championship texas chili

texas chili

If you’re looking to make a chili with layers of flavor, something rich and meaty, hearty and great for a crowd – this is your chili. It’s texas chili, which means no beans allowed. You could certainly add some if that’s your preference, however; it just won’t be considered texas chili.

I was looking for something different to make for the Super Bowl. I love making chili but I’ve made my Steak and Poblano Chili and my Killer Chili so many times that I was itching for something new. That’s when I came across Woody DeSilva’s Championship Chili and I knew I’d found a winner (literally)! The recipe wasn’t perfect as written, however (at least not in my opinion). I’ll admit, it was darn close, but I made my own little tweaks to it (it’s what we all do, right?) and, I believe, made it even better.

The key to this dish is browning your meat well. You have to do it in small batches – yes, this takes some time but the payoff is huge. High heat, a little clarified butter (ghee), put your beef in taking care to give each piece a little room, then don’t touch it for 2 minutes. (Hint: if you try to flip or stir the beef and it’s still sticking to the bottom, it’s not ready.)

texas chili

So let’s talk about clarified butter. Or ghee, a type of clarified butter that does the job just as well AND that you can purchase easily if you prefer not to make your own. And just what is clarified butter? Clarified butter is milk fat rendered from butter to separate the milk solids and water from the butterfat. Typically, it is produced by melting butter and allowing the components to separate by density. The water evaporates, some solids float to the surface and are skimmed off, and the remainder of the milk solids sink to the bottom and are left behind when the butter fat (which would then be on top) is poured off. ( <— I took that from Wikipedia since they do a much better job of explaining it :) But you get the gist.

So why use clarified butter? Because it has a much higher smoke point than regular butter. Typically, when you’re frying or searing something over a higher heat, you have to use canola, peanut, vegetable oil, etc., because it won’t smoke and burn. But if your butter is clarified – meaning just the milk solids – the smoke point is much higher and can be used for things like, oh…searing beef. Is it healthy? Not even a little bit. But I do like to use it occasionally when I’m making something that I really want that extra rich flavor added in. Like this chili. (Note: you can either make clarified butter at home (it’s easy!) or purchase at the grocery store in the int’l aisle or at an int’l market.)
You’ll need a very large pot if you make the recipe as written (I used this one from Le Creuset). You can also simply cut the recipe in half, it makes a lot! But remember – chili freezes really well and it’s so nice to come home and remember that you’ve got something yummy in to heat up quickly!
texas chili
Championship Texas Chili

Yield: 12 servings

Championship Texas Chili


  • 7-8 pounds beef chuck, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter) OR canola or vegetable oil
  • 8 medium onions, chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cans tomato paste
  • 8 T dried oregano
  • 4 T chili powder
  • 2 T ancho chili powder
  • 4 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 T paprika
  • 2 T hot sauce
  • 2 t cumin
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper


  1. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat 1 T ghee in a very large pot over high heat. Brown beef in batches, taking care not to overcrowd your pan (each piece of beef should have space around it; too much in the pan will steam your beef, not sear it; searing and browning is what adds so much flavor). Add additional 1 T ghee as needed with each new batch.
  2. Add onions and garlic, cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and just starting to brown.
  3. Stir in tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pot with a wooden spoon, until tomato paste is caramelized, about 12 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  4. Add beef back to pot along with 5 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender, about 2-3 hours.


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