A Texas chili recipe may not fit with your idea of BBQ, but I got so many requests to include it, I thought what the heck.
You know that I want to make this website the best, so you keep telling me what you want. As a matter of fact, you may even want to be a contributing author. Contact me and let me know.
You know how it is on a cold winter's day. It's always nice to have a bowl of soup, or stew, or better yet... Texas chili. A recipe that's good anytime, but it just seems better in cold weather.
You can always buy chili in a can, but where's the fun in that? Besides, it will never taste as good as when you make it yourself. So... here we go.
On the subject of chili, there is a big controversy about what it is (similar to BBQ). Usually it comes down to an argument as to whether chili includes beans or not. A Texas chili recipe has no beans in it.
It's not that big of a deal to me, though. If you want to call it something else when it has beans in it, go ahead. I'm just going to refer to it as chili. It's good with or without beans.
Chili, like most anything else, has a lot of room for customization. To get us started, here is a list of some common chili ingredients.oil
This is definitely not a complete list. I have also seen recipes that contain things like coffee and chocolate. If you will notice, I left off beans. Remember, one of the main things that make it a Texas chili recipe is that there are no beans. Here is a simple recipes for chili that I have used quite often.
2 pounds of ground beef
1 packet of chili seasoning (multiple brands)
16 ounces of tomato sauce
2 - 16 ounce cans of pork n beans (I like beans in mine)
I guess it's not really a Texas chili recipe since I used beans in it. But this Kansas chili is still pretty good. When I don't have a season packet, or just want to spice it up myself, I will use something like this.
2 Tbl olive oil
2 pounds ground beef
1 chopped onion
3 minced garlic
1 Tbl oregano
1 Tbl paprika
1 Tbl brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbl chili powder (or more, if you want)
2 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
16 ounce can tomato sauce
2 16 ounce cans beans (your choice)
By just leaving out the beans, you got a pretty darn good Texas chili recipe. This is really a starting point recipe, though. Different tastes will indicate less of one ingredient or more of another.
For the best flavors, use fresh ingredients. As long as you don't go overboard with any one ingredient, it should turn out great. Although, I do think the way it is prepared has a lot to do with how well it turns out, too.
Whether using a seasoning packet or making it all from scratch, consider the following. If possible, use a cast iron pot. I may be wrong, but I have always thought that cast iron makes food taste better. Try it and see what you think.
Another thing that I believe improves the flavor is to cook the seasonings into the meat. That is done in most recipes to a certain extent, anyway. They usually have you sauté onion and garlic in oil before adding the meat. But I take it one step further.
Instead of adding liquid ingredients and then the dry seasonings, add the liquid last. Add dry ingredients to the meat first. Stir it in and allow it to brown onto the meat. Also, add any small amounts of liquid, such as Worcestershire sauce. Let it cook into the meat before adding water, broth, tomato sauce, etc.
By doing this you flavor the meat directly. Large amounts of liquid will keep you from seasoning the meat. Once the liquid is added, you are done flavoring the meat. You can only season the liquid. So spice up the meat while you have the chance (before the liquid is added).
Of course this may mean that you have to add additional seasoning to help flavor the liquid. But that is OK. Adding seasonings throughout the cooking process is good. It layers the flavors and makes for a better meal. This one technique alone will greatly improve your Texas chili recipe (or any recipe).
After you have tasted along the way, and have created the perfect Texas chili recipe, it's now time to serve and eat it. I like to eat mine with saltine crackers. A few raw onions are good on the side, too. Other common additions include corn chips, sour cream, cheese or bacon bits.
This is something that is fun and easy to experiment with. I know that some people like to add a little ketchup. I have even seen someone add milk before (not me... ). Try things that you think might be good. Do only a little at a time, though. Adding too much of something can ruin it.
Adding things at the last minute like this can really compliment the flavor. A bit of raw onion or cheddar cheese will give you a result and taste that you could not possibly get if it were added earlier. That's how I found out about using pickle juice.
I know it may not sound good, but I have been eating chili that way for decades. I prefer sweet pickles to dill, so that's what I use. Sometimes I use just juice, other times I will use relish. I only add about a spoonful of juice to a bowl of chili. You only need enough to barely detect it. It's easy to get too much, though.
I know you won't believe me... so you will just have to try it for yourself. If it sounds too weird, don't even tell anybody about giving it a try. Besides, if you don't like it, what have you lost but a small amount of chili? Just don't add too much and then blame me for it.
If you do end up and like it, though, you won't be telling your friends how crazy I am, you will be trying to convince them that you are not crazy.