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"Era" Real Texas Beef Chili

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Tender chunks of beef enveloped in a deep, spicy and smoky sauce with absolutely NO BEANS for the most comforting of real Texas chili!

Note this is an update (9/14/19) to an earlier post.

bowl of Texas chili with onions and cilantro

I'm a Texan through and through, so when I started cooking, two of the first things I learned to master were the low and slow art of smoked brisket and Texas red chili. Follow my tips and steps for a nice pot of "Texas Red" and I promise you will elevate your chili game making hearty, flavorful, and comforting chili. This is actually award-winning chili, as it once earned me the title of Chili King of Chicago and for proof check this Timeout Magazine Chili Cook-off write-up.

Musical Inspiration For Texas Chili Recipe

This recipe includes a few ingredients that are atypical of a chili recipe, but I'm feeling like we're in a new era where you can honor tradition while challenging convention a lil bit. PRyme's song "Era" puts me in that frame of mind. Checkout the link below to sample the song.

What Makes This Chili Texan?

A few ground rules first and foremost; no matter what era you are from or are living in, Texas chili means steak chili with no frickin beans. There is nothing worse than seeing a post for Texas-style chili and noticing the recipe calls for beans. It's like finding out the Humpty Hump and Shock G were the same person or that Milli Vanilli were lip syncers.

Once beans enter the picture the dish becomes bean + something else, as in beans with ground beef or beans with stewed vegetables. Well not quite the same since Milli Vanilli were wack regardless, but you get more point, no fricking beans. Real Texas chili is also beef. Nothing against pork, chicken, or squash, but in Texas we all about that beef.

Please, whatever you do don't ever serve any self-respecting Texas chili with beans and no beef. That's just downright offensive. Leave out the beans, and for that matter skimp on all vegetables to make more room for beef. Gravy, beef, and chilis are all you need.

Texas Chili Ingredients

The key to this chili is using a good mix of dried, fresh, and ground chilis. It gets a good beefy boost from the chuck and broth. Dark chocolate and a dark beer provide depth. What should stand out in the image is the fact that Texas chili is really beef, chilis, and gravy. Besides the onions and garlic, there are no crazy vegetables.

How To Make Texas Chili (Step by Step)

Step 1: Make spice seasoning mix

Mix all the dried spices (cumin, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, oregano, chili powder) in a bowl and set aside.

Step 2: Make the chili puree

dried chilis roasting in pan

Toast the chilis in a skillet first

rehydrating dried chilis

Rehydrate the chilis by soaking them in hot water. You may need to put a small saucer on top to weight the chilis down.

puree chilis

Add the garlic, rehydrated chilis, and chipotles to a blender. Puree using some of the soaking liquid.

Step 3: Saute

bacon frying in pan

Cook the bacon in a skillet. Remove, leaving grease behind, and set aside.

beef browning in pan

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add vegetable oil. Add beef chunks seasoned with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in the bacon grease. Be sure not to crowd the pot, cooking in batches if necessary. Transfer browned beef to a bowl.

sauteing diced vegetables

Lower the heat to medium and add more oil if necessary. Saute the onions for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the fresh peppers and about a ¼ of the spice mix cooking for 2 minutes.

Step 4: Make the red chili gravy

pouring beer in pan with vegetables

Add the beer to the pot and deglaze. Cook long enough to reduce the beer by ⅓ - ½

adding puree to pot

Reduce the heat, add the chili puree and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring as necessary, about 15 minutes. Add ½ the remaining spice mixture,

adding bay leaves

Add bay leaves and beef broth. Mix in well.

Step 5: Cook the chile

Add the beef back to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until meat is tender and broth is thickened, about 2-3 hours. Add the chocolate last 15 minutes of cooking. Add the vinegar before serving. Add more seasoning if necessary. Allow the chili to sit at least an hour and up to overnight to allow the flavors to meld. Serve with your preferred toppings.

What Are Good Substitutes for Beef

Technically if we're not going to use beef then we can't call it Texas chili; it's Texas chili - ish! In all seriousness, you prefer chili with no beef, I would substitute ground turkey in this recipe. You'll also have to use a different stock (chicken or vegetable).

The depth of flavor and complexity will all still be there, but you may have to add a little extra seasoning to the ground beef before cooking it since turkey tends to be a bit more bland. If you're looking for meatless, vegan chili recipes try one of these 17 Vegan Chili Recipes.

