How do you make Chili?

We’re in a Winter Storm Warning waiting for the wind, so Winter has arrived in the Mountains
That means Chili time to me!
So tell me your favorite way to make a pot of chili. Any meat, any other ingredients.
Our diversity should be our strength here.



I don’t ever stick to a single recipe. I always use different ingredients and try to alter the tastes for what kind of mood I’m in. I love altering the taste as it cooks. That is a lot of fun for me. I can turn up or down the heat, acidity, salt, and chunkiness. I like to make a main pot then pour some into a few other smaller pots and make different experimental versions.

Generally my go to is a tomato based chili with 80/20 ground beef, and yes I do use beans.

I entered one chili contest in my life and won first prize. It was a Chipotle chili with some good heat and chocolate infused. It had some sweetness and a lot of color with some white beans and different peppers. I think it presented well.


Tremendous start!
Thanks. My secret ingredient is a squirt of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate syrup.

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There ya go! A Top 3 chili ingredient anywhere. Anytime.

Ps…when I said “turn down the salt” level you obviously can’t do that. I meant I can thin out my batch if it is a little on the salty side…which doesn’t happen much.

I have messed around with turkey but the price of ground turkey at my stores is nuts. I can get beef for a few dollars less per pound so that is what I use.

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My sister is the chili cook in the family. Def has red base, shredded pork pcs, red and white beans, roasted garlic, cumin…she hasn’t shared the deets. But she also grates spicy chocolate from the Cowgirl Chocolates company over servings as xtra kick.

Now my buddy makes chili so thick its more like a stew but its darn good and smokey. Beef base with onions and beans cooked in a kettle in a fire pit. I like his w rice.

Mine is lousy. I tend to overdue some aspect that ruins it.


Not too creative here lately. Usually just Wick Fowler’s kit. I’ve tried the spoonful of peanut butter trick some people swear by but didn’t notice any difference.

We were entered into a charity chili cook off years ago. Some of the people there were snooty, secretive about their ingredients etc. The friendly bunch next to us threw in a 33 cent packet of WM brand chili seasoning. They won 1st place. I had a good laugh over that one.


I like the Wick Fowler kit; the Carol Shelby one too.
I picked up some Frenchs Chili O at Grocery Outlet and it has sugar in it. Weird. I get the impression it gets a lot of commercial use.

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Here are some recipes from Terlingua chili championship. Warning to all you bean people, this is Texas competition chili and beans are not allowed.

I like Cindy Reeds 92-93 chili. Scroll to bottom for recipes.


I use ground chuck instead of cubed beef.

No cumin till step 4.
Not sure what effect that has.

Looking at the recipe I realized I didn’t make this one, but a later one that I can’t find.

Cindy Reed stands out because she’s from my hometown and had the rare distinction of getting beat on Bobby Flay’s Throwdown. He usually got his ass kicked but Cindy lost on a typical brutal Houston summer day.

I think I’ll try the Horseshoe Chili next.

That looks like a good one. However, is it me or is a teaspoon of a very mild Louisiana hot sauce not going to do anything in an entire pot of chili? Seems like it would do nothing. A teaspoon lol

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How about zero teaspoons, it was 80 here today. When what passes for winter here happens I’ll spice up each bowl individually.

I tend to use ground beef thrown in the freezer after we make burgers - we’re not big eaters - but way prefer pork for chili. I like to add chiorizo for flavour (not too much!) or smoked bacon if there’s no chorizo left. Things I put in for the flavour we like: oregano, chili powder I get especially from Toronto since I’m used to that blend, crushed chili, some curry paste, sometimes extra cumin, hot paprika…and always a few squares of dark chocolate (less sweet as possible). Not too much tomato. Always black beans over any other beans. Never salt! Once done, throw on grated cheese and chopped onion. Everyone thinks they make the best chili and I’ve tasted some and winced but basically I believe your own chili is always the best chili, because you make it the way you like it! Now, I used to help make chili in a Mexican restaurant near Whittier, CA, and I know we made it with real red or green chilies and pork stewing meat and onions, never beans of course, and I wish I still knew how.

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Mexican oregano or European oregano?
I always use pork when making Pinto beans and Chile Verde, but I have always thought chili to be beef based, though your way sounds interesting.

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We have almost unpleasant memories of a “dash” of Dave’s Insanity in a stock pot of chili. :smiling_imp:
Lots of milk consumed that night…

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My brother-in-law’s great bean-and-ground-beef chili includes quartered limes (I would say two lime quarters per 8qt prep, but who ever knows with chili, and limes themselves vary).

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Yes I agree. I have some in my kitchen now. A drop or two of that will be very noticeable!

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Is this green chili?