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Texas Chile or NOT!

JaphyJaphy Posts: 290 Member

It is now autumn, time for football, hunting, shorter days, cooler evenings, brown trout fishing, and Texas chile.  

I consider myself a connoisseur of Texas chile. Much to my chagrin a friend served chile recently while attempting to explain Texas chile… this batch was full of red beans, tomatoes, onions, unidentified greens, off the shelf chile powder, ground beef, and that suspicious odious scent of Italian sausage.  Absolute sacrilege, blasphemy, an egregious assault!

In my holy book Texas chile contains no red beans, black beans or any beans at all, no ground beef, no tomato, no onion!    Texas chile is created  with love from cubed dry aged steak (I use sirloin), long simmered beef rib stock,  a can of warm beer, seasoned with garlic, cumin, red pepper, and occasionally a hint of paprika then slow cooked for hours.  Best served with a couple of hot scratch made biscuits out of a dutch oven.

We have some folks here from Texas and I want to know if any of you ever put any ungodly stuff in a chile pot?





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Replies

  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    I like it all. Never been to Texas. Never tasted any decent food I didn't swallow and reach for more.

    Last batch I made had beans, chorizo, and smoked turkey sausage. Stores here have green chili from a restaurant called Santiago's. Very good. Best I ever had was from a hole in the wall place here in Denver. Guy moved here from Mexico. Started selling burritos. Friend's and I bought all we could eat. Then he opened up a restaurant. Maybe the best food I ever had. For sure the best green chili.
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 14,289 Senior Member
    Meh, chili is about using whatever is in the house.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    I like both.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,561 Senior Member
    CHIRO1989 said:
    Meh, chili is about using whatever is in the house.

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 25,146 Senior Member
    edited October 2021 #6
    If I have to be  tortured by eating chili, I want beans in it and plenty of them so I can torture others.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 18,141 Senior Member
    Not a fan of beans in chili...especially kidney beans...but most everybody in the family sort of expects them so I have taken to stirring a can of refries into my chili..

    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,697 Senior Member
    V8 juice, browned ground beef, onions and green peppers, dark red kidney beans, and a packet of Chili-o....... simmer in crock-pot 8-12 hours.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 3,233 Senior Member
    edited October 2021 #9
    If you really want to be authentic and historically accurate Chili is old cattle drive food and basically a way for "cookie" to deal with the tougher cuts of meat from the bovines that died on the trail, so the meat would not spoil and you could reheat the leftovers every day and just add to to the the leftover pots as you went along.   Those big cast iron pots were never truly washed as we understand that today, sometimes for months. 

    Cattle was money on the hoof so you ate ANYTHING else that was hunted for meat first.  But cattle that died on the trail of natural causes or was slaughtered because the crew need for food and no one had killed any game, would NOT be wasted and was swiftly consumed in steaks fried in lard or roasted over the fire when dealing with the best cuts when fresh.  These steaks were usually reserved for cookie, the boss and top hands.  

    The rest of the "good" leftover meat (beef, bison, antelope, elk, deer or bear) would be jerked.  This "jerky" was much drier and less seasoned than what we buy today, more like African biltong, and packed in saddle bags for mid day meal consumption on the go along with dried fruit (apples were very popular) and leftover breakfast biscuits.  What was left over, the really poor tough cuts, sometimes organs and ALL suspect meat starting to spoil would be diced and/or ground and thrown into a big pot for stewing.  

    Hot spices kill bacteria and are a great preservative (we've known that for millennia) and many of the cooks starting in Texas were of Mexican descent.  They learned this from both their Spaniard and aboriginal ancestors and used it out of sheer need in the warm climates where fresh food would spoil in a day.  So these folks learned to cook spicy from childhood and plenty of the hot spices were added, along with whatever was found on the trail was fair game (like wild onions and other game meat), dried and smoked peppers travel well and onions and potatoes do too.  

    The thinking was add enough dried hot peppers, cumin, salt and whatever else the chuck wagon cook used for seasoning (dark hard chocolate and a little sugar were popular with the hands and easily available in every town while resupplying) and given enough cooking time it would all taste the same in the end.  Sometimes the leftover coffee would go in the pot because water was precious.  Each chuck wagon cookie had his own recipe and cowhands needed the protein and calories so they were not "particular".

    Interesting enough, the other trail food that lends itself to the same treatment is beans.  Cooked on day one they were a stew, by the end of the week they are basically a paste (refried beans anyone?) because they would fall apart after long periods of cooking and re-heating.  