What Are Good Chili Toppings

I think you'll find that this chili can stand alone, but certainly feel free to add any of your favorite toppings. I recommend the usual suspects:

  • Green onions
  • Diced red onions
  • Shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterrey Jack)
  • Fritos for that crunch
  • Sour Cream
  • Pickled Jalapenos

texas chili in a bowl

What Type of Chilis Should I Use To Make An Authentic Texas Chili

Everyone has their own secret and favorite seasonings for chili. When it comes to the actual chilis you see more similarities with most people focusing in on only a few. This is where I differ. I use about 7 different chili types across fresh, dried, and ground variations.

Fresh Chilis

For fresh chilis I go with the green trio of serrano, poblano, and jalapeno. Serrano packs the most heat followed by jalapenos and poblano, but don't fret over the heat as you can remove the seeds and veins to make them all mild. This is actually my preference as doing so puts you on the path to experiencing the flavor without having your mouth on fire and just experiencing the heat.

Dried Chilis

My version of chili incorporates a mole approach common in certain Mexican cuisines. Moles utilize chilis that have been dried and preserved. This process gives them all kinds of flavor characteristics including smoky, nutty, fruity, etc. Because of this I add a few different ones to get an even more dynamic flavor. My go to are the ones I find readily available in most grocery stores (Hispanic aisle):

Ancho - dried poblano; Flavor is rich and complex flavor which I'd describe as sweet and earthy, and

Guijillio - Mild heat, subtle in flavor and more fruity than sweet. They are bright red which give the chili a distinct red color

Pasilla - Dark black chili that is very fruity almost raisin-like. It's fairly mild as well. It has a soft texture and when paired with ancho chilis give a bit of thickness to the dish

To use them you'll have to rehydrate them by allowing them to sit in hot water. You can then remove the seeds before pureeing them in your blender to get them to a sauce-like consistency. You'll then add them to your chili as almost like a tomato sauce.

Ground Chilis

Most people just use commercial chili powder which is often a blend of several different spices and chilis. Feel free to do the same in this recipe. However, if you want to create your own "secret spice mix" use individual ground chilis.

Many local spice shops offer a variety, but if you don't have the luxury of having one nearby check the bulk spice section of your grocery store or shop online - Pendery's, Penzy's, Spice House, etc. are all great options. Some of my favorite ground chilis include morita (very smoky), chipotle (also smoky), and New Mexico.

Can You Make This Recipe Ahead of Time

As with many slow cook type recipes (stews and soups), time is your friend. The chili will actually taste better after a day/night of sitting. All those flavors will come together in an impressive display of balance. This chili will be great served the day of, but it's actually better the next day in my opinion.

Texas Chili Cooking Tips

Real Texas beef chili is bold, intense, and complex in flavor. To achieve such a profile there are a few considerations:

  1. For extra depth of flavor, take remove the fat from the beef chuck and fry it first. Then brown the beef in it as well as saute your vegetables
  2. Season and season often. It's not how much you add but when and how. Season as you saute the garlic and onions, season as you cook down the beer, season as you gently simmer the chili. This approach ensures full-flavored and balanced chili.
  3. Taste as you go and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  4. Brown the beef first! This is the first order of cooking as it intensifies the flavor and adds to the texture.
  5. Give your dish some heat from multiple ingredients other than chili powder. Use a combination of ground, dried, and fresh chilis. This approach yields flavor, aroma, color, and texture. Fresh chilis like jalapenos or poblanos will add freshness and brightness, fresh spiciness, while the chipotles in adobo sauce give the chili that smokiness. Similarly the dried chili paste adds complexity and depth of flavor.
  6. Control the heat by moderating seeds in the dried chilis
  7. Use a dark beer to deglaze the pan and add more flavor complexity.
  8. Simmer the chili for at least an hour and a half. This will allow the beef to become tender and allows all the flavor contributors to meld.
  9. Add some acidity from a slice of lime or cider vinegar at the end of cooking. This will open the chili up and release much of the flavor.
  10. If you can swing it, make the chili a day early and let the dish marinate overnight. The chili will be that much better for it.
  11. Choose the right cut of beef. Most recipes call for ground beef, which I love, but this recipe is more about chunks of tender beef. For this chuck roast is the beef of choice. Avoid anything that is labeled Stew meat or similar lean cuts as they will likely never get tender. It's okay to remove any large flaps of fat, but don't skew so far. The key is just to give it enough time for the beef to slowly cook to tenderness.

