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How To Make Chili (Texas-Style!)

I want to share my dad’s Texas chili recipe with you, and first tell you this story about him.

My dad was an offshore oil rig worker for the first part of my life.

He worked in the Gulf and would be gone for weeks at a time. We’d drive down to the coast to pick him up: my mom and little brother and me. It’s funny – I don’t remember missing him while he was gone, but I do remember being so excited when he was back.

Every time when we got down there, he would have a bag of M&Ms in the pocket of his green windbreaker with the oil rig patch on the arm. That was before M&Ms started using space age plastic-paper to make their packaging; they were just made of good old paper-paper. My dad would tear the package in half and then Travis and I would each have a little paper cup of candy! Just like magic! I was always amazed that no M&Ms were ever spilt. Well, never spilled during the division; I’m sure we spilled plenty in the back seat of the car.

Texas Style Chili

Once he was home, it was really fun. There was fort building and swing-pushing and there was lots of chili on the table. I think I’ve mentioned before that chili (and its delicious brother: chili-mac) was my dad’s specialty, next toΒ chicken-fried steak. I remember him telling me how to make it when I was pretty little. We would pick chile petins from the yard. Sometimes, he’d use venison. I heard all about how Texans don’t put beans in chili. He measured all the spices in “palmfuls”. I thought that was just incredible. I still do think his chili is incredible.

How to Make Chili Texas Style – scroll down for recipe

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Texas-Style Chili Recipe

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5 from 31 reviews

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 -2 hours
  • Total Time: 16 minute
  • Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (or 1 pound stew meat chunks)
  • 28 ounce can whole tomatoes or 1Β½ pounds (4 cups chopped) fresh tomatoes
  • 16 ounce can tomato sauce or 2 more cups fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1 big old onion (softball-sized)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (2 tablespoons)
  • 2-5 jalapenos, chopped (depending on your taste)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional (for thickening if desired): 1 corn tortilla, torn up
  • Optional: 15 ounce can kidney or pinto beans; for more heat, add a couple of chili petins (similar to bird-eye peppers)

Instructions

  1. Chop the onion into about 1 inch chunks, mince the garlic, and dice the jalapenos.
  2. Break the ground meat up into a large pot and brown over medium-high heat. If using stew meat, sear the chunks on all sides.
  3. Add everything else (except the beans if you decide to use them) and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour if using ground meat, 2 hours if using stew meat.
  4. Add the beans (drained and rinsed) if you want. Taste and add more salt if it needs it. If you’d like it thicker, stir in the corn tortilla pieces.
  5. Simmer another 30 minutes.

And While You’re At It…
Make a batch of cornbread to go with it, even another pot of vegan chili, too, and satisfy the meaters and non-meaters alike!

155 Comments

  1. Shelley on February 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I’m slowly learning to love Texas chili. I’m working on getting over the heavy meatiness of it and the loss of beans. I still haven’t made a batch on my own yet, though. Thanks for sharing your Dad’s recipe!

    • Hilah Cooking on February 8, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      Who needs beans when you have Fritos?! πŸ˜‰
      I hope you try this one, Shelley – it’s super duper easy.

      • James on December 12, 2016 at 6:37 am

        Sounds amazing!! Also liked the story about your Father. Seems like a good man . I’ll be trying your chilli recipe . Thanks 4 sharing I’m sure it will be delicious !!!

        • Hilah on December 12, 2016 at 7:29 am

          Thanks, James! Enjoy! πŸ™‚

    • ProJoe on January 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      Use a clip on mic. Way too much echo in your kitchen sweetheart.

      • Hilah on January 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm

        I do use a clip on mic, sweetheart.

        • Ray on August 15, 2013 at 11:21 am

          You sound just fine Hilah. I LOVE your shows better than ANYTHING on food network!

        • Larry Kimball on August 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm

          Excellent reply, Hilah!

        • Traci on July 7, 2014 at 6:31 pm

          I know that comment was from two years ago…..but I really wish you would have thrown in a ‘bless your heart’ at the end of that ‘sweetheart’ comment! haha!! πŸ˜‰

          PS….this is ON the stove-top NOW…as in…as WE SPEAK!!

          • Hilah on July 9, 2014 at 7:25 am

            Hahaha!
            Enjoy the chili and hopefully you had some left over. It gets better!



  2. Steve Singler on February 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Very touching story.

    • Hilah Cooking on February 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks, Steve. My dad is a pretty awesome guy.

  3. Dan Alcantara on February 8, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    So glad to see a chili recipe so happily devoid of beans! The only time I like beans in my chili is when that chili is vegan.

    • Hilah Cooking on February 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      I agree exactly, Dan! You gotta commit to one or the other!

  4. Libby on February 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    You posted this merely an hour ago but I’ve been thinking all day about what I would make a delightful dinner on such a snowy day. Thanks, Hilah. You always know what’s in my brain.