    Often the supper tin plate was half beans (they were simply cooked in water with a healthy hunk of salt pork or smoked ham hocks) and half of the brown cooked meat spicy slop cookie called chile or chili.  Add a biscuit to the mix and there's your supper.  If cookie was in a good mood, for dessert sometimes you'd get a pie made out of the rehydrated dried fruit, or leftover breakfast biscuits with syrup.

    In any case, since most cowhands had nothing but a spoon to their name in their traps, mixing the two was… "expedient" and allowed you to get to the campfire and bed-roll in a hurry since dawn comes fast on the trail.  

    So while the original chili did not contain beans serving it with a heaping helping of beans is historically correct.  You were then expected to lick your plate clean and dump it in the washpan for use tomorrow for breakfast.

    Most of the times when I cook a batch of chili I will also cook a separate pot of Pinto beans and let folks decide what they want to do on their own and what proportion of beans/chili they prefer.  But quite a few times I bypass the two pots and add the cooked Pintos into the meat right before serving because my family and myself like it that way.


    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 3,233 Senior Member
    edited October 2021 #10
    There’s a lot of great info and authentic trail food recipes out there for anyone interested.  Warning most of the “REALLY” authentic stuff is rather bland and simple.

    Chuck Wagon cooks “cookie” were arguably the most important member of the outfit and served as doctors, judges, bankers, protectors of your traps, gambling bet stakeholders and everyone’s  confidant besides being the source of every meal.  Bosses spent a lot of time securing a top cook and it was considered HIGHLY unwise to piss one off if you were expecting to be taken care off by one for months at a time.  Not to mention no boss would argue with a cook, if they wanted a hand gone, you were dismissed.


    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,511 Senior Member
    Japhy said:

    It is now autumn, time for football, hunting, shorter days, cooler evenings, brown trout fishing, and Texas chile.  

    I consider myself a connoisseur of Texas chile. Much to my chagrin a friend served chile recently while attempting to explain Texas chile… this batch was full of red beans, tomatoes, onions, unidentified greens, off the shelf chile powder, ground beef, and that suspicious odious scent of Italian sausage.  Absolute sacrilege, blasphemy, an egregious assault!

    In my holy book Texas chile contains no red beans, black beans or any beans at all, no ground beef, no tomato, no onion!    Texas chile is created  with love from cubed dry aged steak (I use sirloin), long simmered beef rib stock,  a can of warm beer, seasoned with garlic, cumin, red pepper, and occasionally a hint of paprika then slow cooked for hours.  Best served with a couple of hot scratch made biscuits out of a dutch oven.

    We have some folks here from Texas and I want to know if any of you ever put any ungodly stuff in a chile pot?






    sorry...its called ignorance...

    no difference if you roll dog $hit in powder sugar and called it a donut.  If you never had a donut before, how would you know?

    Probably just like you having some chinese food from your local diner... chances are it wont be the same if you go to some big city like SFO or where there are some better chinese restaurants. I can bet the local chinese places changed their dishes to suit the local taste buds or maybe some ingredients arent so easily available.  Its no different from anything else.  You like what you like and not many people will change or want to change.

    some people think that Dominso Pizza is the best too.  

    its also  a matter of what you had first and if you like it may use it as your "standard/Gage" until something better comes along.

    fwiw, my 1st chile came from a can.  I think we made "chili dogs" with it too. To me, it was tasty and as i say "it fills a void" and "it makes a turd".   Im happy.  

    The good friend that got me hooked on many things like shooting is a nerd and will reserach things too. So he introduced me to "texas chile" or whatever you want to call it, but he mentioned the same as you... Its the only reason i know the difference.  But to me i refer back to "it fills a void and makes a turd".  If im hungry and want to eat, whatever can fill that void is looking good to me.  My friend likes to do thing to extremes too...so sometimes that chile can be hot - as in spicy.  I used to like really spicy foods until what goes in spicy comes out spicy.  Maybe TMI for some, but my body sort of dictates what it likes and doesnt and in the end (pun intended) it has the final say.


    The ears never lie.

    - Don Burt
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 3,233 Senior Member
    Jayhawker said:
    Not a fan of beans in chili...especially kidney beans...but most everybody in the family sort of expects them so I have taken to stirring a can of refries into my chili..

