Traditional Texas Chili – Chili CookOff Award Winner

Traditional Texas Chili – Texas Red Chili Recipe

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Real Traditional Texas Red Chili Recipe

Traditional Texas Red Chili means two things for sure, no beans and no tomatoes.

Traditional Texas chili, this recipe is something any chili lover will dream of when the weather begins to change.  A beautiful base of fresh and dried chilis makes this recipe deep with flavor and just plain good.

Winner of the “People’s Choice Award“.  A few years ago I was honored with this award at a Chili CookOff in Austin Texas.

Traditional Texas chili is also referred to as “Texas Red” or “Texas Red Chili”. The word “Red” comes from the fresh and dried chiles used in the recipe.

When it comes to Texas chili competition there are a few things to consider. First is you will never see beans in the recipe. Second no tomatoes either. This might surprise some of you, but it’s the law of the land with no exceptions. Something else that matters is the size of the cut on the vegetables. They really need to be so small or cooked down that they aren’t really noticeable. This is, in a nutshell, competition Chili in Texas.

Ok we got the “Rules” out of the way, “No Beans & No Tomatoes”.  To a lot of you reading this, you might be thinking to yourself what is Traditional Texas Chili then?…

Traditional Texas Chili comes from the days past, when the cowboys were out on the chuckwagon trails and had limited supplies. In the southwest, there has always been an abundance of Chiles, Peppers and Beef. Wasn’t long before these ingredients all came together and became what is known today as real traditional Texas chili or Texas Red. Remember! NO Beans & NO Tomatoes.

The chiles, and the balance of the meat cooked correctly is the key. Simmering the chili for a few hours is a good idea, but not required. I would suggest leaving out cuts of meat like cubed Chuck / Brisket if your in a time crunch. Just use the ground beef. The key to using the chiles to their maxium flavor is using half of them and creating a course purre of them in a food processor and cooking the other half in a saute pan and sweeting out some of the natural oils and getting the chiles to release some of their water.

Below we will get into some of the most common chiles used.

And there you have it, the base of what traditional Texas Chili is all about.

#Amazing #chili #texas

Photo of Real Texas Red Chili –

Photo credit to –

Agentseven at en.wikipedia

texas red chili

Let’s talk Chiles Peppers for a moment

The list of the Chiles in our Traditional Texas Chili Recipe

Below you can expand each Chile name for some quick information, description, Scoville units (heat levels), photos, etc.

Guajillo Chile


  • heat index 2,500-5,000 Scoville units
  • used in pastes, butter or rubs to flavor all kinds of meats, especially chicken

The guajillo chili is characterized by its thin, deep red flesh. It has a mild green tea flavor with berry overtones, only a small amount of heat. They are sometimes used to make the salsa for a sweet taste with a surprisingly hot finish.

Poblano Pepper

Poblano Pepper

  • heat index 1,000-2,000 Scoville units
  • commonly used in mole sauces

The poblano is a mild chili pepper. Dried, it is called an Ancho Chile. The ripened red poblano is significantly hotter and more flavorful than the less ripe, green poblano. The flavor and heat can be unpredictable, occasionally they can have significant heat. One way to pick out Poblanos at the grocery store is the ones with the curve stems are hotter.

Ancho Chile Pepper


    • heat index 1,000-2,000 Scoville units
    • Ancho along with Pasilla and Guajillo make up the “holy trinity” widely used in mole sauces

    Ancho is the dried form of Poblano chiles and the most widely available dried chiles. Different peppers from the same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity.

Anaheim Chile Pepper
  • Anaheim chile peppers


    • heat index 500-2,500 Scoville units
    •  commonly used in salsas, and can be roasted and stuffed to make Rellenos

    The mildest variety of chili pepper also called California chili or Magdalena. Since Anaheim peppers originated from New Mexico, they are also sometimes also known as New Mexico peppers. Varieties of the pepper grown in New Mexico tend to be hotter than those grown in California.

