Traditional recipes

Texas Style Chili

Texas Style Chili

Serve this classic chili dish at your next party. It has an extra layer of flavor with that mustard and barbecue sauce.

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  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 Pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon chili powder
  • One 16-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Two 16-ounce cans chili beans
  • 1/2 Cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon brown mustard
  • 1/2 Cup sweet or honey barbecue sauce

Nutritional Facts


Calories Per Serving552

Folate equivalent (total)109µg27%

Riboflavin (B2)0.3mg15.6%

Texas Roadhouse Chili Recipe

Bring the taste of Texas Roadhouse Chili into your very own kitchen with this copycat recipe. Fix yourself a warm bowl of comfort and curl up for the evening.

This spicy and smokey goodness can be enjoyed by the whole family in less than an hour.

Texas Style Chili

I think the major differences in Texas style chili over what most of us know as chili, is that it is most often made from chopped beef off of a whole roast, like a braising roast, or even venison, rather than ground beef, or heaven forbid, chicken. There are more chilies, whether they are reconstituted dried, powdered or chopped fresh, and it's heavier in cumin and chili powder for heat and never, ever beans cooked in.

Having some pretty solid Texas roots in my bloodline, and more than a few people I love living there, I did a goodly amount of research before deciding to write a recipe for a chili that is in any way remotely tied to Texas. Texan chili purists, while I do welcome your comments on a proper Texas chili, please note before you critique that I don't call this "authentic" Texas chili, but only "Texas style." No rants please.

  • No two Texans will agree on what is authentic.
  • A beef roast or venison meat base is most typical - though sometimes freshly ground beef of some kind is also used.
  • Seasonings often include onion, though some will argue the onion should be served raw as a garnish and not cooked in, garlic, a variety of chopped chilies along with some ground cumin, salt and pepper - the key ingredient being chilies or chili powder, and they use plenty of it.
  • No beans. Period. Although it is acceptable to offer them as a garnish at the table.
  • Some tomato is often used to give the chili body, but not enough that it's spaghetti sauce, so don't overdo it. If you use it, don't use much.
  • It is usually finished with corn masa or cornmeal, which adds just a hint of sweetness and thickening power to help tighten the chili. Regular all purpose flour or even cornstarch may be substituted, though you will, of course, lose the corn flavor.

Cut roast into 1/2-inch sized cubes and use paper towels to pat the meat very dry. I used a chuck. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the bacon fat or oil over medium high heat and add the beef, in batches, to brown. Don't crowd the pot - you don't want to steam the meat. Remove and set aside.

Look at that beautiful fond y'all! Add the onion and peppers to the pot, saute for 4 minutes.

Add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in all of the seasonings.

Now. if you're not familiar with Texas style chili, this is where it can get tricky. Texas style chili is big and bold. A full tablespoon of cumin, somewhere between 2 to 6 tablespoons of chili powder, 2 teaspoons of oregano and 2 teaspoons salt are the seasonings called for here - way, way more than many of us are accustomed to. In contrast, my chili recipes you'll see here will have significantly less of these seasonings, so keep that in mind and start on the low end the first time you season this.

Add a 14.5 ounce can of diced or stewed tomatoes, one can of mild, original or hot Rotel tomatoes, both undrained, a tablespoon of tomato paste, 4 cups of beef stock or broth (I used water and 1 heaping tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon beef base), and, optional, but I like using it, 2 teaspoons of Kitchen Bouquet.

You may substitute a good Mexican beer for part of the beef stock if you like. Stir well, bring up to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 3 hours, or until the beef is tender.

When there is about 15 minutes left, whisk together the masa harina and water until smooth.

Stir into the chili and cook another 15 minutes, or until nicely thickened.

Serve with optional garnishes such as pinto beans, steamed rice, green onion, shredded cheddar, sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges, tortilla or corn chips and cornbread.

