Championship Award Winning Texas Style Cook Off Chili Recipe

Posted January 2, 2019 by Stephanie

It’s chili season! If you’re looking for the Texas chili championship cook off recipe, click here to skip to the recipe. For a little bit more about what we’ve been up to and more on Texas chili in general, read on.

Happy New Year! Did you guys ride out 2018 in style? Mike and I had a nice little low-key celebration that ended with champagne and fireworks, but in a quiet sort of way. We’ve both been sick for the last little while – sucks to have a major cold during the holiday season – but it was still really fun. I’m a big baby when it comes to being sick and it seems like ever December, I get sick. Still, I’ve been powering through and other than spending loads of time under the kotatsu (a Japanese heated table with a blanket) I’ve been pretty good. I have lost my voice multiple times though.

Championship Award Winning Texas Style Cook Off Chili Recipe |

Anyway, this time around, instead of the kind of sick where you waste away and don’t want to eat anything, I’ve been ravenous. That means we’ve been eating all the soups and stews, and of course, chili. Are you guys fans of chili? I love a good bowl, especially the kind that doesn’t have beans. And, luckily for me, Texas chili is just the chili I like, with nary a bean in sight. Well, the truth is that some Texas chilis have beans in them, especially if they’re made at home or are an “eating chili.” But, if you going into chili cook off territory, it’s been decreed that beans are straight up off limits.

Championship Award Winning Texas Style Cook Off Chili Recipe |

Cook off chilis are meant to be a simple as possible, with maximum flavor being created from meat and spices. According to all the competitions, cook off chili should be the right consistency, not too thick or thin, and definitely not lumpy or grainy. Speaking of consistency, most of the chili competitors use garlic and onion powder instead of fresh garlic and onions because using powder gives you a consistent result. Fresh ingredients can vary in size and flavor, so instead of adding an element of unpredictability, most serious chili-heads go for known factors.

All the competition style chili recipes I found online followed the same general steps:

  1. Brown the meat, then simmer with broth, tomato sauce, and and mix of spices.
  2. Let the chili rest.
  3. Bring it up to a boil and add a second dump of spices.
  4. Finish with hot sauce and serve to judges.

The cooking methods were all pretty straightforward, but when it came to the spices, there were a bunch of things that had me googling like crazy. It seems like every chili competitor winner has their favorite spice blends from San Antonio Red to Goya Sazon. It was all pretty much unintelligible to me and I had a major chili craving so I went with (gasp!) chili powder from the grocery store.

Championship Award Winning Texas Style Cook Off Chili Recipe |

Even so, it tasted great. I mean, I’m pretty sure it would have tasted even better with the right spices, but for a quick chili, it totally hit the spot. I served it up in a non-competition sanctioned giant bread bowl and finished it off with a bunch of cheddar. So cozy, warm, and filling. It does make me want to go ahead and order the spices online though. I really dug the texture, kind of like a really good meat sauce, which is kind of what it is. I’m all about the competition chili train!

Hope you guys are having a wonderful 2019 so far. May it be full of everything your heart desires :)
xoxo steph

Championship Award Winning Texas Style Cook Off Chili Recipe |

Championship Award Winning Texas Style Chili Recipe
serves 2-4

  • 1 pound ground chuck beef
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 1 cup no sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup no sodium chicken broth, plus extra if needed
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce

Spice Dump # 1

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon beef bullion
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bullion
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Spice Dump # 2

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/16 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/16 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Tabasco, or Louisiana hot sauce, to serve

slightly adapted from Chili Appreciation Society International

In a heavy bottomed pot, brown the beef over medium high heat, breaking up into chunks. Remove from the pot and drain off any excess fat. Poke some holes into the pepper with a fork or skewer, then add it to the pot, along with the beef broth, chicken broth, and tomato sauce.

When it comes to a boil, add spice dump #1 and let it boil for 3 minutes, then add the meat back in and turn down the heat to a simmer. Simmer on low, covered, for 30 minutes, being sure to stir every once in a while.

When the 30 minutes are up, use a wooden spoon to squeeze out any liquid from the serrano, then remove and discard. If the liquid is looking like it’s on the low side, stir in a splash more chicken stock.