    Crap, what if you really do always know what’s in my brain?

    • Hilah Cooking on February 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm

      Crap, indeed, Libby. That would explain why I sometimes have weird ideas that are definitely not mine.

  5. thair on February 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Hilah, in fact, I was waiting to see what will be your episode about before I post my comments on your β€œCooking Class Report”. I hope I’ll have some time tonight (it is somehow lengthy!).

    For this episode, I may say, this is one of many soothing stories has ever accompanied your shows/recipes, if not the best so far. It is novel! What would be better than, especially when cooking, remembering those who are close to our heart?

    Food is all about love, sharing and memories!

    Cheers,
    Thair

    P.S. By the way, did you’ve a chance to make the avocado cupcakes? I’m interested in your feedback.

  6. Randy on February 8, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    My 6th generation Texan dad’s specialty was chili, too. Growing up in California, I never thought anything of his always putting beans in his (I suspect he did it because beans are cheaper than meat). So I was surprised when I arrived at UT and quickly found out that beans are a no-no in Texas chili. So I’ll be making two batches of your dad’s recipe tonight (one with , one without). Here’s hoping my local HEB has Negra Modelo, because you know what a stickler I am for following not only the Hilah recipe, but the Hilah method, as well.

    BTW (and ironically) I came across this article in my RSS feeds just before I got to yours. A vegan diet has more health issues than previously known: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/being-vegan-could-put-heart-health-at-risk-study/article1895285/

    • Hilah Cooking on February 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

      That’s weird, Randy — maybe we are related! My dad is also 6th generation Texan who moved to California for a while. Coincidence? Eh, probably. But what if it’s not! πŸ˜‰
      That’s an interesting article, but like it said, the blood levels aren’t necessarily a sign of an impending heart failure. I think human nutrition is such a complex matter that we will never know what the “perfect” diet is. That’s why it’s so annoying to me when people talk about how meat’s going to kill us or carbs are going to kill us or liquor’s going to kill us. Wouldn’t it be ironic if it turned out everything’s going to kill us?! Oh, wait.
      Thanks for the link, though. I do love articles and studies on nutrition. πŸ™‚

      • Randy on February 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm

        Yes, Hilah we are related! I’m your long lost uncle πŸ™‚ Seriously, though, it would be awesome to have a niece or daughter like you.

        Re: the article. I’m with you on the unknowability of what is a perfect diet. The most disturbing aspect of all those studies is that, in the minds of some, the seeming flip-flops that nutritionists have advanced is cause to distrust science altogether.

        • Hilah Cooking on February 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm

          Aww, Randy! You’re sweet.
          Gosh, I hope it doesn’t have too much of that effect. Science is cool! Hypotheses and conclusions!

  7. Great Stone Face on February 8, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I’m looking forward to making your Dad’s chili recipe. It seems pretty easy and straight-forward and looks delicious. Hurray for not putting beans in yours! I know Texas lays claim to inventing chili, but everybody seems to have their own take on it. Even though I’m from New Hampshire and have only passed through Kentucky, I have often made Eastern Kentucky Chili Buns from a recipe I found in an old issue of Esquire. You’ve inspired me to share the recipe on my blog.

    • Hilah Cooking on February 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      Dude, Stoney, them chili buns sounds goo-ood. I love the name, especially. Chili Buns.
      Thanks for sharing!
      P.S. Does your secret identity have to do with the Easter Island heads… or something else?

      • Great Stone Face on February 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm

        Yeah, i like the chili bun recipe, because it’s versatile. We eat it in the bun; or by the bowl with or without add-ones. I’ve taken it in the crockpot to parties. We also use it to top hot dogs or hamburgers, usually at tailgates. If I have kosher friends coming, I leave out the ground pork and add more beef.

        On your printed recipe, you mention stew beef as an alternative to ground beef. There’s a middle ground (unintentional pun), too. Ground beef is twice ground. See if you can get the butcher to single-grind the beef. For standard (not chili bun) chili, I like that texture best. In a recipe I saw once, they recommend a grind down to the size of .22 bullets.

        P.S. “Great Stone Face” refers to my birthplace of New Hampshire.

        • Hilah Cooking on February 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm

          Oh, yes, I should have mentioned that. We call it “chili grind” and it’s much coarser than regular ground meat.
          I was thinking the chili bun recipe seemed like a good hot dog chili!

  8. thefensk on February 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Looks good, a bit to much tomato for my taste, but that’s why I posted. I wanted to say this: chili is how you like to make it … there is no right or wrong to it as long as you like it.
    Now, even though I said a bit too much tomato for my taste, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t scrape the porcelain off the bowl if Hilah handed me a big thick steaming portion. Looks great!!!

