good. I can go with, or without the beans (depending on mood, and if in the mood I might add black beans instead...), and I'd drop the molasses, and opt for a healthy oil over the random "vegetable oil", but this recipe gets my saliva going! Thanks!

    October 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  49. Carn E. Vore

    I can't believe there haven't been more indignant Texans in here spouting the usual "NO GOOD CHILI HAS BEANS IN IT!!!" nonsense. When it comes to chili, these annoying fools are worse than the snootiest wine drinkers (I know, an annoying Texan, whodathunkit?) What it comes down to is quite simple, folks: if you like beans in your chili, add beans. If you don't, don't. And at that point, STFU and don't tell other people how they should enjoy their food.

    October 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Weeds

      I'd like to point out that beans were an important cowboy staple on and off the trail. It is simple logic to deduce that original Texas chilli had beans in it. I bet this fact is documented somewhere in a Texas history book or ancient book of recipes left behind by a chuckwagon master. And don't call him chef, he worked for a living.

      October 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
      • Weeds

        mod-bot? seriously? what was the offensive word? Chef?

        October 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
      • eideard

        Nothing at all original about Texas chili [sic].

        October 4, 2013 at 10:10 am |
      • David Hoffman

        The beans were prepared separately as a side dish to the chili con carne. In many cases the bean side dish came from the same large bean pot that was available for cowboys to "snack" from in between regular meals. Good camp cooks had pots of beans, biscuits, and coffee to keep the cowboys from sneaking around and eating up other expensive and time consuming foods prior to regular meals. This is the reason you have Texans, who know the origins of chili con carne, protesting the addition of beans, tomatoes, and other items to the dish. All those other foods are fine as side dishes and true chili con carne enthusiasts happily eat them as separate side dishes.

        November 2, 2013 at 4:46 am |
      • AndyM

        If that's how it was really done back in the day, you probably WON'T find it in a history book, given the Texas Board of Education's penchant for substituting fiction for fact in textbooks.

        November 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
        • Speedro


          November 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • Elise

        The idea was that chili was generally made after beans were exhausted, toward the end of the drive when the cattle was fairly tough and your rations were lean. The cook would use one of the drive cattle that wasn't looking like it would make the full drive, and it would be stewed for a long while to help mediate the toughness. So, no. Original chili didn't have beans – it was the alternative when you RAN OUT of beans.

        November 3, 2013 at 9:08 am |
      • MDP

        Check out the Terlingua International Chili Championships web site. chili dot org? That contest goes back to something like 1967, if I recall correctly. Winners hail from all over, including Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Virginia, Illinois, TEXAS, etc – and none of their winning recipes include beans. But I like beans. I like speaking unintelligible syllables out of the other end. Mine includes beans. Recipe above.

        November 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • VladT

      "An annoying texan..." comments begs the question of where you originate, so we can know that that region is full of judgmental ne'er-do-wells.

      October 3, 2013 at 5:51 am |
      • Carn E. Vore

        I've lived in many areas of this country. In my travels I've noticed that the major a$$holes seem to come from three states: California, Texas, and Michigan.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
        • delian

          Wow, those are the three places that I've lived in my life. Score!

          November 2, 2013 at 7:46 am |
      • delian

        Hating on Texans usually just strengthens their resolve. Plus we find it amusing.

        November 2, 2013 at 7:51 am |
    • Texas Independance

      Chili does NOT have beans. All you Yankee, liberals can go back and add tofu or what ever the hell you eat and stick it. March 2nd 1936 is the real Independence day.

      November 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
      • Joe Friday

        Hate to bust your bubble Hoss, Texas was settled by Indians, Spanish, Mexicans and Yankees, in that order. No matter how hard you try to scrub it off, you have Yankee blood; boots, cowboy hat and a Texaas drawl just covers them facts.

        Chilli was made with chillis and if ya had some meat, you'd put it in there too. The beans? they were saved for burritos.

        November 1, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
      • David Hoffman

        OK. I must be looking in the wrong places. Who got their independance on March 2nd 1936? Do you mean March 2nd 1836 when the Texas Declaration of Independance was ratified?

        November 2, 2013 at 4:57 am |
        • Daphne

          I was going to mention the error in the date, but David beat me to it. And, by the way, for both of you: It's independence, not independance.

          I'm a Native Texan and proud of it.

