Real Texas Chili (Chili Con Carne)

Total Time
2hrs 55mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs 25 mins

In Texas, putting beans in chili is prohibited by state law. This recipe does not use beans. Nor does it use tomato sauce or paste, common ingredients in so called "award-winning" chili recipes. If you're looking for authentic chili, this one's the real McCoy; an authentic recreation of the chili that was served in the days of the trail drives - where chili is said to have originated. Take your sweet time making this chili...nice and slow. Good Texas chili has to have time to ripen.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Grind the meat through the coarse blade of a meat grinder.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the meat in small batches in the bacon drippings.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked meat to a second large heavy skillet. Set aside.
  4. Wash the ancho peppers in cold water. Discard the stems and seeds, and tear the peppers into 2 inch pieces.
  5. Place the pieces of pepper in a small sauce pan with 2 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Drain the peppers, reserving the cooking water. Peel the skin from the peppers and place the peppers in the bowl of a food processor. Add the reserved water. Puree with short pulses.
  7. Mix the pureed pepper into the beef. Add 3 cups water. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. Stir in oregano, cumin, salt, cayenne, and garlic. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
  9. Mix in the masa harina. Cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking.
  10. If the mixtures is too thick, thin it with a small amount of boiling water.
  11. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  12. Serve with hunks of smokin' hot cornbread and a tall iced tea.


Most Helpful

My father's mom and dad used to own a sandwich shop (burgers and soups) years ago in Greenville, Texas and my father cooked in it. This is the way he always made the "authentic" texas red. I remember watching him soak the dried anchos when I was a kid but never got the actual recipe before he died, however, after tasting this recipe I have no doubt this is the same. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe!

Chef Menel February 16, 2012

This recipe sounds wonderful. I would have to adjust a few things. The peppers and flour aren't available in Ontario and I would replace those with jalapeno or similar peppers and unbleached all-purpose flour. I might, just might, add 1 can of kidney beans for texture!

Chef at Our Place in Ontario Canada August 16, 2009

This is the only way it should be done. Great recipe!!!!!

sctdvdltl March 27, 2009

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a