    • Hilah Cooking on February 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm

      Well, Fensk, that is true for anything one makes I think! Errybody just eat what you like and don’t fuss and errybody be happy.
      Unless, of course, that means putting beans in the chili. Kidding, errybody. πŸ™‚

  9. Josh on February 9, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    I tried your vegan chili and LOVED it…so I may venture out and try this. Could I substitute the beef with ground turkey? Not a fan of birds. Therefore I eat them. Although growing up in the Midwest I realize speaking against beef is heresy. So apologies in advance.

    • Hilah Cooking on February 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      You can totally do that, Josh. I’d try to get it from the butcher counter and ask if you can get coarse grind, though. Sometimes ground turkey is, like, way pulverized.

  10. Tony on February 11, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    nom. nom. What happened to the party video? too drunken for public consumption? πŸ™‚

    • Hilah Cooking on February 12, 2011 at 5:33 pm

      Dammit, Tony! I was hoping y’all would forget. Umm, it kind of got…lost. In the fray. Of the drinking.

  11. Gothguy on February 26, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    It’s cooking on my stove right now in a dutch oven. Smells great!

    • Hilah Cooking on February 27, 2011 at 1:21 am

      Good call on the Dutch oven!

  12. corrin on February 27, 2011 at 2:03 am

    I clearly need to make this because my husband is an offshore paramedic and is currently stationed on an oil rig in the Gulf. And because it looks delicious.

    • Hilah Cooking on February 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      Yes, Corrin! Rigs are tough. Bless your husband and bless chili!

  13. Gothguy on February 27, 2011 at 2:26 am

    Hilah,

    Talk about awesomeness! I also made a honey cornbread to partake with the chili (not to mention some cold beers during preparation, cooking, and eating).

    Next up, your fritter recipe. Never made it before, but I figure I would use my cast iron Dutch Oven for frying with peanut oil, and add some smoked ham (or smoked bacon) to the fritter, since I am a pork, and pork fat fan. Kinda like a sweet and salty dealio.

    • Hilah Cooking on February 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      Dude, add some jalapenos, too! Sounds perfect.

  14. Katherine on March 11, 2011 at 4:24 am

    I’m going to make chili this weekend, I plan on using this recipe…might add a can of rotel.

    • Hilah Cooking on March 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      Yum, Katherine! Have fun eating delicious chili!

  15. Adam on March 18, 2011 at 2:31 am

    Great dress by the way

    • Hilah Cooking on March 18, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      Thanks, Adam!

  16. AdamM on March 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Hahahaha “I also got some beer”
    I can dig it like a shovel:]

    • Hilah Cooking on March 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm

      Chili ain’t nothin’ without icy cold beer!

  17. Emily on March 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Hi Hilah!

    I’m Emily, I’m fourteen years old and I live in London, UK. I just wanted to say that im TOTALLY OBSESSED with your cooking videos! They are just awesome. I’m going to make you’re Dad’s Chili later on today and I can’t wait! I LOVE your personality and how free-spirited you are! Btw, I also love how you took your childhood memories and made them into a delicious bowl of Chili!

    P.s Thank you a million times for sharing your memories about you and your Dad, they made my heart melt. :’)

    • Hilah Cooking on March 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      Hi Emily!
      It’s so great to hear from you! I’m happy that you enjoy the videos and are actually trying the recipes. It’s AWESOME that you are cooking at such a young age — you are a total bad-ass!
      And thank you for reading my words. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to share stories with people. Ah, Internet.
      Please keep in touch, my dear Emily.
      XO,h

  18. Paul Donahue on March 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Hi Hilah,

    How does one print your recipes without printing the whole page?

    thanks

    • Hilah Cooking on March 30, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Hi Paul!
      As of now there’s not an automatic way to do it. I bet you could copy and paste the part you wanted into a Word doc, though, and print from that. Hmm. I’ll look into a way to offer that as an option. Thanks for the idea!

  19. Sonny Boy on April 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    How To Make Chili (Texas-Style!)
    There is no sound

    • Hilah Cooking on April 16, 2011 at 8:21 am

      Hey Sonny! The sound is working for me. Not sure what the problem could be…

  20. Cabo on May 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Fantastic! I followed Hilahs recipe exactly using fresh tomatos, 4 jalapenos, 1 lb 85/15 groundο»Ώ round keeping it chunky & draining the fat it came super tender. I suggest using Spice Island brand chili powder; its more flavorful & was rated best by Cooks Illustrated. I didn’t ad the tortilla because it thickened enough on its own after 1.5 hrs cooking. Only change I would make next time would be to reduce salt to 1/2 tsp because the chili powder itself & the tomato sauce contains adequate salt.

    • Hilah on May 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      Wow, thanks, Cabo! I’m glad you enjoyed it! Good note on the salt. I should have specified that I usually buy chili powder and tomato sauce without salt, so it’s measured for that. Thanks so much for your feedback and tips, dude!

