Chili was born in Texas, and a “bowl o’ red” as it’s known, is a pretty simple thing. And I’m here to tell you, if a vaquero can cook this up on an open flame, under the big open sky of Texas with nothing around for miles, you can certainly make this in your own kitchen, no problem.

Texas Red Chili

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beef, Chili
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 672kcal
Chili the traditional way - no beans, just meat, chilis, and a few spices.
Print Recipe


  • 4 ounces dried chiles New Mexico (California), guajillo, or pasilla chiles, or a combination
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • Kosher salt
  • Cup Bacon fat may substitute vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds boneless beef chuck well trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup onion finely chopped
  • 5-7 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • cups water plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoon dark brown sugar firmly packed
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

For serving

  • Sour cream


For the chili paste

  • Heat a dry skillet over medium high heat. Toast the chilis, being careful not to burn. 2-3 minutes per side, until they become fragrant.
  • Place the chilis in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Use a plate to weight them down if necessary. Let them soak for 30 minutes. then drain, reserving the water,
  • Remove the stems and seeds, and place the chilis in a blender, along with the cumin, black pepper, 1 tablespoon of salt, and about a cup of the reserved liquid. Puree until smooth.

For the chili

  • Place a deep skillet or soup pot over medium high heat. Melt half the bacon fat in the pan, and sear the beef, about a pound at a time, until deeply golden, about 8 minutes. remove the beef to a large bowl.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low. Pour off any excess fat into the bowl with the beef.
  • Add the onions to the pan and cook until golden, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add 1 cup of the broth to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to release the flavorful brown bits.
  • Add the beef back into the pan, along with the chili paste and the remaining broth. bring to a low simmer. simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours. If the chili gets too dry, or the meat is not covered, add a little of the reserved chili liquid or some water.
  • Stir in the brown sugar and the vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes more, then add salt to taste.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream.


Sodium: 459mg | Calcium: 304mg | Vitamin C: 7mg | Vitamin A: 875IU | Sugar: 5g | Fiber: 6g | Potassium: 1174mg | Cholesterol: 175mg | Calories: 672kcal | Saturated Fat: 20g | Fat: 48g | Protein: 48g | Carbohydrates: 16g | Iron: 10mg