I am a former Cinci resident now on the east coast. Like many people at first I wasn't that impressed with Skyline but as time went on I became a full out addict. After leaving Ohio I had to order by the case ($100 ) online to keep my supply steady and my hands from shaking from withdrawl. I've tried many different fake recipes and none come close to the real deal. This recipe is BY FAR the best I've tried. I would still like to think in a double blind taste test I could pick out the original but it might be close. I did take in some of the other reviewer suggestions and agree they are necessary. First the meat needs to boil in the broth. I put the raw 85% lean meat, water with beef bullion, and onions (I only used 1 cup finely chopped) in a pot to cook stovetop. I used a mashed potato masher to break up the meat. My end result meat was still a little coarse compared to the original so next time i will use a blender or food processor to break it up finer. I went with 3T chili powder which did give it a little kick, 2.5T might be closer to the original but I like the heat. I added a bit of paprika as well. With 85% lean meat there is no need to skim any fat, it is just about right. After 1 hour I couldn't wait and ate some. It was good. Plan ahead and simmer for 2 hours if possible, its even better. After 2 hours too much liquid was gone so I would consider covering the pot after 45min or so. Also for rookies or non Ohioans out there it is essential you get "fancy shredded mild cheddar cheese". Regular shredded cheese (as shown in the picture) is too coarse and will ruin the dish. When plating a 3-way first put down a bed of spaghetti (regular spaghetti not thin spaghetti), spoon on the chili covering all but the edges ensuring plenty of liquid flows down through the spaghetti, then add a generous portion of cheese to cover all chili. Make sure the chili is not too hot, you only want that small portion of the cheese that is in direct contact with the chili to melt. The top of the cheese should be cool and unmelted. When you eat it for God's sake don't stir it up. Add the optional tobasco then use a knife to cut down through the 3 layers and use a fork to lift it to your mouth like a piece of lasagna. The cool cheese will hit the roof of your mouth and the spaghetti will sit on your tongue. When you are finished carry your plate to the sink, make sure your wife is not looking and lick the plate clean like a dog. To the reviewer who gave it one star complaining its not chili, your right. Its way better and you just don't understand. I feel sorry for you because you are missing out on one of the finer things in life.
A good Cincinnati chili but not Skyline. I've been transplanted to the left coast from Cincinnati and lived on Skyline while there. I made a 3 lb batch using 93/7 ground beef and these are the changes I made. In a crock pot, 3 lbs of 93/7 ground beef, 5 cups beef stock, 3 cups grated onion, 3 (8 oz) cans of tomato sauce, 5 TBS chili powder, 5 TBS unsweetened cocoa, 1 TBS granulated garlic, 3 tsp seasoning salt, 4 TBS soy sauce, 4 bay leaves. The rest of the ingredients of Tornado Ali's recipe I followed for a 2 lb batch. I just threw it all together in the crock and cooked it for 4 hours stirring every half hour to keep the consistency of the ground beef grainy and soupy. That's the way Skyline is. Oh, and by the way, a family member came up from Cincy who lives off Skyline and rated the above adjusted recipe a 9 out of 10. Thanks, Tornado Ali, for posting this. There will be lots of Skyline Copy at my place.
First of all, those of you who have no idea what Skyline is should not be rating this recipe. Secondly, you do not get the proper consistency in the chili if you brown and drain the beef. You have to cook it in the stock. Then you can remove the grease from the top with a ladel or cool the chili overnight and the grease will rise to the top and you can remove. If you brown and drain it first, you are not eating Skyline chili.
We are native "Cincinnatians" and have the pleasure of having Skyline whenever we want. This chili, however, is VERY close to the original. The only change I made was to put the browned beef and onion mixture (after it cooled) into the food processor and just pulsed it a few times to get the right consistancy (there should not be any lumps). Spouse (the spice lover) suggested more cayenne or cumin as he felt the original had a spicier after taste, but I thought it was great as is. We'll make often!
Very close. To get the right consistency, I modified the instructions. Add stock, beef, chopped onions, garlic in pot to a boil, then removed from heat. Using a hand blender ($30 for a basic one), grind the cooked meat and onions to the "twice ground" texture of Skyline. Added 1/2 tsp of paprika, additional 1 tsp of salt (total 1.5). Depending on how aggressively the simmering temperature is, I'll add some additional water before the final 30 minutes of simmering (usually about a cup), and I usually simmer for 2 hours total. 85% ground beef seems to be the right amount of fat (and doesn't need skimmed). 2.5 TBS total for chili powder seems to be close as well. Great recipe, thanks for posting...