  21. Alyse on September 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    WOW! I had this bookmarked for a while and finally got around to making it tonight now that the weather’s cooling off (er, although I think it’s mainly due to the copious amount of rain we’re currently experiencing). Anyway, I’ve been looking for a chili recipe for awhile now. My mom makes an awesome chili, but she is one of those a-little-of-this-a-little-of-that-who-cares-about-measurements? cooks. I got so tired of trying to recreate it, with horrible results, that I started searching for a chili recipe to stick with. The search had been futile until now! YUM! This one’s going in the recipe box! Thanks for sharing your dad’s recipe.

    • Hilah on September 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      Hi Alyse! Thank you for writing!
      I am elated to hear that my dad’s recipe fit the bill for you! I think it’s the best, myself. Let me know if you try any more of my recipes. Hint: cornbread goes great with this! As do Fritos.
      Yours,
      hilah
      P.S. I am totally jealous of your rain and cooler weather.

      • Randy on September 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm

        Earlier this week, I actually woke up colder than hell at 4AM and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I started going through a stack of old Cook’s Illustrateds. Since I thought that cool weather had arrived, at least temporarily, the issue where they did one of their iconoclastic trashing with their New England arrogance of yet another regional specialty, Texas chili, caught my eye. Surprisingly, they weren’t as arrogant as usual, so while I was reading the article, I actually contemplated trying out their recipe. But by the time I finished, I was wide awake and came to my senses. There’s no need for any other Texas chile recipe than Hilah’s dad’s. BTW, I think I’ve emailed the link to the recipe to at least a dozen people who raved about it when I’ve served it to them. I’ve doubled the recipe several times thinking I’d have some leftover. It never works.

  22. Great Stone Face on February 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Happy National Chili Day!

    • Hilah on February 23, 2012 at 11:27 am

      YAY!! Now if only February was actually cold in Texas.

  23. Doug Beard on February 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I’m English, what do I know? But my chilli is very good and has been sold commercially but I use Old English Beer (Old Peculiar) and dark chocolate and thicken with flour. the result is dark and “peculiarly” bitter with the high notes of chilli.

    • Hilah on February 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      Ha! Well, yours sounds a bit more like a Mexican-style chili than Texas-style, but either way it sounds good! Curious about that beer now. I wonder if I could find it here…

      • Randy on February 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm

        Theakston Brewery’s Old Peculier (yes, that’s how it’s spelled!) ale used to be available here in Austin, but I haven’t seen it in years. One of the downsides of the craft brewing movement in the US is that a number of great British ales are no longer imported.

        • Hilah on February 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

          I wonder if the Whip In would carry it. They have a lot of imports.

  24. Zelma on February 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    yummy! i’m going to make it tonight…sound delish. thank you for sharing the stories related to your recipes! they are sweet.

    • Hilah on February 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      Hi Zelma! I hope you like it. I’m in the mood for some chili now, too!
      Thanks for writing.
      -hilah

  25. Great Stone Face on February 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Hard Times Cafe in our area is giving away a free bowl of chili today with any purchase (even iced tea). Good thing it’s 66 degrees F in Northern Virginia.

    • Hilah on February 24, 2012 at 11:46 am

      What a cool idea! I hope you went and got a bowl!

  26. misty on February 24, 2012 at 1:18 am

    looks yummy, so does the modelo! mmm..

    • Hilah on February 24, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Thanks, Misty! Nothing like cold beer and hot chili… πŸ™‚

  27. Tony Rose on February 24, 2012 at 6:25 am

    That sounds lovely, why not try my chilli sauce

  28. doeassspotter on February 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Hilah, great recipes and videos ! Tried your chili recipe and was so delicious I accidentally on purpose poured some of my beer into it while it was cooking. Well, let me tell you (are you currently letting me? good.) It was just the bomb! That eve and the next morning! Keep up your laboriously, exhausting , nose to the grindstone work up! I love all you guys do! MM
    disclaimer:
    no doeass was spotted while watching your vid.

    • Hilah on February 29, 2012 at 10:00 am

      Yay! I love it when some beer accidentally makes its way into the chili! Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for writing!

  29. Patty on June 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I had all the items in my pantry and fridge and was thinking about making chili its in the pot simmering away quick lunch meal for my honey to take to work tonight he works graveyard and im always looking for new easy yummy meals to pack him thanks for your recipe wondeful story it smells delicious I will let you know what he thinks thank you πŸ™‚

    • Hilah on June 25, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Hi Patty!
      That is great! I love it when a meal comes together like that. I hope your honey likes it. Seems like it would be a welcome meal in the middle of a long night shift.

  30. Austin on July 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Will you marry me? πŸ™‚

    • Hilah on July 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Awww….

