This recipe is a Texas-style chili, commonly referred to as a “bowl of red.” True Texas-style chili includes only meat, chile peppers, and spices. Like cajuns and their gumbo, Texans take their chili seriously and there are numerous disagreements over what is and what is not chili. The debate continues to rage over beans vs. no beans; tomatoes vs. no tomatoes, etc. and, over time, a whole chili lore has developed. Texans take their chili so seriously that chili was officially designated the state food of Texas by the State Legislature in 1977. Also, to most Texans, the fact that a genuine “bowl of red” can only be found in Texas has never been in doubt. In fact, it is generally accepted that, despite its Spanish name, chili con carne originated in San Antonio Texas. Indeed, in the 1800s when San Antonio was host to the Mexican Army, the Chili Queens of San Antonio (as they became known) made large pots of chili at home by day, and clad in brightly colored dresses, trundled their carts to San Antonio’s Military Plaza, ladling out their vendibles from cast iron pots heated over wood or charcoal fires in the evening.
Chili became so popular in Texas (and later elsewhere) that chili parlors and chili cook-offs sprang up everywhere. Legend has it that outlaw and desperado Jesse James refused to rob a bank in McKinney, Texas because that is where his favorite chili parlor was located. Beginning in 1967, as a joke with a chili-cooking duel between humorist H. Allen Smith and journalist Wick Fowler, chili cook-offs are now popular all over the country, with state-wide and International contests. The Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) cook-off is held in Terlingua, TX and the ICS (International Chili Society) Cook-off was normally held in CA. Even US Presidents have gotten into the fray over chili
“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.”
Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States
Try this recipe and you, too, can enter a chili cook-off with possibly the winning bowl of red.
This recipe is for our youngest son, Daniel, FS2 soon to be FS3 in the US Coast Guard, Northeast Sector, Portland, Me. When Daniel was growing up, we had annual Super Bowl parties and served Chili, nachos, chips and beer. As I got older and my diet began to change, I didn’t fix this recipe as often even though Daniel would bother me about it periodically. Of late, with the Blog, he has been bothering me to post this recipe so he has it. You see, Daniel (being a proud, native Texan) loves this chili, especially when I use venison for the ground meat. Venison adds such a beautiful dimension and character to the flavor of chili but I don’t hunt so it’s not often I have it available to me. This is a wonderful chili recipe, perfect for parties because it serves 24. Prep time is roughly 1 hour and it takes 4 hours to cook, so start early. Because yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday, in honor of Daniel, we fixed Super Bowl Chili. If he’s nice, we will freeze a quart or two and ship it to him for one of those blistering cold Maine nights.
- 2 Lbs. pork loin, cut into 1/2 inch cube
- 2 lbs. beef chuck cut into 1/2 inch cube
- 5-1/2 lbs top butt roast, ground coarse grind (substitute venison if you prefer)
- 1 lb beef fat, rendered reserving fat for browning the meat and veggies
- 4 large white onions, diced into small dice
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 pickled chipotle chiles, minced
- 1 Tbsp brick red mole
- 2 tsp corriander
- 2 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 2 Tbsp Hot Smoked Paprika
- 11 Tbsp chili powder (Store bought Chili powder contains garlic, oregano, cumin, msg, etc., so I make my own blend of chili powder consisting of primarily of Ancho Chiles, Guajillo Chiles, New Mexico Red Chiles and Chipotle Chiles for an added smokiness and a little heat.)
- 1/4 cup ground cumin
- 1 qt strong beef stock (preferably homemade but if not reduce two containers of store bought low sodium beef stock by 50%)
- 3 cans of beer
- 8 oz can tomato sauce (optional)
- 2 Tbsp masa herina plus 1/4 cup warm water to mix
In a large sauce pan, combine oregano, paprika, chili powder, cumin, beef stock, 1 can of beer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer.
In a large stock pot (at least 3 gallons), render the fat. When rendered, you should have 1 cup of rendered fat. Pour off fat, leaving 2 Tbsp in pan. Begin browning meat in batches adding a little more reserved fat with each batch.
When the meat is browned, add the onions and garlic to the pot and sweat for 4 – 5 minutes until translucent.
Once the onions are translucent, add the browned meat, spice mixture, and minced pickled chipotles.
Add remaining 2 beers. If needed, add enough water to cover the meat with roughly 1 inch excess.
Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours uncovered, stirring frequently lest the meat burns.
After 2 hours, add red brick mole, tomato sauce (optional), and coriander.
Allow to simmer for 45 minutes longer. Dissolve masa in warm water to make a thick slurry and add to the chili stirring so as not to lump. Season with salt to taste and simmer for another 30 minutes to thicken.
Serve and enjoy!
NOTES: red brick mole may be found at Mexican Markets. If you can’t find it, skip it and use 1 tsp sugar. Red brick mole has the holy trinity of mole, Ancho, Mulato and Pasilla Negro Chiles, plus a little sugar (piloncillo) and coco. It adds a nice depth of flavor to the chili.