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bowl of Texas chili with onions and cilantro

Real Texas Beef 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


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


  • 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 1/4 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 1/2 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.


  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.


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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