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Recipe: Texas Style Chili

  • 3 pounds of chuck roast , round, tri-tip, sirloin or venison cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of bacon fat or cooking oil
  • 1-1/2 cups of chopped sweet or yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped green or red bell pepper , or a combination
  • 4 to 6 hot peppers (see notes), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 2 to 6 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced or stewed tomatoes (cut up) , undrained
  • 1 (10 ounce) can of mild, original or hot Rotel tomatoes , undrained
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 4 cups of beef stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons of Kitchen Bouquet , optional
  • 1 tablespoon of masa harina (corn flour) or cornmeal, optional
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • Optional Garnishes: Pinto beans , steamed rice , raw onion , green onion , shredded cheddar , sour cream , cilantro , lime wedges and/or tortilla or corn chips

Cut roast into 1/2-inch sized cubes and use paper towels to pat the meat very dry. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the bacon fat or oil over medium high heat and add the beef, in batches, to brown remove and set aside. Add the onion and peppers, saute for 4 minutes add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in all of the seasonings.

Return meat to the pot and add all of the remaining ingredients, except the masa harina and water. Stir well, bring up to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 3 hours, or until the beef is tender. When there is about 15 minutes left, whisk together the masa harina and water until smooth. Stir into the chili and cook another 15 minutes, or until thickened. Serve with garnishes and cornbread.

Cook's Notes: This is a small batch chili for about 4 to 6 servings - double or triple for bigger batches. May substitute Dos Equis or other Mexican beer for some of the broth. If you are not used to the heavy spice and bold richness of a Texas style chili, start on the lighter side with the seasonings and adjust to taste the next time you make it. If using stewed tomatoes, use kitchen shears to cut the tomatoes up right in the can. Also okay to use crushed tomatoes, or substitute regular diced tomatoes for the Rotel. No beans in a Texas style chili, though it would certainly be both appropriate and hospitable to offer a bowl of pinto beans at the table for those who wish to add them.

Hot Peppers: Wear gloves when handling peppers. Depending on your access, use a mixture of any combination of fresh or dried peppers, depending on your spice tolerance. Texas style chili often uses poblano, serrano, Anaheim, red or green New Mexico chilies, jalapeno peppers, or a mixture of several, according to your personal preference on heat level. To reconstitute dried chiles, remove the stem and seeds and discard. Cut the peppers into strips, place into a bowl, and pour hot water that has been brought to a near boil over the top. Let them stand in the water for 10 minutes or until softened, then drain and chop. For chiles with tougher skins like New Mexico, place into bowl whole, pouring hot water on top and soak drain, remove skin, slice, remove seeds and chop.

For the Crockpot: Brown meat in batches and add to slow cooker. Saute vegetables and add to slow cooker along with all the remaining ingredients, except for the masa and water. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until meat is tender. Whisk together the masa harina and water until smooth. Stir into the chili, cover and cook on high another 30 minutes, or until thickened.

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Old-Fashioned Texas Chili

1 tablespoon bacon drippings

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

3 pounds coarsely ground chuck

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

4 tablespoons chile powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

Heat bacon drippings in a heavy-bottomed stockpot and sauté onions, peppers, celery and garlic until vegetables soften. Add chuck and stir until it browns. Add beer, tomato sauce, chile powder, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, mustard and beef stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, about 2 hours. Check periodically to see if more liquid is needed. If so, add water. Add salt and pepper and adjust seasoning. Just before serving, remove bay leaf.

PER SERVING: Calories 440 (31% fat), Fat 15 g (6 g sat), Cholesterol 146 mg, Sodium 765 mg, Fiber 4 g, Carbohydrates 17 g, Protein 57 g

SOURCE: Stirring It Up With Molly Ivins (University of Texas Press, $29.95). Recipe first published in The Dallas Morning News in September 2011.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ⅓ cup bottled steak sauce
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package chili seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot over medium-low heat, combine tomatoes, tomato paste, carrot, onion, celery, wine, pepper flakes, bell peppers and steak sauce.

While tomato mixture is simmering, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels. Cook beef in bacon drippings until brown drain. Stir chili seasoning into ground beef.

Stir seasoned beef, cumin and bacon into tomato mixture. Continue to simmer until vegetables are tender and flavors are well blended.

Barney’s Beanery Texas-Style Chili

The century-old iconic L.A. diner is famous for its chili, and the bean-less Texas-Style Chili is the best of the bunch.

If Barney’s Beanery never existed, where would Janis Joplin have taken her last drink? Where would Quentin Tarantino have written his most celebrated film, Pulp Fiction? Where would Peter Falk’s character have eaten chili, his favorite meal, in the 1970s TV show Columbo?

