The Chili con Carne Project

The GREAT Chili con Carne Project, Part 7: CASI-Style Cookoff Chilis

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by Dave DeWitt

The Chili con Carne Project

Part 7: Cookoff Chilis, CASI-Style



Dorene Ritchey’s 5-R Chili

Hot Pants Chili

Buzzard’s Breath Chili

Judge Arly P. Haffazz Chili

John Billy’s Chili

Pedernales River Rat Chili

Fat Dog Chili

High Octane Chili

The Great Chili con Carne Project Index

The history of chili cookoffs begins with the Chili Appreciation Society International, which was the first organization to support the notion that chili is more than just meat and chiles–it’s a way of life. Despite controversy and warring factions, CASI has been enormously successful. According to the ChiliHeads of Arizona, in 1992 there were fifty CASI “pods” or clubs in the United States and Canada. That year CASI had more than 800 members, and some 9,000 cooks competed in 420 sanctioned cookoffs that raised $471,291 for charity. In 1993, CASI affiliates raised over $600,000 for charity. Affiliated CASI Pods sponsor and support local and regional Chili Cookoffs. In 2002, CASI sanctioned more than 500 Chili Cookoffs throughout the United States, Canada, and the Virgin Islands, and contributed over $1.2 million to worthy charitable organizations. For additional information, go to But here’s how it all began.

CASI–A History, Sorta

The late Jo Ann Horton, who was the editor of The Goat Gap Gazette, a publication devoted to chili, wrote the following “history” of CASI in 1989 for The Whole Chile Pepper magazine.

The Chili Appreciation Society was formed in 1951 by George Haddaway and Jim Fuller to “improve the quality of chili in restaurants and broadcast Texas-style recipes all over the earth.” When chapters began to form in other countries, the word International” was added to the name.

It was a non-dues-paying organization and members did their own secretarial work. Their bible was With or Without Beans by Joe Cooper of Dallas, which is now out of print. The Society slogan was: “The aroma of good chili should generate rapture akin to a lover’s kiss.” The organization was headquartered in Dallas.

The Society’s chapters had luncheon or dinner meetings about once a month over steaming bowls of red. Their ‘missionary endeavors’ would be discussed and members spent a lot of time answering letters from all over the world and sending out “approved” recipes to those who requested them. Vats of chili were even packed in dry ice and shipped to chili-starved members in Europe.

Haddaway–as Chief Chilihead–and a crew of Society members traveled to Mexico City to help start a new chapter. They signed up more than fifty new members there, all of whom raved enthusiastically about Chief Chili Cook Wick Fowler’s chili.

Wick Fowler at the Ladies Only
Chili Cookoff in Lukenbach, Texas,
when all the hurricanes were named for women.

Photo by Jo Ann Horton


By 1964 Haddaway and his honchos loaded up on Texas chili ingredients and headed for Los Angeles to establish a California chapter, which was duly installed at the Airport Marina Hotel. The Californians liked the chili and the Society, but warned the inexperienced: “Real chili con carne is not for sissies. Fowler’s Four-Alarm Chili is reputed to open eighteen sinus cavities unknown to the medical profession.”

Fowler went even further afield in his missionary work when, as a war correspondent, he took along a big supply of chile peppers and spices to Vietnam. There, he prepared and served the fiery brew to front-line troops. He said later that water buffalo meat made great chili.

The first Terlingua cookoff, held in 1967, was a fun promotion for Frank X. Tolbert’s book, A Bowl of Red, and land sales in that area for David Witts and Carroll Shelby. Tom Tierney, a public relations man, and Frank Tolbert dreamed up the idea and chose Wick Fowler (inventor of Two-Alarm Chili Mix), and Dave Chasen of Beverly Hills as the combatants. Chasen became ill, and humorist H. Allen Smith was chosen to replace him after Smith wrote an article entitled “Nobody Knows More About Chili Than I Do,” which was published in a 1967 issue of Holiday Magazine.

