Super Bowl Chili, Texas-Style

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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 harina 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.

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When the meat is browned, add the onions and garlic to the pot and sweat for 4 – 5 minutes until translucent.

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Once the onions are translucent, add the browned meat, spice mixture, and minced pickled chipotles.

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Add remaining 2 beers.  If needed, add enough water to cover the meat with roughly 1 inch excess.

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Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours uncovered, stirring frequently lest the meat burns.

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After 2 hours, add red brick mole, tomato sauce (optional), and coriander.

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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.

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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.

12 thoughts on “Super Bowl Chili, Texas-Style”

  1. Hi Richard. I came looking for your chili recipe after reading Mimi’s. Yours looks more complicated with some ingredients I’m not familiar with. The idea of using venison appeals. The idea of not using beans appeals even more. I’ve never made chili yet, so I think I’ll start with a simplified version.
    Is that cheese on top of the plated (bowled) chili?

    1. Hi, Stefan. This is a fabulous chili and sounds more complicated than it is. The only unusual ingredient is the red brick mole which I find in El Paso. It’s not necessary to the dish and can be omitted but it adds a little extra depth of flavor. If you omit the red brick mole add 1 tsp sugar or piloncillo.
      The recipe is a modified version of one of the winning International Chili Society Cook-off recipes from back in the 1970s. I played with it for years until I came up with this final version years ago. Daniel has now modified it and serves it to the US Coast Guard in Portland, Me., as well as for friends on cold Maine days.
      And yes, that is a sharp cheddar cheese atop the bowl of red. Some people put cheese and onions and maybe a little cilantro. I generally opt for cheese and onions but with this chili, a nice sharp cheese is a perfect topping with nothing else.

      1. For me “masa harina” is also an ususual ingredient… I googled it and understand what it is, but I don’t think I can buy that around here and the production process seems a bit too involved to make my own 😉 Can I substitute with corn flour or something like that?

        1. The places that say they carry it describe it as “Finely ground maize flour for making soft corn tortillas.” That doesn’t sound like what wikipedia says it is.
          If it adds just a touch of flavor and is a thickening agent, corn starch should do 😉

        2. If it used for making soft corn tortillas, it probably is masa. Masa is a very finely ground corn flour but the corn has been treated with calcium hydroxide (lime). Masa is what is used for soft corn tortillas. In fact, a corn tortilla is a mix of Masa and water with perhaps a touch of salt. That’s it. As for substituting corn starch, it’s not the same. Corn starch is flavorless and lacking in any nutrition. Also, it’s thickening properties are totally different. I would omit the masa in the recipe and simply cook it down a little further.

        3. Thanks, Richard. I think I will just omit it then. Now I’m first going to pickle some chipotles and age them for 10 days before I can make your chili…

Food for thoughts

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