    Also authentic and historically correct.  :D
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • JKPJKP Senior Member Posts: 2,567 Senior Member
    I don't like beans in chili, but I do add more vegetables like bell pepper, mushroom, onion, etc. than some chili purists would advise.
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 3,233 Senior Member
    Chili discussions are just like arguing about Pizza.  Throw a guy from New York into a room with guys from New Haven CT, Chicago, Detroit and believe it or not Rio de Janeiro (they do make darn fine Pizza in Brazil!) and they'll probably kill each other in the ensuing melee...  :D
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • JaphyJaphy Posts: 290 Member
    no lack of strong opinion here!  I like that about this forum
    my chile cooking goes back some time ago living in S. Central Texas for a few years.  It was one of those things I have kept.
    Ive had the same recipe prepared with venison and elk but with some chuck for some fat

    @Wambli enlightening!  I did not know the origin of chile.

  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 3,233 Senior Member
    Japhy said:
    no lack of strong opinion here!  I like that about this forum
    my chile cooking goes back some time ago living in S. Central Texas for a few years.  It was one of those things I have kept.
    Ive had the same recipe prepared with venison and elk but with some chuck for some fat

    @Wambli enlightening!  I did not know the origin of chile.

    I'm glad you enjoyed my impromptu dissertation :D  

    One of my favorite foods in the world, it was worth for me to do some research on the subject.  I think SLIGHT variations on the original theme are Ok for variety and some are outright tasty.  I spent some time shooting CAS with the SASS crowd back in it's humble beginnings.  These folks took their Old West research/knowledge very seriously, especially the golden age of the Cowboy when cattle drives from Texas to the railheads up north created the American West as we got to know it.  You could get caught up in a 30 minute "discussion" on whether buckles on spur straps belong on the inside or outside of the boot!!!  

    One of my favorite subjects, as always, is food and I used to pack my saddle bags when going out for trail rides with friends with samples that would have been period correct.  Things like Corn Dodgers were always a popular snack.  Always surprised me how many questions folks would come up with and how truly interested they were on the subject.   I also have period cutlery  for the Civil War era that to this day I frequent use.

    So I like to stay close to the original dish (which by the way was in restaurant menus as far as San Francisco by the early 1880s as Chile or Chili con Carne), my concessions being using a can of tomato paste (or preferable dried tomatoes if I have the long time it takes to cook them into the chili) and I also like a couple of heaping tablespoons of good Mexican Mole sauce added to the pot about 1/2 hour before it's ready to serve.  Both add a little sweetness that I enjoy and both are authentic ingredients you would have found back in the old days in places like Texas when cookie was getting his supplies for the wagon.  

    BTW if you can get your hands on a can of good smoked hot Spanish Paprika it'll take your pot to a whole higher level.  It adds a mellow heat that doesn't hit you right away but more like builds up as you eat, but you have to be careful you don't use too much or you end up with a chili that tastes bitter and smells like cigarette ashes.  

    Red beans which are the most popular for many are probably the most incorrect choice.  The beans of choice are Pintos to stay correct to the times.  They also happen to be my favorite bean so that helps.  In general Red beans are just about the bean I like the least, EXCEPT when I cook authentic Louisiana Red Beans and and Rice with Andouille Sausage and Smoked Ham Hocks.  Then they are a requirement.

    My wife on the other hand makes some atrocity she calls chili form her mom's recipe, MIL loves it too.  On it's own its a decent tasting dish but it cooks in 15 minutes and includes canned red beans, CRUSHED tomatoes which do NOT have the time to cook in, green peppers and onions (again no time to cook in), and CORN!!!  It's basically lightly cooked chunky salsa with red beans and meat in it.  Like I said, it's not bad tasting but THAT ONE is WAY too far off the reservation to call chili in my book.  SOOOO when they cook it I just grin and bear it...

    Don't tell her or her mom I said that...  :D
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,762 Senior Member
    Wambli is correct....it wasn't unusual for the cowhands, traversing poor hunting country, to live on beans, biscuits, and coffee for days on end. My wife has a book titled "Eating Up the Santa Fe Trail", a compilation of historically correct cattle drive recipes. Truth is, it seems every "recipe" was either very bland or downright abhorrent. I recall two in particular....

    Taken game, or deceased cattle... its raw liver doused in its own bile from the gall bladder, seemed favored by many.

    Same scenario....intestines, removed and not cleaned in any manner at all, tossed onto a bed of coals. They were done and ready for consumption when they "curled up in the fire like a snake".

    These guys were made of sterner stuff than us.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,369 Senior Member
    edited October 2021 #18
    Japhy said:
    no lack of strong opinion here!  I like that about this forum
    my chile cooking goes back some time ago living in S. Central Texas for a few years.  It was one of those things I have kept.
    Ive had the same recipe prepared with venison and elk but with some chuck for some fat

    @Wambli enlightening!  I did not know the origin of chile.