Francis X. Tolbert’s Famous
1967 Chili Tome,
A Bowl of Red


Because of the remoteness of the location, nobody thought spectators would come, but 209 chapters of CASI were represented. They flew into Chiricahaua Ranch and came in school buses to Terlingua. Judges for the first event were Hallie Stillwell, who voted for “Soupy” Smith; Floyd Schneider of Lone Star Beer, who voted for Fowler’s chili; and attorney David Witts. Witts tasted Smith’s chili, said his taste buds were paralyzed and declared he could not break the tie. The contest was called a draw by the referee, Frank Tolbert. Over 1,000 spectators attended.

In 1968, the second cookoff at Terlingua was also declared a draw by Tolbert. He had no choice–the ballot box was stolen by masked men with guns who threw it into an outhouse located over a mine shaft.

The third world championship saw C. V. Wood of California declared the winner over Wick Fowler. The third contestant, Wino Woody DeSilva, fell into his huge “chili wok,” and the judges didn’t want to taste his chili. Judges were said to be influenced by the bevy of starlets Wood had imported from California.

Wick Fowler finally won in 1970. C. V. Wood brought more girls and a double-decker bus, wore a crown of chile peppers and robes with fur, but declined to cook. That year marked the first time women were allowed to compete, and H. Allen Smith had Janice Constantine of Midland, Texas, arrested for “trying to cook chili while then and there being a female person.” It didn’t work. More than 5,000 spectators were on hand.

In 1972, Fred McMurry of Houston attended a CASI meeting in Dallas and then returned to Houston determined to form a CASI “Pod,” as he called it. His friends Allegani Jani and Tex Shofield assisted in signing up members and getting Fred elected “Great Pepper.”

From that moment on, CASI changed forever. Things began to get organized. Other Pods were formed, but for a while there were so few cookoffs that people flocked to every announced event, no matter how far away they lived. But the number of cookoff contests grew, and eventually “chiliheads,” as they were called, eventually developed such a listing of cookoffs that competition cooking is now akin to a professional sports circuit.

Cooks in today’s cookoffs might be termed “professionals.” They know a great deal about cooking competition chili, about herbs, spices, pots, stoves, cooking temperatures, the weather, and other factors affecting the outdoor cooking of chili. Although cooks are allowed to bring meat and vegetables such as onions already cut up, and spices mixed in advance, they must still cook the pot of chili on the spot.

The Cowchip Chili team wins yet
another showmanship trophy at
Flatonia, Texas.

Photo by Jo Ann Horton


Most members of CASI belong to “pods” and compete for points to get to the big cookoff, Terlingua. Cooks are given points for placing at sanctioned cookoff throughout the year: four points for winning, three for second, two for third, and one for fourth. At the end of the year, all cooks having enough points to qualify are invited to cook at Terlingua, always held the first Saturday in November.

Unfortunately, Terlingua can no longer legally be called “World Championship” because that phrase has been trademarked by the International Chili Society–it is now called “CASI Terlingua International Chili Championship.” But such legalities don’t matter to CASI members, who still view Terlingua as the “big one.” Even if they can’t cook there, they will likely go anyway and volunteer to judge or help in some manner. Nobody wants to be left out when it comes to Terlingua!

The Tale of Two Terlinguas

In addition to the rivalry between CASI and ICS, there has been a further dispute between CASI and some of its original members. When H. Allen Smith said that “the chief ingredients of all chili are fiery envy, scalding jealousy, scorching contempt, and sizzling scorn,” he summed up the most overcooked and underhanded argument between the two “Original Terlingua Chili Championships.” Two original cookoffs you say? How could that be? Well, here’s the lowdown on the lore, litigation and love lost at Texas’ most famous cookoff.