Add spice dump #2 and simmer for 15 more minutes on medium to medium low heat. Use a potato masher to break up the meat into small pieces, then let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Scoop out into bowls and top with a couple dashes of tabasco or Louisiana hot sauce. Enjoy!


  1. Sabrina says:

    just….gorgeous! wow, I love ground beef chili, not so much cubed or shredded beef as a texture preference and also love the serving here, bread bowls, no wonder it’s a championship chili, just in time for what you call chili season, thank you

  2. Tanuki says:

    Wow looks amazing! Chili soup is one of my all time favorite foods, I’ve never tried making it without beans. So envious that you have a kotatsu at home!

  3. Lee says:

    First time making chili, its for a fundraiser event. Any advice on how to keep it warm in a crock pot (after transferring the finished chili from original pot)

    1. Stephanie says:

      I would just keep it in the crockpot on low. Hope that helps!

      1. Bogie Taylor says:

        Yeah, crockpots perfect for this. Just get the chili good and hot, and then you should be good to go just to keep it on warm. Just like Stephanie said. And if you need to you can always kick the heat back up a little bit depending on the length of the event

  4. Manuel says:

    Sounds like A nice recipe..always important to keep it as authentic to as possible totherecipe bythenatives and theTejanos ( including the chili queens).
    Yours did a great job of that. Great traditional Texas taste and feel to it.

  5. Chef Michael Cooks says:

    Looks like spaghetti meat sauce consistency, not “chili”…

    1. Josie says:

      I agree!! Its just all meat and spices from what i see..thats fine if thats what they call chili..but im in michigan and i use 2 meats green pepper onion chili beans and spices and tomato juice. I like a hearty style of chili..

      1. Keith Miller says:

        There are no beans in chili

        1. gary says:

          and there are no tomato products in Texas Chili

        2. Jen says:

          Maybe where you are from. In the south east, there ARE beans in your chili.

        3. Al says:

          Maybe not in Texas Red Chili, but normal everyday chili has beans. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to buy it canned, hell they sell it at Wendy’s with beans. LOL

        4. elmer says:

          Chili came from Texas. It is not made with meat. Chili con Carne means chili with meat.. There is no tomato or meat in real Chili. Despite us northerners or southeasterners adding beans and calling it chili. The fact still remains that real authentic Chili is not made with beans…. Perhaps we can call our bean chili, Chili con Corne est Frijoles (Chili with meat and beans).
          Similar situation as with Hungarian Goulash.. What we call Hungarian goulash is not Hungarian Goulash. Hungarian goulash has no pasta or tomato sauce… It is basically beef stew with carrots and potatoes with a reddish sauce being from a large amount of added paprika.

  6. Josie says:

    I agree!! Its just all meat and spices from what i see..thats fine if thats what they call chili..but im in michigan and i use 2 meats green pepper onion chili beans and spices and tomato juice. I like a hearty style of chili..

  7. Chuck says:

    I have to agree with Josie. I’m in Iowa and when the weather is cold and windy we want a hearty thick chili that wants to stick to your spoon when you are eating it. More tomato sauce and tomatoes and less beef and chicken broth. Hunts Fire Roasted diced tomatoes are great in my chili.

    1. Mark Middleton says:

      Well in Texas that recipe of yours is called vegtable beef soup, ain’t no tomaters or beans in chili.

      1. Al says:

        Thank goodness chili ain’t Texan, my ancestors brought it to Texas from the Canary Islands. Chili con carne is a staple there. But respectfully, Texas Red is only made in Texas. So as long you stay in TX, your version of chili is safe.

  8. Andrew says:

    We have an October chili cook-off where I live in Michigan and we adopted the Texas rules. Come talk to us when snow is tickling your balls. No tomatoes or beans. That’s great for Coney Island dogs but not for dinner. Not up here where blood is thicker. No offense, I can’t wait to try Texas cooking, it’s just different across the country. Like Carolina bbq. Love it. Just different.

  9. James says:

    This is what makes America, different taste from all over except the west coast lol . And the friendly debates about the food I love it .

  10. PJ says:

    I made this tonight, but didn’t have a Serrano pepper. It’s awesome! My husband and I loved it, even without the pepper, but it will go in the next batch. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe. BTW, we are Texans.

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