Ultimate Texas Chili, By Pinback
March 31st, 2014 by Pinback

It is time to talk about chili. Specifically, it is time to talk about True Texas Chili, and the greatest recipe you will ever find on this site.

This has been verified by one Laurence "Radio" Trask, who recreated this in his own home and immediately proclaimed it the greatest chili that not only is, but ever could be.

Please delete all of my other chili recipes off of this site. They are disowned.

"What makes a chili a TRUE Texas Chili?"

Man has been asking that question since before Texas was a state. But the answer is clear: Chunks of cheap beef simmered in a mixture of chile and spice, with NO (zero) tomatoes and NO (zero) beans. Beef and chile and spice. That’s it.

And it turns out, that’s all you need. No lie? The result of this recipe is one of the great meals of your life. Certainly mine.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I cheated. I looked up recipes for this. And I found one, right here.

If this BBS is ever shut down or you lose this post, keep that URL, as it’s basically the right answer. I’ve made slight modifications, which are all good, but none of which I’m guessing are crucial.

However, this version is best.

I will recreate the recipe I followed to the letter, which calls for less beef than the linked recipe, because that’s all I had.


Here we go.



A large bowl.

A blender or food processor.

A pot to cook the chili in.



3-4 oz dried chile (I used guajillo/ancho. Substitute New Mexican, or whatever you can find in your local. We don’t want powder here, we want the whole, dried chiles. This is key.)

1.5 lbs chuck or whatever the cheapest available cut is, 1-1.5" cube.

6 slices bacon

1/3 cup onion, chopped fine

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups (plus additional if needed) beef stock/broth

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp cayenne powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp each: clove, allspice, cinnamon (*)

2 tsbp masa harina or flour or cornmeal, as available

1 cup stout (or your favorite) beer

1 cup (plus additional) chile water (see below)

1-2 tbsp packed brown sugar

1-2 tbsp red wine (or other) vinegar


1. Over medium heat, toast the dried chiles for a few minutes each side in a dry chili pot. Idea here is to open up/bloom the flavors of the chiles without burning them.

2. Put the chiles in a bowl, cover them with boiling water, put something on ’em to make sure they’re all submerged in the hot water, and let it soak for 30-40 minutes. DO NOT throw out the soaking water. This will become the "chile water" we spoke of above.

3. Fry the bacon in the pot, just to render the grease. Remove the cooked bacon and eat it or save it or whatever you want. It’s done its job.

4. Take the chiles from the soaking water, de-stem and de-seed them (though if you find you’re getting rid of flesh with the seeds, nobody’s going to arrest you for keeping a few seeds in there.) Place in blender with food processor, all spices (cumin, salt, pepper, etc.) Add enough chile water so that you can blend the whole thing into a paste, with no big pieces left.

5. Over medium-high, brown the cubed beef in batches in the bacon grease. BROWN THAT SHIT, don’t just throw it all in there and let it steam until it’s gray. BROWN IT, then put it aside on a big plate or something.

6. Reduce heat to medium, throw in onion and garlic, saute and deglaze the pot for 3 minutes or so.

7. To pot, add beef broth, beer, chile water. Whisk in masa harina or other thickening agent to prevent lumps.

8. Add in chile/spice paste from blender. Add in reserved beef plus juices in the plate.

9. Bring to boil, then simmer slowly (uncovered, good Christ, please) until beef is tender, like 2-3 hours. Add more beef broth if mixture gets too thick. We’re looking for a sturdy, but not chunky or dry, sauce. Coats the back of a spoon but doesn’t stick to it, know what I mean?

10. Add sugar, vinegar, and any additional salt to taste. Oh my dear Lord, please do not skip this step.

11. Simmer another 15 minutes or so. Let sit, covered for 20-30 minutes to let all the flavors blend up.

Now your chili is done. Suggested toppings are sour cream, a slice of lime, maybe a diced jalapeno but little else. This is so good that everything else gets in the way. You’ll see what I mean.

This is an award winner.

This is a life-changer.

(*) Ben’s Secret Spice Mix — optional.

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