A Colorful Display at Terlingua


It all started out so innocently. Let’s flashback to the Baker Hotel in Dallas in 1967. Dallas Morning News columnist Frank X. Tolbert and friends are musing over an article in Holiday magazine titled, “Nobody Knows More About Chili Than I Do,” written by New York humorist H. Allen Smith. While feasting on bowls of Wick Fowler’s famous red chili, Tolbert, who also authored the Texas sacred scripture, A Bowl Of Red, thinks up the perfect scheme to let that New Yorker find out who really knows about chili: a chili cookoff challenge featuring Wick Fowler’s chili versus H. Allen Smith’s red.

The Great Chili Confrontation, as it was to become known, was scheduled to happen in the Texas ghost town of Terlingua. After much hype, the first Terlingua cookoff attracted more than 1,000 people, most who indulged in the shameless (and fun) debauchery that still exists to this day. Fowler and Smith cooked their chili, but there was no winner named. The contest was called off after a tie-breaking judge supposedly gagged on a spoonful of that New York chili. But great fun was still had by all, and they resolved to do it again.

The contest was almost too successful. After an article on the challenge appeared in Sports Illustrated, a national chili cooking craze ensued, and The Goat Gap Gazette was born. There was enough Terlingua and chili to go around for everyone–until the early ’80s, that is. The story goes that in 1982, Tolbert came to the cookoff with two European friends and insisted that they should be allowed to cook. Many of the other cooks protested because they had had to earn enough points to compete in what was then called the World Championship by qualifying at other cookoffs, and the foreign invaders had not qualified. The protesting cooks’ rationale was that everyone should observe the same rules and regulations.

Tolbert found the protestations ridiculous and set up a separate cookoff with his own loyal faction at Terlingua the following year. It was nicknamed the “Behind the Store” cookoff, because it was held behind Arturo White’s store, where it still exists to this day, known more formally as the vocal chord-gagging “Original Viva Terlingua International Frank X. Tolbert–Wick Fowler Memorial Championship Chili Cookoff.”

Just as tempers on both sides were reaching a boiling point, the groups became completely divided after a run of deceptions, tricks, and other assorted nastiness. In 1983, the two warring cookoffs were held on the same day. Tolbert then began the first litigation with a petition for trademark status of the term “Chili Appreciation Society” for his cookoff. By 1984, when the trademark was issued, Frank Tolbert had died.

Each year the flames of controversy between the cookoffs grew. In 1988, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the protesting cooks group, now known as CASI Inc., against the Fowler cookoff, and the use of the tagline “Chili Appreciation Society International.”

Frank Fox and Duke Walton in
their “four-fours” (too large for tutus)
at the Mexican International Cookoff
in Nuevo Laredo.

Photo by Jo Ann Horton


The U.S. federal judge who was assigned the case urged the two groups to work together to find an equitable solution, but there was no such luck. Judge Lucius Bunton of the Twelvth Western District ruled that the Tolbert faction had no claim to the trademark and gave it instead to CASI, Inc. However, the judge did refuse to rule whether which group had the right to call themselves the “Original” Terlingua cookoff. With $40,000 in legal fees apiece, both groups simply went away aggravated, vowing to cook at their own “original” Terlingua cookoff.

Today, there are still two rival cookoffs in Terlingua. The CASI cookoff is called “CASI Terlingua International Chili Championship,” and the Behind the Store cookoff is dubbed “The Original Viva Terlingua International Frank X. Tolbert–Wick Fowler Memorial Championship Chili Cookoff.”

Basic CASI Rules and Judging, Plus Hints

  • As might be imagined, there are extensive CASI rules and regulations for cookoffs, many too technical to get into here. The booklet Official CASI Rules contains forty pages of dense type and complicated regulations. But here are the basic rules.

  • All chili must be cooked on site and be prepared in the open.

  • All chili must be cooked from scratch, which means starting with raw meat. Commercial chili powder is permitted, but commercial mixes are not. Marinating meat is not allowed. Health requirements forbid home-butchered meat.

  • No fillers, such as beans, macaroni, rice, or hominy are permitted.

  • Each cook is responsible for cooking one pot of chili and turning in just one judging cup from that pot.