MORE BEEF BASED RECIPES

Coffee Rubbed Hanger Steak  

Smoked Jerk Beef Oxtails

Nigerian Beef Suya

Braised Beef Neck Bones

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Haitian Soup Joumou (Beef & Pumpkin)

Beef Brisket Chili

MAKE THIS CHILI

Make this authentic Texas chili today! If you make it, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

bowl of Texas chili with onions and cilantro

Real Texas Chili

Tender chunks of beef enveloped in a deep, spicy and smoky sauce with absolutely NO BEANS for the most comforting of comforting chili!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Texan
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 652kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 3 dried ancho chiles
  • 3 dried guajillo chiles
  • 4 dried pasilla chiles
  • 2 chipotle chilis in adoba sauce use sauce only
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck trimmed and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 large poblano pepper de-seeded and diced
  • 3 jalapeno peppers de-seeded and dice
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves unpeeled
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 bottle of dark lager beer
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 dark chocolate bar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Heat a large, dry skillet over high heat and toast dried chilis in batches, until browned in spots but not burned, 30 to 45 seconds per side.
  • Mix all the dried spices in a bowl and set aside.
  • Cut dried chilis in half lengthwise; remove stems and seeds. Place the dried chiles in a large heatproof bowl. Pour very hot water over the chiles until submerged and let soak for 45 minutes, placing a plate on top of chiles to keep them submerged.
  • Peel garlic cloves and place cloves in blender. Add all the soaked chiles, plus the adobo sauce from the can of chilis, along with a cup of the soaking liquid. Puree until smooth.
  • Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, using a rubber spatula to press the puree through. Set puree aside.
  • In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat add vegetable oil. Season the beef with salt and pepper and lightly brown the meat. Be sure not to crowd the pot, cooking in batches if necessary. Transfer browned beef to a bowl.
  • Lower the heat to medium and add more oil if necessary. Saute the onions for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the fresh peppers and about a ¼ of the spice mix cooking for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high and add the beer reducing the liquid by half.
  • Reduce the heat, add the chili puree and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring as necessary, about 15 minutes. Add ½ the remaining spice mixture, the broth, oregano, bay leaf, and the beef. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until meat is tender and broth is thickened, about 2-3 hours.
  • Add the chocolate last 15 minutes of cooking.
  • Add the vinegar before serving. Add more seasoning if necessary. Allow the chili to sit at least an hour and up to overnight to allow the flavors to meld. Serve with your preferred toppings.

Notes

  1. Season and season often. It's not how much you add but when and how. Season as you saute the garlic and onions, season as you cook down the beer, season as you gently simmer the chili. This approach ensures full flavored and balanced chili.
  2. Taste as you go and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  3. Brown the beef first! This is the first order of cooking as it intensifies flavor and adds to the texture.
  4. Give your dish some heat from multiple ingredients other than chili powder. Use a combination of ground, dried, and fresh chilis. This approach yields flavor, aroma, color, and texture. Fresh chilis like jalapenos or poblanos will add freshness and brightness, fresh spiciness, while the chipotles in adobo sauce give the chili that smokiness. Similarly the dried chili paste add complexity and depth of flavor.
  5. Use a dark beer to deglaze the pan and add more flavor complexity. 
  6. Simmer the chili for at least an hour and half. This will allow the beef to become tender and allows all the flavor contributors to meld.
  7. Add some acidity from a slice of lime or cider vinegar at the end of cooking. This will open the chili up and release much of the flavor.
  8. If you can swing it, make the chili a day early and let the dish marinate overnight. The chili will be that much better for it.
  9. Choose the right cut of beef. Most recipes call for ground beef, which I love, but this recipe is more about chunks of tender beef. For this chuck roast is the beef of choice. Avoid anything that is labeled Stew meat or similar lean cuts as they will likely never get tender. It's okay to remove any large flaps of fat, but don't skew so far. The key is just to give it enough time for the beef to slowly cook to tenderness.

Nutrition

Calories: 652kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 2253mg | Potassium: 2003mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 11625IU | Vitamin C: 50.2mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 10.3mg
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Recipe Rating




Veronika

Sunday 10th of January 2021

Wow! This recipe looks so interesting! I've never tried it before but putting it on my to-do list to make some time soon!

Eva

Saturday 9th of January 2021

What a dish! All those chilies, and the addition of the dark chocolate at the end. I love learning about new recipes and this was very inspiring.

Tracy

Saturday 9th of January 2021

Delicious! Texas really knows how to do beef and chili, that's for sure! We loved this!

Tammy

Friday 8th of January 2021

Bring on the heat!! My mouth is watering at all those spices and flavorings. There is nothing more comforting than a hearty chili and this one sounds perfect!

Chef Dennis

Wednesday 6th of January 2021

Hmmm yum! Just knowing that this is spicy....my taste buds are in chaos! This Real Texas Chili looks soooo delicious!