Chili is as All-American as apple pie. Many regions of the US have their own distinct chili recipes and are known for a certain twist on chili. The types of meat, spices and toppings can change the flavor of chili and what each area uses makes it stand out and stamps it as part of that region.
Texas chili is probably the first thing most people think of when they think of chili. According to John Mitzewich, the former About.com guide for American Food, “real chili recipes use cubed chunks of meat instead of ground beef, and also don’t contain beans.” Most Texas chili has no beans or tomatoes. A good recipe can be found on Epicurious.com. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients. It’s not that hard to make.
Another type of Texas chili is “a bowl of red”. This is a breeze to make and most of the ingredients are those found in most kitchens.
Cincinnati chili is probably the most interesting. You can get Cincinnati chili served five “ways”. One way is just plain chili, two way is chili served on spaghetti, three way is chili, spaghetti and shredded cheddar, four way is chili, spaghetti, shredded cheddar and chopped onions, five way is all that and beans. Cincinnati chili is always served with oyster crackers. One of the ingredients in Cincinnati chili which might be surprising is cocoa powder. A good recipe can be found here.
While firehouse chili is not exactly a region it is a distinct type of chili which deserves its own mention. Traditionally, firefighters tend to cook large amounts of food while on duty and waiting for a fire. They need hearty food to be able to do their very physical job. Firehouse chili ranges from mild to spicy and usually the recipes are in large amounts.
Southwestern chili is usually made with salsa verde, salsa made with green tomatoes. This chili has a milder, mellow flavor than chili made with red tomatoes. Many times, Southwestern chili will be made with chicken rather than beef and may have white beans rather than red ones.
If you’ve only ever had chili out of a can, making your own chili should be on your list of things to do. Like most food, out of the can just doesn’t cut it. Chili isn’t that hard to make and can even be done in a crock pot. Homemade food always taste better than canned or prepared food and it’s much better for your health, as well.