      Okay.

      πŸ˜‰

  31. jason on August 10, 2012 at 2:44 am

    WOAH…I now know how to make CHILI! When it was all slopped into the pot, I was like wait how is that going to form into chili and then she took the top off the pan and it was CHILI!! Im gonna run to the supermarket tomorrow and make it!!!! And if it comes out the way it should, good by Hormel in a can, hello custom made chili!

    Then I can slop it on hotdogs and Chili Cheese Fries!

    • Hilah on August 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

      I think you’ll be very happy with it, Jason! It’s quite different than canned chili with a much more complex flavor and meatier texture, plus you know exactly what’s in it!

  32. bob jones on August 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Been catching up on your episodes since discovering you a la Chick-fil-A. This one looks like an impressively simple, unpretentious winner. I’ve got a few like this from my parents. Can’t say so about the Frito-pie utilization, and I’ve been served it by the best. Chili has gone worldwide, Frito pie not so much. When I get through all the old episodes I’ll stop yapping at you so much.

    • Hilah on August 13, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Thanks, Bob! I hope you try this one. I have had lots of chili in my life and I really think my dad had it right about keeping it simple. But that’s how I think about most all foods so maybe that’s just me. πŸ˜‰ This recipe is a winner, though. You said it!

      • bob jones on August 22, 2012 at 11:44 pm

        So I did try it with some ground sirloin yesterday and it is as outstanding as it is simple. I’m not a hot freak but went high end on the jalapenos and was liberal with the chili powder and it produced a very nice delayed buzz that did not interfere with the other flavors. The just-chunk-up-the-meat than add all the other s**t turns out killdozer!

        • Hilah on August 24, 2012 at 8:42 am

          Sweet! Thanks, Bob! So glad you enjoyed it. Simple seems to be the best way to do a lot of things, especially with food.

  33. Nicoleincos on August 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    O_M_G. The best chili I’ve ever made. The tip about keeping the meat in bigger pieces makes a huge difference, too. My husband and I discovered you on Roku about a month ago and I’m going to have to go through and count how many recipes I’ve already made (at least 2-3 a week,) and everything is amazing! My husband just said, “Hilah never steers you wrong.” Thank you, Hilah! You definitely need to be the next Food Network Star or something!

    • Hilah on August 13, 2012 at 9:21 am

      Yay! I’m so happy you liked this recipe, Nicoleincos! Thank you for the wonderful feedback. I can’t tell you how big I am smiling right now. πŸ˜€

      • Nicoleincos on September 14, 2015 at 4:46 pm

        Still referring to this recipe 3 years later! It’s the best.
        Thanks, Hilah!

  34. larry kimball on August 27, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Looks like this comment box for the chili video is working now. I will definately try your version next time. My version has beans and a lot of other complicated ingredients like cocoa and peanut butter. Turns out like a chili/mole dish, which is plenty good.

    • Hilah on August 27, 2012 at 10:12 am

      Ooh, Larry, my daddy would not approve of your chili! πŸ˜‰ Sounds good to me, though! I love mole.

  35. Texascowman on October 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Hilah, if you want to make real Texas chili like they did back in the 1800’s don’t use hamburger. Use meat cut in 1/4 to 1/2 inch chunks or if you don’t like that use a chili ground meat and you will have a much better chili–in my opinion.

    • Hilah on October 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks, TCM! I’ve never tried it with a fine-dice meat like that. I’ve done with stew meat chunks and that’s nice because it gets kind of shredded up by the end. I like the small chunk idea, though, bet it cooks fast, too!

      • Great Stone Face on October 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm

        Wow, 80+ comments. I think chili might be the most discussed item on HilahCooking.com. Am I right? I live in Virginia, so I am not certified to talk of such things, but my experience is that you are correct that hamburger grind is not appropriate for Texas-style chili. The quarter-inch chunk is a good measurement, but the way I’ve seen it described is cut the meat into chunks the size of bullets. (Now, that’s a Texas description.)

        If you must have ground meat, use a single-grind meat. Hamburger is twice-ground, which makes it a finer grind. It’s OK for Cincinnati chili, but not Texas chili.

  36. Ryan on October 20, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Just finished my first batch. Forgot the beans, so authentic. Two deseeded jalapenos as some in the house didn’t want as much heat. Served on a bed of Fritos. Everybody finished. Damn good chili! Thanks Hilah!

    • Hilah on October 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Alright, Ryan! That’s awesome to hear! Thank you. πŸ™‚

  37. Rachael H on November 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I’m not a chili fan but my husband is – so I’m going to try to impress him by making this tonight. Fingers crossed… Thanks for the recipe!

    • Hilah on November 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

      I think he’ll love it, Rachael (and hopefully you will, too)!