  • Cooks must prepare and cook chili in a sanitary manner and cook it under the cover of a tent or umbrella. The clean-up procedure requires three containers: one with soap and water, one with clean rinse water, and one with a small amount of bleach.

  • Any cook failing to comply with CASI rules is subject to disqualification from the cookoff.

  • An entire book or epic poem could be written on judging chili and probably will be some day. Until then, here are the basics on CASI judging:

  • Aroma: chili should smell good.

  • Red Color: chili should look good and the color should range from reddish to reddish brown. Shades of “gray, black, pink, or camoflage” are unappealing, as is excess grease.

  • Consistency: chili should be a good balance of meat and gravy. The meat should be tender but not mush.

  • Taste: chili should taste good. Judges believe that an excellent tasting chili will always stand out.

  • Aftertaste: Residual taste should be pleasant. A chile pepper “afterbite” is also permitted, but the degree of heat is a matter of personal preference.

  • There are numerous hints on how to prepare championship chili scattered throughout this book, but here are some specific ones for CASI cookoffs, courtesy of the ChiliHeads of Arizona:

  • Meat should be cubed; ground meat very seldom places.

  • All fresh ingredients (onions, garlic) should be run through a blender to make them smooth, since chunks tend to get low scores.

  • Some judges dislike beer or other alcohol in chili.

  • Use two spoons to taste your chili to avoid putting the spoon that was in your mouth back into the chili.

  • Ask other cooks to critique your chili.

  • Try your recipe at home and have friends and relative critique it.

  • As other experts have advised, you are cooking chili to please the judges, not to please yourself. Remember that judging varies from cookoff to cookoff, so don’t change your recipe too rapidly.


Following are a number of prize-winning chili recipes from CASI-Sanctioned cookoffs. For additional CASI recipes, log on to

Dorene Ritchey’s 5-R Chili

Dorene Ritchey says the most important ingredient in award winning chili is luck. However, as a three-time Terlingua champion, we believe there’s more than luck involved with her chili. Please note that a great bowl of red is not quickly made. Total cooking time of this recipe is 2½ to 3 hours.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

  • 2 pounds beef, boneless and trimmed of fat–shoulder arm, chuck, or chuck tender preferred, cubed

  • 1½ teaspoons hot sauce

  • 1 cup tomato sauce

  • 2 beef bouillon cubes

  • Water

  • 2 jalapeños, slit down the middle

  • Spice Mixture:

  • 6 tablespoons New Mexican red chile powder

  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion

  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic

  • 1 teaspoon MSG (optional)

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

  • 3/8 teaspoon ground cayenne

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed bay leaf

In a pot, melt the shortening and quickly sear the meat. Add the hot sauce, tomato sauce, bouillon cubes, water to cover, and one whole jalapeño. Simmer, covered, for 40 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water as needed and remove the jalapeño when it becomes soft. Squeeze any juice from the jalapeño into the mixture and discard the pulp and seeds.

Mix together the ingredients for the spice mixture, then divide it into three equal portions. During the last hour of cooking time add 1/3 of spice mixture and the second jalapeño. Continue cooking, adding water as needed. During the last half hour of cooking, remove the second jalapeño and squeeze in the juice, discarding the pulp and seeds. Add the second 1/3 of the spice mixture. Continue cooking, adding water as needed.

During the last 15 minutes, add the remaining spice mixture. Taste for seasoning and adjust the chili powder, cumin, and salt if needed during the last 5 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings

Heat Scale: Medium

Hot Pants Chili

This recipe is from the legendary Allegani Jani Schofield, who won the CASI Terlingua Cookoff in 1974. She is from Fredericksburg, Texas.

