Y’all, chili is a religion down here. We have chili cook-offs every fall and winter. Everyone gets together, spends all day drinking beer and cooking chili, and then have it judged that afternoon (often during halftime of a big game). A good Texas chili recipe has to be spicy, meaty, and of course, it needs tomatoes.
A real chili recipe doesn’t have beans. It just doesn’t, no matter what anyone says. I have proof, too! Chili was created by cowboys on a cattle drive. They’d have tough, dried out meat in their saddle packs that needed to be edible. How did they do that? By making chili! They wouldn’t have had time to soak and cook beans after a long day cattle driving, which means it consisted of nothing but a can of tomatoes and meat. There you go, your proof that REAL chili, especially Texas chili, does NOT have beans.
Now that that’s settled, what DOES real chili have? The best chili recipe has a few things in it: meat, tomatoes, spicy spices, and earthy spices. The most important ingredient, though, is time. No matter how tender the meat you bought is, the longer it cooks, the better it’ll taste. The flavors all get to meld together, the meat falls apart, the tomatoes cook down, and it becomes this wonderfully smooth, spicy bowl of deliciousness. There’s just nothing better on a cold winter night than a bowl of chili and a warm piece of cornbread. Plus, it’s amazing on hot dogs, tamales (our Christmas Eve tradition), or as Frito pie (every Texas kid’s favorite cafeteria meal)!
Don’t want to wait all day for this deliciousness? Check out my Instant Pot version! All the spicy, meaty goodness in less than an hour!
Texas Chili Recipe
2 lbs meat (we prefer a mix of beef and venison when we have it, but plain beef is yummy, too)
1 sweet onion, diced
1 bottle Shiner (or another darker beer)
2- 28 oz petite diced tomatoes
8 T chili powder
2 t garlic, minced
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t cumin seed (or a toothpick dip of cumin essential oil)
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t paprika
1 1/2 T oregano (or 1 drop oregano essential oil)
2 adobo chilis in adobo sauce, blended smooth
- Cut up the meat to be small bite size. Make it a little larger if you want it chunky, smaller if you want it to fall apart into a smooth chili.
- Brown the meat and the onion in a pot.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, and bring to a boil.
- Once the pot is at a boil, turn the stove down to low or just above it. You want it to simmer for as long as you possibly can– 8 hours is ideal, but 2-4 will get the job done (depending on how large you cut the pieces).
- Serve with cornbread, diced sweet onion, shredded cheese, or Fritos!