  38. kathleen reynolds on November 29, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I made a double batch for dinner last night. Best chili ever, I can’t stop eating it. Had some for breakfast!

    • Hilah on November 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Great, Kathleen! I’m happy to hear that. Chili for breakfast is A-ok. πŸ™‚

  39. Larry on December 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Icoildnt imagine chili without beans.

  40. Joe Izz on December 31, 2012 at 5:33 am

    My friend Janet in Irving makes some of the best chili ever, but I think yours gives it a run for it’s money. I’ve made it twice now and even my wife say’s it’s good.
    The argument for and against beans will go on forever, but a pot of beans is still just a pot of beans. Thanks for some great tips and recipes.

    • Hilah on December 31, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      Alright! Thanks, Joe! It’s time I made myself a batch of this again, too. Finally getting wintery here.

  41. John on December 31, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I think I’ll try this one asap. Hope it’s as awesome as your video.

    • Hilah on December 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      Heehee! I hope so, too, John! πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  42. Diana Juarez on January 19, 2013 at 4:07 am

    Dude, I’m always terrified of trying to cook something because I’ve never really been that much into cooking because my mother would annoy me by saying I HAD to cook because I’m a girl.
    Anyway, my boyfriend likes to eat a lot and I’ve been looking hard to find am easy way to learn how to cook since all I can make are Enchiladas, Quesadillas and eggs.
    This recipe seemed very simple to understand so thank you.
    I can’t wait to try this out, dude.

    Also, this chili can also be used for chili cheese fries right? Or would I need a specific kind of chili?

    • Hilah on January 19, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Ha! Well, I don’t know if it’s because you’re a girl, but I agree with your mom that it’s important to know how to cook! (at least a few things) This recipe is really easy and you can use it for chili cheese fries as long as you use ground beef and break it up into fairly small bits while it’s cooking so you’ll end up with a smoother texture chili opposed to a chunky chili. Hope you and your boyfriend like it!

  43. Elrod on February 17, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    First time making chili and you are the only instructions I have looked at but you are so friggin cool I am going with just on this. Tomorrow is work’s first annual chili contest so wish me luck. Again, you are awesome all around!

    • Hilah on February 18, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Yay! Good luck at the competition, Elrod! Hope you and your coworkers enjoy.

  44. Chris on April 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Thank u so much for this recipe being from the uk never tried texan chilli found ur
    Recipe tried it absolutely loved it ur dads a legend thank u again

    • Hilah on April 18, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Awesome! So happy to hear you like it! πŸ™‚

  45. Clint on June 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Your recipe sounds excellent, especially using whole tomatoes instead of canned tomato garbage. Nothing like the freshness of good tomatoes. I also like how you include fresh jalapenos.

    I like my chili extra spicy so I add in some Tabasco and cayenne pepper. And of course some pinto beans cooked in the crockpot to complete the chili.

    • Hilah on June 11, 2013 at 8:35 am

      Thanks, Clint! I love that chili is so simple and easy to adjust for personal tastes. Hope you try your version of my version! πŸ˜‰

  46. Raymond Schofield on June 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Love the story about you and your dad… Looking forward to making the chili for friends tonight, I am sure it will turn out great

    • Hilah on June 17, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      Thank you, Raymond! Hope you and your friends all enjoyed it. πŸ™‚

  47. Natalie on June 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Made this tonight! It is so amazing how much liquid the tomatoes release! I made mine using only fresh tomatoes and used a little masa mixed with water to thicken it. Made some corn muffins to go with it! Chili fritos mmmm πŸ™‚

    • Hilah on August 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Yummy! I love using fresh tomatoes in chili. And corn muffins! Whoop! Thanks, Natalie. πŸ™‚

  48. Rita on August 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    A big pot is cooking on the stove as I write. Can’t wait to try it.

    • Hilah on August 17, 2013 at 8:59 am

      Aw, yeah! Enjoy, Rita!

  49. jessica on October 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Made this today, it was excellent!! πŸ™‚

    • Hilah on October 14, 2013 at 8:07 am

      Yay! Thanks, Jessica!

  50. Bianca on November 15, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Hey! I know your dad won’t approve of this haha but, is it okay if I do turkey meat instead? Or would that completely ruin the taste/texture?

    • Hilah on November 16, 2013 at 9:35 am

      Haha! Turkey would work fine, Bianca! And I won’t tell my dad. πŸ˜‰

  51. Cabo Wabo on December 9, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    AAA+++ Simple, quick, and healthy. This stuff is the molten lava of the chili gods!! I look forward to winter storms, just so I can run to the store and hoard fresh tomatoes, jalapeΓ±os, garlic, and onion. Seriously, who are all these other idiot shoppers gorging on milk and bread during a winter storm?? BTW, the only changes I make are I use 85/15 groundο»Ώ round, 3Tbsp “Spice Islands” brand chili Power, 4 large jalapeΓ±os, and I reduce salt to 1/2tsp because the chili power and Fritos topping has adequate salt.