The nearly 100-year-old famous Los Angeles chili chain became a Hollywood hotspot almost instantly after it opened its doors in 1920. Through the 20s, 30s and 40s Clara Bow, John Barrymore, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, and Clark Gable were all regulars. In the 50s, 60s, and 70s, Lou Costello, Donald O’Connor, Dennis Hopper, and the Doors could often be seen sitting at the bar. On some nights, Jim Morrison would be standing on top of it. In the 80s, the Brat Pack–Emilio Esteves, Rob Lowe, Charlie Sheen, John Cusack, and Demi Moore–threw parties there and huddled around the pinball machine.

Over many decades musicians, artists, actors, and performers helped establish the small chili joint as a big part of Hollywood history. With license plates and hubcaps adorning the walls, pool tables and pinball machines scattered throughout, and a motorcycle built into a booth, Barney’s Beanery was never considered an upscale joint. And that is its charm. Celebrity elites didn’t go there to be treated like celebrities. They came for the casual hang, to blend in with not-so-famous regulars. And, of course, they came for the great chili.

Chili is what Barney’s is most known for, and they have several to choose from on the menu, including the original classic chili from 1920 and delicious turkey chili. But for true chili fanatics, you just can’t beat the bean-less Texas-Style Chili which is a nearly perfect chili con carne. If you’re a fan of traditional Southern Texas chili, characterized by its lack of beans and tomato sauce, this is the hack for you. The chunks of chuck are fall-apart tender, and the flavor is something special, created by a variety of chilies, fresh and dry.

After studying dozens of classic chili con carne recipes and the recipes from winners of chili cook-offs from all over the country, I had my own cook-off. Over several weeks I cooked chili in many different ways to determine which ingredients are most likely used in the original. I can’t say exactly when Barney’s Texas-Style chili recipe was first created, but a few branded ingredients that have been available for more than 100 years worked very well in this hack.

Before I talk about those secret ingredients, let’s talk chilies.

We’ll use three types of whole chile peppers, each one contributing a different flavor profile to the pot. The fresh Anaheim peppers added later will provide a mild, sweet flavor and a slight pepperiness.

Right now we’ll work on these dried chilies.

You’ll need dried guajillo and ancho peppers. An ounce of each will do. Guajillo peppers are one of my favorites for chili because they add a slightly smoky, sweet heat that’s great in the pot. Ancho peppers are also good here because of their medium heat, and a fruitiness that might make you think of raisins or sun-dried tomatoes.

These are all good flavors that work well together, but we need to turn these crusty, shriveled peppers into something we can use.

The most flavorful part of the chile pepper is the flesh, so it’s time to evict the seeds.

Use scissors to cut the stem end off of each chile. Cut up one side of the chile, then open it up and get all of the seeds out of there. Buh-bye seeds.

Place the seeded peppers on a baking sheet and get them into a 350-degree oven for about 3 minutes.

This roasting will help wake up the peppers and activate great flavors, but it happens fast so don’t go too far away.

When you begin to smell the peppers in your kitchen, they’re done.

Now we’ll soften the chilies with a dose of boiling water.

Let them soak for a good 30 minutes. You can let them sit longer if you want. Dried chilies love a hot bath and are not at all anxious for it to end.

Next, we need to transform the chilies into chile puree. A food processor or blender will do the job.

Add the chilies and about half of the soaking water into your liquefying device of choice. Process the chilies on high speed until they are mostly pureed, then add the remaining water. Continue pureeing the chilies for a minute or more, until they are completely smooth.

Set this important secret ingredient aside for now, and let’s talk about some other important secret ingredients.

Each one of these historic ingredients is older than Barney’s Beanery, and was available to be used in all of Barney’s original secret chili recipes when they were first created as far back as 100 years ago.

William Gebhardt created his chili powder blend in 1894 to use in chili served at his saloon in New Braunfels, Texas. It was the first commercial chili powder sold in the U.S. and was the biggest seller for decades, so there is a very good chance it was used in Barney’s original chili recipes and is still being used today.

Mexene chili powder was created in Southern Texas in 1904, and is considered an important ingredient–perhaps essential ingredient–in authentic Texas chilis. Because it was bottled and sold prior to Barney’s inception, there is also a good chance that this chili powder is used in Barney’s chili recipes. And especially the Texas-style chili.