OMG!! this recipe is FABULOUS!! i made a batch for guests for a football get together we had saturday (in honor of the Bengals playing)...needless to say, when they heard the ingredients i was putting into this dish, i got some sour puss faces and even an offer to order a pizza, this was a Calif. crowd who have never even HEARD of Cincinnatti Chili...HOWEVER, when i served it up, EVERYBODY loved it! i too boiled the beef in the beef stock to get the right consistency instead of browning it, i also used the whisk to break up the beef and that worked beautifully, other than that, i stuck to the recipe and didn't change a thing. the cheese is an absolute MUST, don't omit that...the flavor it adds is worth the extra calories, even my mother, who doesn't like cheese, put it on hers and loved it. it truly was a hit, my boyfriend absolutely couldn't believe how good it was (and he kept saying that too!) and was truly disappointed to learn there was none leftover the next day. the hardest part of this recipe is explaining to people that it ISN'T chili...it's more of a spaghetti sauce. this will definitely stay in the regular rotation. thank you so much, it's absolutely delicious!!
UPDATE: Okay...so I FINALLY got to go to an actual Skyline Chili (even though it was in Naples, Florida) and i have to admit....this recipe was pretty dang close in my opinion. I loved the fact i was finally able to compare it to the real deal. Still lovin' it, and still delicious!!
I made my first Cincy chili last night. Definitely a different flavor profile than traditional chili, but I really enjoyed it with the spachetti, cheese, and onions. I love making chili (and love reading about it too) but have always focused on the no-frills kind. My current version allows a small can of tomatoes and pinto beans, but other than that it's focsued on the beef and dried chiles. Interestingly, I NEVER add cheese or onions or crackers to my traditional chili. Just messes up a good bowl of red, and makes it too gloopy. But with Cincy style I was loving all the fixins. The cheese melts into the chili and and forms into a sauce almost. The onions give some nice crunch and bite. And the spaghetti is hearty and filling. I will definitely be making this again. To the uninitiated, I must caution -- do not expect this to taste like your regular chili. It really is a different dish entirely. It's more of a sauce for pasta than a traditional chili. And yes, the cinnamon and allspice, etc. take some getting used to. But when all put together, it makes an excellent meal.
I gave this recipe five stars because it is excellent. Not because I think a perfect copy of the authentic recipe. But, close enough. I'm a lifelong Ohio resident and have been a fan of Skyline Chili for 30 to 40 years. I recently tried a frozen package of the original spaghetti I found at Walmart. That inspired me to look online for a suitable substitute. Overall, I think the original is quite a bit more bland. For a more exact copy, I would dial down some of the ingredients. I wasn't looking for an exact copy and this is a great place for me to start. I used three tablespoons of chili powder. Next time I will use two. Chocolate in chili??? OK. I'm a believer. I can see how it belongs. I used the cocoa powder and next time I will use a little less. Also, I agree with those that recommend simmering the ground beef in the stock. As a topping for chili dogs or pasta, I like it a little less chunky. As for the kind of chili I would eat out of a bowl, my final version will end up being somewhere in between this and a more conventional recipe. Many thanks.
I gave this recipe 4 stars instead of 5, just because I agree with other reviewers that the technique is slightly different that traditional Cincinnati chili. When making this chili, you have to simmer the meat in the stock, not brown it ahead of time. <br/><br/>I used 1/2 grass fed 85/15 beef and 1/2 fresh local bison for a better nutrition profile and healthier fats. That may be too lean for some, but I like the flavor it adds. It didn't produce much fat to skim off, which was fine for me. I simmered the meat and onions in the stock for 30 minutes, then added the rest of the ingredients and simmered for 2 hours, adding just a little more water about 30 minutes before it was done.<br/><br/>I used my immersion blender to give the chili that very fine consistency you get with Skyline. But, the final step that I think is absolutely necessary is that you have to let it sit for many hours and allow the flavors to blend completely. I put it in the refrigerator all day (if I made it the morning) or overnight, otherwise. THEN, I skim off the fat, reheat and serve with spaghetti and cheese, onions (or whatever you like).<br/><br/>I think the flavor profile of this recipe pretty much nails it, butI can see tweaking it to personal spice preferences....maybe I'll try adding paprika next time, as one reviewer suggested. But, again, I think the most important step to creating a chili that closely resembles Skyline is letting it sit!
Not exactly skyline, but definitely a great substitute. I made a few minor changes to suit my taste. I used beef broth instead of stock, nutmeg instead of allspice, doubled the salt, added 1 tsp of paprika, a bit of extra chili powder (maybe 1/2 tsp), added two 14 oz can drained kidney beans directly to it. I browned the ground beef and threw everything into the crockpot and cooked it on high for four hours. If I made it again, I'd cut down on the beef broth by 1/2, to make a thicker chili. I served it over spaghetti with finely chopped onions and lots of shredded cheddar cheese. My husband who grow up in Cincinnati, gave it the thumbs up. This is definitely going into my regular dinner rotation.