  • 4 pounds beef stew meat, ground once

  • 3 onions, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 heaping teaspoons comino (cumin) seeds

  • 6 cloves garlic

  • Water

  • 1 12-ounce can tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • ½ can beer

  • 2 packs Vanco chili seasoning (or chili powder of your choice)

  • 1 small pack Vanco chili powder (or chile powder of your choice)

  • 3 teaspoons mole paste

  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 quart water

  • 4 jalapeños, chopped

  • ½ cup masa (corn flour)

  • Water

In a pot, brown the meat and onions in the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Using a molcajete (mortar and pestle), grind the comino seeds and the garlic with a little water and add to the meat.

In a blender, combine the tomatoes, sugar, beer, chili seasoning, and chili seasoning and chili powder. Add the mixture to the meat.

Add the mole paste, Tabasco, salt, water and jalapeños and cook for 2½ hours, stirring well from time to time.

At the end of the cooking time, make a runny paste of masa and water and add it to the chili. This will thicken the chili, but stir it fast or it will be lumpy. Cook ½ hour more.

Yield: 6 servings

Heat Scale: Hot

Buzzard’s Breath Chili

Tom Griffin, a Houston stockbroker, was the CASI Terlingua champion in 1977 with this interestingly-named chili.

  • 8 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 3/8-inch cubes and trimmed of gristle and fat

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 large onions, chopped

  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped and crushed

  • 2 jalapeños, wrapped in cheese cloth

  • 1/4 cup chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1/4 to ½ teaspoon dried oregano

  • Cayenne powder, to taste

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 quart beef stock, homemade preferred

  • Masa harina

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons paprika

Brown the meat in oil in an iron skillet, about 2 pounds at a time, until gray in color. Place in a large, cast-iron chili pot.

Add the tomato sauce and water. Add the onion, garlic, jalapenos and chili powder.

Simmer for 20 minutes and then add the cumin, oregano, cayenne, and salt to taste. Add the beef stock and simmer covered until the meat is tender, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the masa to achieve the desired thickness, if needed.

Add the paprika for color and cook 10 additional minutes. Correct the seasoning to taste, discard the jalapeños, and serve.

A small amount of additional cumin enhances the aroma when added during the last 10 minutes.

Yield: 12 servings

Heat Scale: Varies, but usually medium

Judge Arly P. Haffazz Chili

This was the winning recipe at the CASI Terlingua International Chili Championship in 1980. It’s from Bob Moore of Terlingua, Texas.

  • 5 pounds boneless sirloin tip roast or a good shoulder cut, cubed

  • 4 tablespoons kidney fat, minced

  • 2 medium white onions, minced

  • 1 12-ounce can beer

  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

  • 1 cup hot water

  • 1 1/4 cups beef stock

  • 6 large cloves garlic, mashed with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil until a puree is formed

  • 5 tablespoons paprika

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 tablespoon flavor enhancer (Accent)

  • 1½ teaspoons white pepper

  • 11 tablespoons unblended chile powder (he grinds his own with various Mexican chiles)

  • 5 ½ tablespoons finely ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Japanese, de arbol, or cayenne chile (for additional heat)

In a skillet, brown the meat with 3 tablespoons rendered kidney fat until gray in color. Return the meat and natural juices to a cooking pot.

In the skillet, saute the onions in 1 tablespoon rendered kidney fat until translucent. Return to the cooking pot.

Add the beer, tomato sauce, hot water, beef stock, ½ the mashed garlic mixture, 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, flavor enhancer, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Simmer over a low heat 2 hours until the meat is tender. Be sure the pot has a tight lid as this will help the tenderizing process. Stir occasionally.

When the meat is tender, add the remaining garlic mixture, unblended chili powder, cumin, 3 tablespoons paprika, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper and the hot chile powder.

Continue cooking for 15 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let sit for 1 to 2 hours so the flavor of the spices is absorbed.

After resting for 1 to 2 hours, turn heat back on and continue to simmer for 1 more hour. Total cooking time is 3 hours, 15 minutes.

Yield: 10 servings for those with hearty appetites.