  • Jalapenos

    • heat index 2,500–10,000 Scoville Units
    • most widely used chile pepper

    Jalapeno is a medium-sized chili pepper, mature it is 2–3½ inches long and is commonly picked and consumed while still green, occasionally it is allowed to fully ripen and turn a beautiful crimson red. One of the most if not the most common chiles in the United States it is a staple of many tailgates.

Red Bell Pepper
  • red-bell-peppers

    Sweet Pepper often what Paprika is made from

Fresno Chile Pepper
  • fresno chile pepper

    Fresno peppers are like Red Bells little brother. Fruit flavor and can bring a very small amount of heat to a dish, but not much if any in the way of being hot

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The sky is the limit when making chili. This article was certainly about Traditional Texas Chili, but one of the best parts of cooking is you’re the chef and can do whatever you like. Experimenting with different meat combinations can become your signature. Have you ever thought about using Beef shank? Just an idea. Please enjoy and signup for our newsletter.

Check out this article on UnderBlade Steak…Such a cool cut of meat

underblade steak

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Texas red chili recipe

Real Traditional Texas Chili Recipe

Steven Pennington
Real Traditional Chili made with fresh and dried Chiles
4.55 from 20 votes
Prep Time 12 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 12 mins
Course Southwestern
Cuisine Texan/American
Servings 8 people


  • 1 to 2 pounds Beef Chuck Roast cut into 1/2-inch cubes ( Brisket Works Well )
  • 1 pound of coarse Ground Beef
  • 2 Ancho Chiles
  • 2 Dried Guajillo Chiles
  • 1 large Sweet Vidalia Onion diced
  • 1 Large Poblano Pepper diced
  • 1 large Red Bell Pepper stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1 Fresno Chiles stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1 Anaheim Peppers stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 of one Jalapeno
  • 4-8 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 3/4 tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Ancho Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Ear of Corn Cut off the Cob
  • 1 Can of Beef Stock Homemade if you have it
  • Salt & Black Pepper - To Taste - Around 1 tbsp of salt 1/2 tbsp of Pepper
  • Optional one 12-ounce bottle beer Shiner Bock
  • Optional 1-2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly Sliced Scallions Garnish
  • Topper - Sour Cream
  • Optional - Ibarra Mexican Chocolate Add near the end of the cooking process 1/2 tablet Mexican chocolate (about 1 1/2 ounces)


Making the Base

  • In a food processor add in half of the onion, half of the Anaheim pepper, one whole Fresno chile, half of one red bell pepper, half of one poblano pepper, 4-8 cloves of garlic, half or full jalapeno and corn. Place the guajillo chiles, ancho chiles into hot water to soften. About 4 minutes, then and add chiles to the food processor and combine. Pulse until coarsely chopped. See video above

Making the Chili

  • Add some oil & butter to a large pot ( few tablespoons) and add the chopped onion and all the peppers, sweat for 3 minutes. Next step add in the chiles from the food processor and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. (Releasing the peppers/chiles natural water & oils). Add the ground beef next and combine. Repeat with the cubed chuck roast or brisket and cook for 2 minutes. (Browning the cubed beef first brings more flavor) (If you use brisket expect longer cooking time till tender). Add all dry herbs & spices, plus Salt (Add salt to your tastes-Tbsp). Lastly, add the Beef stock. ( If you don't have beef stock or beef broth, use chicken stock instead).

Cooking the Chili

  • If using Chuck Beef allow the chili to cook at least 30 minutes up to a few hours or longer. If the chili reduces too much, add more stock or water. While cooking the chili, partly cover the top so it will not reduce to quickly.
  • If using Brisket, the Brisket will require longer cooking times until tender, cook time around a minimum of 2 hours.


Traditional Texas Chili – Chili CookOff Award Winner


Traditional Texas Chili does not have beans or tomatoes. Please add them still if you like them as they go great with this recipe. One can of fire roasted tomatoes and one can of your favorite beans like pinto or kidney.
Keyword Traditional Texas Chili Recipe
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Traditional Texas Chili – Chili CookOff Award Winner

Chef Steven Pennington

Chef Steven Pennington

Content Creator

Le Cordon Bleu Chef sharing food adventures from around the world with a style of cooking rooted in southwestern flavors using French culinary technique.

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traditional texas chili recipe