    • Hilah on December 9, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      Wahoo! I wish I had a big pot of this right now, too! Lucky duck. πŸ™‚

      • Cabo Wabo on December 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm

        Update: I survived the snow storm, I’m warm, my beldy is happy full, and my sinuses are clear! I don’t know how long it took your father to perfect this recipe, but it is absolutely amazing chili that is spot on. And believe me, I’ve eaten and cooked dozens of different chili recipes over the years that all claim to be #1 or “award winning”. This is by far the best of them all. Thank you again Hilah and Papa Hilah!
        I’ll admit I used to use spice packets, canned tomatoes, chili beans, and Rotel peppers, etc, for 8 hours in a crockpot to make my secret chili….never again! Hilah’s recipe is quicker, easier, and healthier. I can whip it up in under 2hrs and using fresh cut tomatoes, jalepenos, onion, and garlic makes such a huge difference compared to canned garbage. Also, keeping the meat chunky is a key secret to the success of this recipe.
        Now I just wish they would forecast another “Snowmageddon” here…I need to make more of this chili!

        • Hilah on December 11, 2013 at 7:46 pm

          Whoohoo! Chili saves the day again! This is so awesome. I’m gonna tell my dad! Thanks, Cabo!

  52. Betsy on December 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Delicious! The only change I made was a big dollop of sour cream in the middle of the bowl. Thanks for the recipe and story. β™‘

    • Hilah on December 10, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Good call, Betsy! πŸ™‚

  53. Larry on December 13, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Are you Married? If not, Marry Me!!!!

    Not only are you a GREAT cook…your BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

    and I love your personality πŸ™‚

    • Hilah on December 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      I am married, Larry, to the luckiest guy on Earth. πŸ˜‰

  54. Kevyn on January 16, 2014 at 12:58 am

    Oh. My. God. Hilah. Oh. My. God.

    I made this chili tonight because it’s cold and snowing here tonight. I doubled it and added half a bottle of Highland Brewing Thunderstruck Coffee Porter and two bay leaves, but otherwise kept your recipe intact.

    This is seriously the best thing that I’ve ever put in my mouth. I’m including all of my boyfriends past and present in that statement. And I’ve had some hot boyfriends.

    I don’t even have words. I’ve polished off three bowls. I am stuffed, and all I want to do is eat some more. I’m on a diet, and this has completely blown my calorie count out of the water… but so, so worth it. So very worth it.

    • Hilah on January 16, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Yes! So glad to hear that, Kevyn! Though my dad would shake his head at the idea of bay leaves, I say whatever floats yer boat. πŸ™‚

      • Kevyn on January 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm

        Haha! The only reason that the bay leaves found their way in there was because I bought them for one specific thing that I only needed leaf for. So I have this jar filled with them now and I don’t really know what to do with them. So I’m throwing them in whatever I can right now.

        I think your dad would really shake his head at the fact that I threw some kidney beans in there. I couldn’t help it, though! I didn’t grow up on chili without beans, so in my mind they’re kind of a necessity.

        Apparently there is a huge bean/no bean debate among chili aficionados. To the point where, on an online forum I frequent, bringing it up is seen as a ban worthy offense. There have been massive flame wars about it, like you don’t even know.

        I’m with you, though! Whatever you like is what you like. To hell with anyone who would judge you for it, lol!

        • Hilah on January 17, 2014 at 9:18 am

          Well, truth be told, I add beans when I’m making chili for Chris’s Oklahoma family. πŸ™‚

  55. larry kimball on February 15, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Hi, Hilah. Technically speaking, can you make authentic Texas chili with ground beef, or does it have to be beef chunks? Personally, I almost always use chunks, but I see most chili here in Florida made with ground beef.

    • Hilah on February 17, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      That’s a good question, Larry. I asked Cookie (the Chuckwagon cook we made chili with) and he said either way. He also said he’d heard of the .22 bullet-size idea but he used a combination of coarse ground chuck and diced chuck.
      I think it can be either way, as long as there’s no beans! Myself, I kind of prefer ground beef chili.

  56. Great Stone Face on February 15, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    I once heard that true chili is made with beef cut into pieces the size of .22 bullets. I try to use once-ground beef. Hamburger, by contrast, is made with twice-ground beef.

  57. Nicoleincos on October 29, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    I am making this ….. honestly, I’ve probably made it a few dozen times since I commented in August of 2012! In the past I’ve used stew meat, steak, and ground beef. Now I usually use ground turkey. It is always a big hit!
    I just wanted to thank you, (for the 10th time or so,) for your awesome recipes and making me a better cook. I’m thinking of you right now, knowing that little one is on the way. Love you, Hilah!