Heat Scale: Medium

Chili Cook’s Hint: If you don’t want to make your own chili powder, Bob suggests you use 10 tablespoons of a good commercial chili powder, cut the cumin down to 2 1/2 tablespoons, cut the paprika to 2 tablespoons, and omit the oregano.

John Billy’s Chili

This recipe is from John Billy Murray, of Humble, Texas, who won the Behind the Store cookoff in 1984. He notes: “The chili should be of a thick consistency, so that a 10-inch wooden spoon will stand upright in it, and then sink slowly to the bottom.”

  • 2 tablespoons rendered beef kidney suet, chopped, or the same amount of vegetable oil

  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cut in sugar-cube-sized chunks

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 4 large cloves garlic

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • ½ tablespoon MSG (optional)

  • ½ tablespoon salt

  • 3/4 cup (or more) beef bouillon or broth

  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

  • 4 heaping tablespoons chili powder

  • 1 heaping tablespoon ground red New Mexican chile or 1 large ancho chile, softened and peeled (see hint)

  • 2 tablespoons cumin

  • 3/8 teaspoon paprika

  • White pepper to taste, about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons

  • 1 large or 2 small jalapeños, seeds and stems removed, cut in half

In a large stainless steel pot, render enough fat from the suet to make approximately 2 tablespoons of fat. Remove the suet and discard. Add the beef cubes and cook over a high heat until the meat turns gray.

Add the onion, garlic cloves, garlic powder, 1/4 tablespoon MSG, 1/4 tablespoon salt and the beef bouillon. Cover and cook over medium heat at a rapid boil until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes. (The meat should be tender enough to squeeze flat between your fingers without bouncing back.)

Reduce the heat, add the tomato sauce, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. If desired, remove the garlic or mash the cloves and incorporate into the chili. Add the remaining MSG and salt, chili powder, ancho chile, cumin, paprika, white pepper and jalapeño halves. Cover and simmer an additional 45 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add additional broth (or liquid from softened ancho) very sparingly as needed during remaining cooking time to prevent meat from cooking dry. At the end of the cooking time, remove the jalapeños and discard.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Heat Scale: Medium-hot

Chili Cook’s Hint: To soften the dried ancho chile, seed and stem the pod and place under a broiler to blacken the skin. Soak the blackened chile in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Scrape the pulp from the skin and discard the skin.

1845 Brand Chili

This recipe is a living testament to the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Richard S. Slocomb won the 1972 Texas Men’s State championship with this simple, but tried and true treat.

  • 5 pounds coarsely ground chuck beef

  • 5 tablespoons comino seeds (cumin)

  • 5 large onions, chopped

  • 10 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 10 New Mexican red chile pods

  • 6 cups water

  • Oregano, to taste

  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, brown the beef. Once the meat is done, place the beef and its juice in a medium-sized stew pot. Add the comino seeds, chopped onions and garlic to the chili. In a medium pot, place the water to boil, adding the red chile pods once the water is bubbly. Boil for 10 minutes, or until the pods are very soft. Remove the soft pods and puree in a blender. Add the pureed pods, oregano, salt and pepper to the stew pot, stirring the mixture well. Cook the chili from 3 to 4 hours over medium heat, adding water and stirring as necessary.

Yield: 10 servings

Heat Scale: Medium

Pedernales River Rat Chili

The recipe features the creation of Lynn Hejtmancik, the 1988 winner of the CASI Terlingua International Championship.

  • 2 tablespoons Crisco

  • 3 pounds beef chuck, chili grind or 1/4-inch cubes

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 can (14 ½ ounces) beef broth

  • 2 beef bouillon cubes

  • ½ chicken bouillon cube

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons jalapeño hot sauce (your choice of brand)

  • Water

  • 4 tablespoons red chili powder (Dave Mark’s Chili Powder from San Antonio preferred)

  • 2 tablespoons Chimayo (New Mexican) red chile powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

  • 2 tablespoon jalapeño hot sauce (your choice of brand)

  • 8 ounces salt-free tomato sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon MSG (optional)