          November 7, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Rick

      The only Red Skelton joke I remember is about Texans. It goes: "You can always tell a Texan, you just can't tell him very much." I been to Texas one time, and that was plenty. My brother moved to Houston to this suburb of it that they call Humble, Texas and of course they insist that you drop the "H" when you say it. He's been annoying all his life so he blended in with crowd so fast that if you turned your back, you could lose him in 2 seconds.

      November 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
      • Kathleen

        Humble, Texas, was named for the founders of the Humble Oil Company, whose rigs have dotted the landscape for generations.

        It's a given name and the pronounciation reflects that. So sorry for you that it isn't pronounced the same way at the self-effacing attitude.

        November 4, 2013 at 9:57 am |
      • Daphne

        Wrong! It's a hard h sound.

        November 7, 2013 at 10:30 am |
        • Daphne

          I'd delete this post if I knew how to do it! I stand corrected.

          November 7, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • AndyM

      Yeah, pretty funny stuff. If you want to be truly original and authentic, keep in mind this dish was made with all these spices and stuff to cover up the taste of beef going rancid over the course of a long cattle drive with no refrigeration.

      Beans are perfectly acceptable in chili.

      November 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  50. RC

    Uhmm....no beans in chili.

    October 1, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • TM

      THANK you! When will people learn?

      October 2, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • shawn l

      Depends on the region. Im not a fan of texas chili.

      October 2, 2013 at 12:48 am |
    • Dover

      Um,....if you are going to lose anything, it would be the meat. Beans are essential but meat isn't. I do usually make my chili with some kind of beef, diced small and slow cooked......but do NOT leave out at least one kind of bean. Three is better. BOOM!

      October 2, 2013 at 3:11 am |
      • David Hoffman

        1850 – Records were found by Everrette DeGolyer (1886-1956), a Dallas millionaire and a lover of chili, indicating that the first chili mix was concocted around 1850 by Texan adventurers and cowboys as a staple for hard times when traveling to and in the California gold fields and around Texas. Needing hot grub, the trail cooks came up with a sort of stew. They pounded dried beef, fat, pepper, salt, and the chile peppers together into stackable rectangles which could be easily rehydrated with boiling water. This amounted to "brick chili" or "chili bricks" that could be boiled in pots along the trail. DeGolyer said that chili should be called "chili a la Americano" because the term chili is generic in Mexico and simply means a hot pepper. He believed that chili con carne began as the "pemmican of the Southwest." http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Chili/ChiliHistory.htm

        Beans were a side dish to chili con carne, although I suspect they were dispensed in equal volume to the meat dish to save money.

        November 2, 2013 at 5:16 am |
    • Carn E. Vore

      I'll put whatever the heck I want in my chili and I'll mind my own business about what other people put in theirs. I don't tell you how to go about keeping my fries warm, so you don't tell me what I can and cannot put in my chili.

      October 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • Rick

        That's the way it should done my friend. I like you a right smart amount and I would eat your chili and bet real money there won't be a dadgum thing wrong with it. You obviously live by one of the most important rules of being a cowboy.
        "Never pass up a chance to shut up and eat"

        November 1, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Toad

      So, how is the pay when you work for the Chili Police? Did you have to go through a pretty rigorous application process? You probably have to be quite vigilant, but it's profoundly important work you're doing.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
      • Duke LaCrosse

        We in the militant wing of the Chili Police work strictly pro-bono and, unsurprisingly, we are hair-trigger types that prefer to shoot bean users first and ask questions later. Usually after a few beers and tequila shots to calm the adrenaline rush. It's a labor of love. Love of chili. You're doggone right it's profoundly important work we're doing.

        November 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
        • Ken

          And y'all need to calm down. I come from a town that considers itself the barbeque capital of the world. We take barbeque extremely seriously and we think we know how to do it best. But nobody here would tell you that they don't make "real" barbeque in North Carolina, or Kansas City, or Texas. We think barbequed beef is an alien concept, ours is always pork, but we don't say there is no such thing as barbequed beef ribs. That would be arrogant and ignorant and if we did it we would just be making asses of ourselves.

          I'll make chili with almond butter, strawberries and quinoa if I feel like it. =^)

          November 7, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
        • Duke LaCrosse

          You're a silly person who likes to use foodie terms. Here's one: Cardoon! Here's another one: Mirepoix! Now, go back to whatever barbecue paradise you purport to hail from and stick to what you think you know. Chili ain't it.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:16 am |
        • Ken

          > You're a silly person

          This entire thread is silly (except for Toad who alone has actually made the recipe). I'm just trying to fit in.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
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