In Texas, chili is all about meat and spices. This Texas chili recipe won’t disappoint. Large chunks of seared beef are seasoned with ancho and guajillo chiles which lend it earthy, deep and sweet taste with a good amount of spiciness that anyone will enjoy. This is definitely the best Texas chili I’ve ever made, or tried for that matter, and I am sure you will enjoy it too.
What makes this Texas chili recipe the best?
This chili is made of layers upon layers, upon layers of intense flavors from top to bottom. It starts with a cut of beef with intense beefy flavor. The meat is cut into bite-size pieces which are browned to perfection all around.
As someone who spent quite some time in Texas, I learned to appreciate no beans and real chili peppers instead of the usual ‘chili powder’ in my chili. That’s right, this recipe uses real ancho and guajillo chiles, which gives it its amazing flavor, taste and intense color. I made this chili just spicy enough to maintain its character, but not too spicy so as to not be a turn off to those who aren’t into very spicy food.
A true Texas chili must use lard, that’s one of the essential components that make it Texas style chili. This recipe does not use lard, which is commonly found in Texas style chili, instead, it uses pork fat rendered from strips of bacon. It’s the same thing, essentially, but fat rendered from bacon slices add way more flavor. Besides, it leaves you with some some crispy bacon bits you can snack on while cooking.
In general, this recipe is very balanced and super enjoyable. When I crave chili, this is the one I immediately think about.
Recipe adapted with changes from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse.
Best Texas Chili Recipe
For step 1 - seared beef
- 4 lbs beef chuck (trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 Tbsp ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
- 4 bacon slices (cut into 1-inch pieces)
For step 2 - the chili
- 2 onions (medium size, chopped)
- 1 green bell pepper (chopped)
- 2 jalapeno peppers (seeded and membrane removed, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 lbs ripe tomatoes (skin removed and chopped (or use canned crushed tomatoes)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 Tbsp ground ancho chile
- 1 Tbsp guajillo chile
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
For step 3 - adding herbs and adjusting seasonings
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro (chopped)
For step 4 - adding garnishes and serving
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Chopped red onion
- Sliced green onions
Step 1 - searing the beef
- Season the beef with 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat a large dutch oven. Toss in bacon pieces and cook over high heat until brown and crispy. Remove the bacon and save for other uses, we just use it for the flavor in this recipe.
- Add the beef in small batches and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer the beef to a separate bowl and set aside.
Step 2 - cooking the chili
- Add the onions, green peppers, and jalapenos into the Dutch oven and stir well, scraping bits from the bottom. Season the vegetables with a few turns of salt and pepper and cook until soft.
- Throw in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the meat and juices back to the pot. Add the broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, chilies, cumin, and brown sugar. Stir well, cover and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to medium low, partially cover with a lid and and simmer for about 2 - 2 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender.
Step 3 - adding herbs and adjusting seasonings
- Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Add the oregano, lime juice and cilantro. Check for salt and pepper and adjust to taste. Add more ground chiles for more heat if desired. Stir well and turn off heat.
Step 4 - serving the chili
- Ladle chili into bowls and top with chopped red onions, green onions and cheddar cheese.
If you are looking for a tomato-less version of Texas chili, try this excellent recipe by Epicurious.