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History of Texas Style Chili

Updated: Aug 22, 2023


There are different types of regional chili made in the United State. Texas style chili originated in the 1800's with a group of women called the Chili Queens of San Antonio. These women made chili at home and sold it to customers at the Military Plaza. They set up tables and chairs in the plaza like a market or bazaar selling their chili. The chili was sometimes served on tamales and enchiladas.

It was the most popular dish of the Chili Queens of San Antonio during the 1800's. Eventually the flea market or gathering in the square was shut down but the dish became very popular in Texas. In the early days they used ingredients that were available like meat, salt and chili peppers.

In the early recipes for Texas style chili the recipe used no beans or tomato sauce. In the 1800's wagon trains took prepared ingredients to cook over campfires. These dried ingredients included dried chile peppers, dried beef, suet, and salt pounded into block. This dried food staple could be preserved and cooked when tin a pot over an open fire as they traveled.

The authentic recipe for Texas style chili did not include beans or tomatoes. During the 1893 Chicago Exposition there was a San Antonio chili stand at the fair. Many consumers from all over the world tried the chili and liked it. Over time the recipe changed and added onion, beans, tomatoes, beef broth and beer.

It was not until 1977 that chili became the official dish of Texas. In the 1920s Texas was filled with chili parlors and restaurants that made their own original recipes. The Chili Appreciation Society International forbade cooks to use beans, suet, or marinate the meat in their recipe. Lady Bird Johnson make this recipe for her husband who was president and had had a heart attack. The version of the recipe is called . The recipe is found in the magazine Savuer.

The version of the recipe is called Lady Bird Johnson's Chili Recipe. It is found in the magazine Savuer.

Over the years the recipe for Texas style chili has changed and some cooks add tomato, beef broth, onion, beer, beans, and other ingredients. Texas style chili uses beef chuck steak instead of ground beef. It is spicy and may not be suitable for those that don't like hot peppers.

Some Chili Peppers Used For Chili

Source : Red Serrano Pepper: Shutterstock Russell Walker

Green Jalapeno Peppers: Source: Wikipedia

Texas Chili Style: Source: Wikimedia:

Healthy Texas Chili Con Carne

This recipe does not incudes beans but does add some ingredients not used in the original recipe. Beans and rice can be served on the side.

You will need a cutting board, knife, skillet or stew pot, bowl, measuring cup, and measuring spoons,

1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil

3 green jalapenos chopped and seeds removed

3 dried red serrano chiles seeds removed.

1 green Italian pepper chopped and seeded optional

1 yellow onion peeled and chopped peel discarded.

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 pound beef chuck steak chopped into bite sized pieces

1 cup beef broth

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup dark ale

First cut the jalapeno peppers and remove the seeds and discard. Dice into small pieces and put in bowl. Next cut the dried serrano Chile peppers and remove the seeds Dice into small pieces and add to bowl. Dice the green Italian pepper if desired and add to bowl. Peel skin of onion and cut off ends chop the onion into bite size pieces.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat or stew pot and add pepper and onion and chopped garlic sauté for about 10 minutes. Cut the beef chuck into bite size pieces and add to vegetable after they have cooked awhile. Let the meat brown for about 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup of beef broth, tomato sauce, and dark ale. Let it cook for 20 minutes and lower temperature, so broth boils off and reduces. Add more broth as needed to keep from drying out. Serve with beans and rice on the side. Serves 2 to 3 people.


Texas Chili History: How A Simple Bowl of Red Became the State Dish by Athena Hessany, Texas Hill County website

Cooking the Classics: Texas Chili by Noah Charney, 2016 FineDining Lovers

Gif Source: Wix

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