    • Hilah on November 1, 2014 at 10:55 am

      Thank you! So happy this chili has made it into your regular rotation. And thanks for the baby love! He’s here now and he’s the best

  58. Yolanda on November 29, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    This recipe is scrumptious! I just made this and it is by far my favorite chili recipe. Thank you for sharing!

  59. Cabo Wabo on December 2, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Dec 1 – First day of “meteorological winter” is the signal that’s its time again to start making my regular rotation of Hilah’s Texas chili! I’m still totally obsessed with this recipe. Whipped up a yesterday and wow its so amazing. One word of advice though: DO NOT taste test a spoon of this while its cooking! After doing so, I accidentally polished off two full “testing” bowls before it was even done cooking. This recipe is always a crowd pleaser. I plan to make it multiple times this winter up until Super Bowl Sunday. Thanks again!

    • Hilah on December 3, 2014 at 7:25 am

      I love hearing this, Cabo Wabo! Happy winter! πŸ™‚

  60. Beth on June 26, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Best Chili ever! My husband LOVED it!!!

  61. Andraeh on December 23, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Hey Hilah, quick question (& maybe dumb lol) do you have to drain the beef after cooked then add everything? Or add everything without draining?

    • Hilah on December 23, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      I don’t drain anything

  62. Skip on December 30, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    This Chili Is great !! — Time to share it with the Sunday Football crowd I hang with. – Any suggestions other than to just multiply the amounts for a group of 25?

    • Hilah on December 30, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      Hey Skip!
      I think multiplying by 6 to serve 24-25 would be okay, as long as you have a really big pot!

      • Cabo on December 30, 2015 at 6:52 pm

        Skip,
        Get one of those big propane turkey fryer pots outside and multiply the recipe by 6. Don’t forget to break out your boat oar to stir the pot πŸ˜‰

  63. John on January 22, 2016 at 11:57 am

    This is a simple soup to make and it tastes good. I give it a kick in ass by using serrano chilis and a dozen habaneros. Also add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper.

  64. Simon on February 21, 2016 at 6:40 am

    I’ve made this several times previously but never thought to comment. It’s a great and simple recipe and the only thing I do differently is use these rather than Jalapenos http://www.seasonedpioneers.com/shop/seasonings-spices/caribbean/chipotle-chillies-whole/
    Thanks for the recipe Hilah, from a follower of your cooking over in England πŸ™‚

    • Hilah on February 22, 2016 at 8:05 am

      Sounds great, Simon! Thanks for writing πŸ™‚

  65. Rhonda Kennedy on March 25, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Hi Hilah, love the easy to follow vid of you making your dad’s chili recipe, you seem super down to earth, funny and cool…you also made me want a Modelo, lol.
    I made this Chili tonight for me and my two sons, we all loved it!, it’s declicious…especially topped with cheese, raw jalapenos, raw onion and cornbread on the side, YUM.
    TY so much to you and your dad for sharing, this recipe is a keeper and will be a fam favorite now.
    πŸ™‚ Rhonda Kennedy

    • Hilah on March 25, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Thank you, Rhonda!

  66. Chris on June 11, 2016 at 8:07 am

    I haven’t tried this yet but it sat in the crockpot on warm overnight (after I cooked it for 2 hours using stew meat). My son who is visiting came home late last night and I woke up to a note on my whiteboard in all caps that said, “BEST CHILI EVER!”. So the expert has spoken and I can’t wait to try it. lol

  67. Rob on September 12, 2016 at 4:36 am

    I’m making this today. In northern England πŸ™‚

    • Hilah on September 12, 2016 at 2:47 pm

      Excellent! πŸ˜€

  68. Jay on January 26, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    I want to make this recipe but use ground chicken instead of beef. Are there any additions or adjustments needed?

    • Hilah on January 27, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Hey Jay!
      You’ll probably want to brown the meat with a little oil or butter, but otherwise no big changes. Chicken is obviously milder than beef, so taste it at the end and see if it needs a few dashes of hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce to “beef” it up a little πŸ˜‰ Pun intended. Enjoy!

  69. Karla on February 19, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Hi…I would love to make this to take snowmobiling / ice fishing in the mountains of British Columbia…could I do this in a crockpot? How would you recommend to do it?
    Thanks!

    • Hilah on February 20, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Hi Karla,
      To make chili in a crockpot the best way would be to brown the meat and onions first in a skillet, then transfer to the crock. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours. I find with crockpots/slow-cooker recipes you get a much better flavor if you saute the onions first.
      Your chili might be a little thinner than a stove-top chili because the crockpot holds in almost all the steam, but you can thicken it at the end by adding a corn tortilla that’s been finely chopped OR just let it cook a little longer on high heat, with the crock pot lid off.
      Hope it works for you!

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