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons cumin powder

  • 1 tablespoon mild New Mexican red chile powder

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • Salt

  • Powder beef base

  • Garlic powder

  • Cumin powder

  • Cayenne pepper

  • White pepper

  • Arrowroot or flour

Heat the Crisco in a medium cooking pot. When the Crisco has melted and is very hot, add the meat and stir it until it is grey and starts to make its own juice. Add the paprika, onion powder, oregano, beef broth, both bouillon cubes, garlic powder, black pepper and jalapeño hot sauce. Mix well and add enough water to cover the meat plus about 1 inch. Stir the chili every 10 minutes, and cook covered at a medium boil for 30 minutes.

Skim all of the unwanted grease off of the top of the chili and add the chili powder, Chimayo red chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and jalapeño hot sauce. Continue to stir and cook the chili until the meat is tender. Once the meat is done, lower the heat and add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, MSG (if desired), and black pepper. While the chili continues to cook, in a separate bowl combine the cumin powder, New Mexican mild red chile powder, garlic powder and onion powder. Mix well, and add to the chili a teaspoon at a time, stirring and tasting between each addition, until you are pleased with the taste. You need not use the entire spice combination. Finally, adjust to taste with powder beef base (if it needs more salt), garlic, cumin, cayenne, and white pepper. Thin the chili with beef broth or water if necessary. To thicken, add arrowroot or flour. Turn off the heat–the chili is now ready to eat, chill, or freeze.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Heat Scale: Medium-Hot

Fat Dog Chili

This chili could have been called Double Luck Chili, having won both the Texas Men’s State Championship in 1987, and the CASI Terlingua International Chili Championship the same year! This recipe by David Henson will definitely delight your guests.

  • 4 ½ tablespoons minced onions

  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Trappey’s Green Dragon preferred)

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons Crisco

  • 2½ pounds chuck tender, cut in ½ inch cubes

  • 1 can beef broth

  • 4 to 6 whole jalapeños

  • 3 tablespoons commercial chili powder (an assortment of brands)

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed bay leaf

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup tomato sauce

  • 3 tablespoons New Mexican red chile powder (an assortment of types and brands)

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ cup tomato sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Gebhardt’s chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon cumin

  • 1/16 teaspoon sweet basil

  • 1/16 teaspoon brown sugar

In a non-reactive bowl, soak the minced onions, garlic, hot sauce, and salt together for 20 to 30 minutes before starting the chili.

In a medium stew pot, melt the Crisco and brown the meat. Add the soaked onions and the beef broth, floating the jalapeños on top of the mixture. Cook the chili for 1 hour, then remove the jalapeños, squeezing the juice from them into the chili and discarding the pods. Next, add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, oregano, bay leaf, salt, and tomato sauce. Cook for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

Add the red chile powder, cumin, garlic, and tomato sauce. Continue to cook the chili on medium heat About 15 minutes before serving, add the Gebhardt’s chili powder, cumin, basil, and brown sugar. Stir well and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Heat Scale: Medium-hot

High Octane Chili

Jerry Hunt of Shreveport, Louisiana won the granddaddy of all cookoffs–the CASI Terlingua International Chili Championship in 1990 with this top recipe.

  • 3 pounds chili grind beef

  • 1 10½ -ounce can beef broth

  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

  • 4 tablespoons onion flakes

  • 2 teaspoons beef-flavored base or bouillon

  • 1 teaspoon chicken-flavored base or instant bouillon

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 4 tablespoons chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne

In a Dutch oven, brown the beef, retaining the juices in the oven. Add the beef broth and tomato sauce to the beef. Combine the onion flakes, beef and chicken bouillon, garlic powder, chili powder, and hot pepper sauce in a separate container. Add the spice mixture to the beef and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

Combine the black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne in a separate container. Add the spices to the chili and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Last, combine the chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. Add to the chili, stir, cook for 30 minutes, then serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Heat Scale: Hot

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