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Texas Chili – Award Winning Chili Recipe

This Texas Chili may be an Award Winning Chili Recipe but I do believe I’ve improved upon it! This all-beef chili is a recipe you won’t want to miss.

If you’re looking to make a chili with layers of flavor, something rich and meaty, hearty and great for a crowd – this is the award winning texas chili recipe you’ve been looking for.

This Texas Chili may be an Award Winning Chili Recipe but I do believe I've improved upon it! This all-beef chili is a recipe you won't want to miss.

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 Award Winning Chili Recipe and I knew I’d found a winner (literally)! Woody’s texas chili recipe looked pretty great – I’ll admit, it was darn close to perfect – but I made my own little tweaks to it (it’s what we chefs do, right?). And I do believe I made it even better, at least to my taste.

What Is Texas Chili?

This is 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. And Texas is serious about their chili. So serious, that chili is the official state dish. Traditionally, and without argument, beans are not allowed in chili if it is a true Texas Chili. Texas chili is also made from chucks of beef (stew meat) instead rather than ground beef.

Another ingredient that is more debatable in regards to Texas Chili is tomatoes. Historically, tomatoes were not regularly used in the dish, but in modern recipes, you’ll occasionally find some form of tomato paste or sauce. I use tomato paste in this recipe just as Woody used tomato paste when he won the second World Championship Chili Cook Off in 1968.

If you want to stick to an authentic bowl of Texas Chili, the common ingredients are cubed or ground beef (usually shoulder), dried chiles or chili powder, herbs and spices, onions, and garlic.

Texas chili is also known as Texas Red Chili or Cowboy Chili. It’s origins date back to the 1800s when chuck wagons were used on cattle drives. The cooks used mostly ingredients that wouldn’t spoil and beefy and hearty texas chili was a favorite for hungry cowboys!

Best Texas Chili Recipe

How To Make Texas Chili

(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with detailed recipe instructions.)

  1. Season & Sear the Beef: The key to this texas chili is browning your meat well. You have to do it in small batches so it doesn’t overcrowd the pot – yes, this takes some time but the payoff is huge.
  2. Soften Onions & Garlic: Add the onions and garlic until soft and browned.
  3. Add Remaining Ingredients: Slow add and stir the remaining ingredients to the pot.
  4. Simmer: Add the beef back with water and let the chili simmer for several hours.

Texas Chili Tips

  • You’ll need a very large pot or saucepan (6-quart) if you make this award winning chili recipe as written. You can also simply cut this texas chili recipe in half, it makes a lot!
  • Texas chili freezes really well and it’s so nice to come home and remember that you’ve got something yummy to heat up quickly! This is also a great make ahead recipe.
  • If you try to flip or stir the beef and it’s still sticking to the bottom, it’s not ready.
  • Toppings: Try adding jalapenos, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese, corn, bacon crumbles, avocado slices, chopped tomatoes, green or red onions, corn chips, saltine or oyster crackers, or tortilla strips.
  • Don’t forget the cornbread.
  • Storing chili: Cool first then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To store in the freezer, pour chili into a freezer safe bag, remove excess air and store for up to 5 to 6 months.
  • Reheating chili: Chili is best reheated on a stovetop (medium heat) or slow cooker (low heat) until warmed through. If frozen, thaw first.
  • Leftover chili ideas: Chili cheese fries or tater tots, chili mac and cheese, chili nachos, chili cheese dogs, chili scrambled eggs or omelet, loaded chili baked potato, chili stuffed peppers, chili grilled cheese, Cincinnati chili (chili over spaghetti noodles), chili sloppy joes.
This Texas Chili may be an Award Winning Chili Recipe but I do believe I've improved upon it! This all-beef chili is a recipe you won't want to miss.

Texas Chili - Award Winning Chili Recipe

Yield: 24 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes

This award-winning chili recipe is one you must try! It makes a LOT, so feel free to cut the recipe in half if you're not feeding a crowd.


  • 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 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 4 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper


    1. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tablespoon ghee or oil in a very large pot or sauce pan over high heat. Remove the browned meat to a paper towel-lined plate.
    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.


Brown beef in batches, taking care not to overcrowd (each piece of beef should have space around it; too much in the pot or sauce pan will steam your beef, not sear it; searing and browning is what adds so much flavor). Add additional 1 Tablespoon ghee as needed with each new batch.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 162mgSodium: 221mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 51g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

What Is Ghee?

We use ghee in this recipe to sear our beef. Ghee is a type of clarified butter 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.

Ghee 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.

Ghee is now a staple in my pantry and I use it when I’m making something that I really want that extra rich flavor added in. Like this chili.

Award Winning Chili Recipe

More great soup recipes:

Kristy Bernardo
Latest posts by Kristy Bernardo (see all)

Rick Collier

Thursday 18th of April 2019

I am trying to win a chili cook off do you think this is a good one to cook do you have any suggestions that could help Thanks Rick


Thursday 7th of February 2019

Authentic chili does NOT have any type of tomato product in it. So tomato paste would be a huge no no.


Wednesday 26th of October 2022

@Kristy, Spot on


Wednesday 26th of June 2019

"Authentic" chili?? What does that even mean? There are many types of chili depending on where you're from and what you like to put in it. Lighten up, girl!

Robert Valdez

Monday 19th of November 2018

This chili is amazing! Browning the meats makes a big difference.

Sue Krentz

Sunday 14th of October 2018

So you do not Use any flour to brown the meat with? I am making this tomorrow for a Tuesday lucnch so if I fix the meat tomorrow refgeratr then put it in the crock pot Tuesday it will work right? So you do not add beer or beef stock instead of water? But use tomato paste to get all the pan scrapings up? I need it for 25? People so Iam cutting it in 1/2 at least


Friday 7th of February 2014

championship texas chili via @thewickednoodle

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