    We've had a few chili discussions here over the years...  :D

    For me, I differentiate chili from chile. In my mind, chili is the concoction we're talking about. Chile is the pepper that comes off a plant. But, the term chili comes from the Spanish phrase chile con carne. Pretty self explanatory.

    Also note, it's not called chile con frijoles... Personally, I'm not a beans in chili fan. While I don't doubt the use of beans in chili goes back to it's origins, and I'll take chili with or without beans, I prefer no beans. And the rules for competitive chili cooking forbids the use of beans, including at the championship international chili cookoff run by the Chili Appreciation Society International held in Terlingua, TX every year, which I have been to many times. 

    That being said, chili is whatever the cook wants it to be. Put whatever you want in it. I've been known to make quick and easy chili using ground beef, chopped onion and jalapeno, chili seasoning packet, a can of diced tomatoes and a can of Ranch Style beans. I've also been known to add diced potato to mine. But for what I consider chili, it's meat, onions, garlic and seasoning and maybe a few other add-ins. Plenty of cumin and dried chile powder are a must. Masa is used for thickening.
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,697 Senior Member
    Wonder if they still have Chili-Mac MRE's? Guys almost got into fistfights for that one......
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,762 Senior Member
    Of course....it could be worse. Donner Party. You lost either way.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,996 Senior Member
    just finished eating a bowl of chili, and I agree that its made from whats available.

    However on pizza..... The only good thing that ever came out of NYC is pizza and the farther away from that rat hole you get, the worse the pizza is.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member


    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 3,233 Senior Member
    just finished eating a bowl of chili, and I agree that its made from whats available.

    However on pizza..... The only good thing that ever came out of NYC is pizza and the farther away from that rat hole you get, the worse the pizza is.
    I will mostly agree.  I think in general you are correct, if you can't find a good slice in NYC there is something wrong with you, BUT as I mentioned before Brazilians are pretty proud of their Pizza and they should be.  There are a couple of Brazilian Pizzerias in Miami and DAMN they are good, maybe Diver has been to them.  

    CT has almost taken the crown off NYC's head too.  There are some pizzerias in places like Stamford and New Haven where the pizza is truly exceptional!  AND there is now a lot of bad pizza in NYC just surviving off the reputation too, including some places that used to be considered "landmarks".
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 3,233 Senior Member
    Of course....it could be worse. Donner Party. You lost either way.

    Mike
    Is it wrong that coffee snot shot out of my nose in laughter when I read this? 
    :D
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • JaphyJaphy Posts: 290 Member
    Of course....it could be worse. Donner Party. You lost either way.

    Mike

    Dinner Party?  Donner Party? at times everything is blurred
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 3,233 Senior Member
    Japhy said:
    Of course....it could be worse. Donner Party. You lost either way.

    Mike

    Dinner Party?  Donner Party? at times everything is blurred
    Great, more coffee snot...
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 18,141 Senior Member
    When it comes to meat for chili...I prefer to use cubed up flank steak, (beef or venison) and salt pork ( got to have some fat in there)...One those occasions where I need a quick batch of chili for supper, I'll use coarse ground burger and pork breakfast sausage.

    I also like cooking chili over an open fire in a cast iron pot...but...I can make perfectly acceptable batch in the Instant pot under pressure for about 45 minutes...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,561 Senior Member
    I eat bugs and dead animals. I don’t care what you put in your chilie or corn bread, I’ll probably eat it. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • rberglofrberglof Senior Member Posts: 2,930 Senior Member
    I also use beans in my chili. Normal will be a can of pinto and a can of black beans. 
    I do not follow any particular recipe as to me a recipe is only a suggestion. I like a little heat to mine so will use red pepper flakes in it. Will normally use ground beef but if I have left over roast I cut it up and put it in also or maybe stew meat cut up into smaller pieces.  
  • TugarTugar Senior Member Posts: 2,435 Senior Member
    True chili should have no beans. 

    I like beans, but if beans are added, it's chili helper at that point. Not true chili. Which is closer to beef stew than what some people thing chili is. 
    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
    Winston Churchill
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 3,233 Senior Member
    One of the best pots of chili I ever made was after Hurricane Florence.  I had to evacuate the house and when I came back I found power had gone out long enough to defrost everything in the freezer.  

    Guess who had just stocked up on thick prime ribeyes right before the storm.  I had lovingly vacuum sealed a bunch of them and once they thawed there was no point in freezing again so I cut them all up and made a HUGE pot of chili with the meat.  There was sooooooo much I had to give some to my Mother in Law and neighbors.   They all wanted to know when I was making the next batch.  I told them the answer was absolutely never!!!  That pot cost me a LOT of money…
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
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