The Los Angeles-based El Pato company began producing the spicy tomato sauce in 1905 and was the first company to make canned salsas. Traditional Texas-style chili doesn’t usually have tomato sauce in it, but a little bit of this “salsa” (there are hot chilies in it) adds a lot to the pot. I also found that many chili cook-off winners use this sauce in their recipes. Because this sauce is made in Los Angeles and has been around for over 100 years, there is a good chance Barney’s used it in chili recipes. So we’ll use it here.

Obviously, you can’t have chili con carne without the carne.

Get a 3-pound chuck roast and slice it into 3/4-inch cubes. They don’t have to all be exactly 3/4-inch, of course. Just get ’em in the ballpark.

And don’t get rid of all the fat. Leave some nice chunks of fat on the meat so that it can melt down and enrich the chili.

Brown the beef in a pre-heated pot over high heat. A cast-iron Dutch oven like this one works great.

Only add one-quarter of the beef at a time so that the beef browns quickly and evenly.

Remove each batch when it’s done before adding more.

When all the beef is browned you will have a nice reward at the bottom of your pot.

The caramelized beef drippings cooked onto the bottom there is called fond, and this fabulous gook will make everything you now put into this pot taste better.

Just look at what it does to the next three ingredients…

When it gets hot, add the chopped Anaheim chilies, onion, and garlic.

The peppers, onions, and garlic have picked up the flavor from the bottom of the pot and are a beautiful caramel color.

Just cook them for a few minutes or until the onions begin to get translucent edges.

When that happens you can add the beef back to the pot, along with the chili powders, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and cumin.

Prepare for your final additions by combining the beef bouillon with a cup of very hot water. Let it sit for a bit, then stir until it dissolves.

Also, add the corn masa to a couple of cups of room temperature water.

Got a whisk? This is a good place to use it.

Now for the grand finale. Add everything that’s leftover, including the beef bouillon and corn masa solutions, to the pot.

Add chicken broth, beer, tomato sauce, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, oregano, and pureed chilies. Get in there everybody.

Bring the chili to a simmer, and keep it there for about 3 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Your house will begin to smell great and it will be absolute torture not to plunge a spoon into the pot, but the chili needs some alone time now. Check it on it periodically, give it a little stir, along with some quiet support.

After three hours, you can indulge. Serve up a bowl of chili, topped with Cheddar cheese, chopped onion, and tortilla chips on the side.

Choices of Beef

Chuck roast is always a popular option for Texas chili because it is a tougher meat that benefits greatly from the low and slow cooking process. I prefer beef chuck. All of that tough connective tissue breaks down and it becomes wonderfully tender and flavorful.

You can use any stew meat for this particular recipe.

I&rsquove enjoyed some Texas chilis with ground beef, and found them delicious, but it just isn&rsquot the same in terms of taste and consistency. But if you&rsquore in a bind, I say go for it. Better to have chili than NO chili.

It is still quite delicious.

Texas-style Smoked Chili (adapted from Johnny Trigg’s recipe)

Chili is good all year round but it’s especially comforting during the chilly winter months. Pair it with some crusty bread or SYD cornbread, it makes a complete meal. You can amp the heat up or down, and the spices up or down depending on your mood. I like chili that’s plain and simple. I don’t add beans, chopped onions as a garnish, shredded cheese, nor sour cream. Of all the chili recipes I’ve tried, one of the best that I like is the one that Johnny Trigg made during Season One of TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters. Johnny cooked a big pot of chili with about 20 lbs of ground chuck and it was served during the dinner scene in the Season Finale episode eight.

TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters – Cast from Season One 2010
We actually ate dinner in the scene where Johnny challenged all the pitmasters to a winner-take-all rib throwdown. Paul Peterson who was also on the show was a trained chef and he made some awesome enchiladas with Pico de Gallo but it was Johnny’s chili that was memorable for me. His chili is mild and very enjoyable and you can eat a lot of it without getting heartburn. When I told Trish, Johnny’s wife (all of us called her Mom on the show) that I liked Johnny’s chili, she was so kind to send me a handwritten recipe for Johnny’s Texas style chili with no beans. I’ve since adapted Johnny’s recipe to suit my tastes and cooking style. For example, I like to smoke my chili in a cast iron pot on the pit to give it a smoky flair and I make it much spicier. I also use the spice dunk approach (see recipe) that is common among competition chili cooks to get maximum flavor before eating. I also add a piece of old cheese to enhance the flavor and give it a smooth luxurious texture. It’s thick and can be eaten with a fork and goes well on top of a hotdog! I like to make it the day before to let it rest in the fridge for at least a day before I reheat and serve it.
  • 5 lbs ground chuck or ground beef with 25% fat
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 2 heaping tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 six-oz cans tomato paste
  • 4 oz of old cheese (I used an old block of Parmigiano-Reggiano I had in the fridge. A block of sharp cheddar or cheddar also works well)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes Knorr brand
  • ½ tsp cayenne powder (more or less to your taste) to taste
  • Chili spice dunk (use more or less to your taste)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 2 heaping tablespoons paprika
  • 2 heaping tablespoons ground cumin
  1. Saute ground beef in large saucepan in canola oil until beef is cooked. Season with SYD Hot Rub to taste. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked beef into your cast iron pot. If you don’t have a cast iron pot, you can use a disposable foil pan for easier cleanup. Or use a pot if you’re cooking the chili on your stove.
  2. Drain off excess fat leaving behind about 4 tablespoons of fat. Add onions and sauté until onions are translucent. Add chopped garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onion and garlic mixture to the pot or pan where you have your cooked ground beef.
  3. Whisk in two tablespoons of flour in the remaining fat in the saucepan. Cook the flour in the oil under medium-low heat to make a roux. Add more oil as needed to get the right consistency for the roux. It should feel like uncooked pancake batter. Cook the roux until it is light brown.
  4. Once roux is light brown, turn up the heat and add water a half cup at a time to whisk the roux into gravy. Once you reach the gravy consistency, stop adding more water.
  5. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, block of old cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, crumbled beef bouillon cubes, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Pour the entire mixture into the pot/pan you have your cooked ground beef. If you’re not going to smoke the chili on the pit, you can use a pot or Crockpot to simmer the chili for several hours.
  6. Add half of the spice dunk mixture and mix thoroughly. Put the pot/pan into your pit at 250-300 degrees and smoke the chili uncovered for several hours. Every hour, give it a stir and add more water (or beer) as needed.
  7. Add the remaining half of the spice dunk mixture about 15 minutes before you’re going to eat it. The extra time is needed to cook the spices. There is a fine line as to whether the spices taste “raw” or mellow and it’s a matter of individual preferences. Some people like the taste of the raw spices and some don’t. For chili competitors, this is a topic of endless debate. For me, 15 minutes is just right. I also prefer to cook my chili and then refrigerate it so I can eat it the next day as it tastes better.
  8. Before you serve your chili, don’t forget to taste it before serving as the spices have mellowed out. Don’t hesitate to add more spice dunk, cayenne, salt, pepper, and brown sugar to your liking. I like to eat my chili with some freshly made SYD cornbread. Enjoy!

Step 1

Heat the ancho and New Mexico chile peppers in a 4-quart saucepan over high heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove the chile peppers to a work surface and remove and discard the stems and seeds.  Place the ancho and New Mexico chiles into a blender.  Add the chipotle chile pepper and half the stock.  Cover and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Step 2

Season the beef as desired.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the beef in 2 batches and cook until well browned, stirring occasionally.  Pour off any fat.  Remove the beef from the saucepan, cover and keep warm.  

Step 3

Heat the remaining oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the garlic, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, allspice, tomato paste, blended chile mixture and the remaining stock.

Step 4

Return the beef to the saucepan and heat over medium-high heat to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Partially cover the saucepan and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is fork-tender, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste.

Cook Off Winning Texas-Style Chili

Best. Chili. Ever. This is an exception to my less than 10-ingredient rule (it’s got 12 core ingredients). But a winner’s a winner and I think every ingredient is truly necessary, each serving its purpose and the recipe simply wouldn’t be as special without each and every one. NOTE: If preferred, you can prepare the chili on the stovetop, as directed, and then transfer the contents to a slow-cooker. Just cook on low for about 6 to 8 hours, or until the beef is fall-apart tender and you’re good to go.