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Texas-Style Beef Brisket Chili

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  • Prep 30 min
  • Total 3 hr 30 min
  • Servings 4
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Traditional Texas beef chili recipe with no beans and no tomatoes. This is the real deal.
by: Macheesmo
Updated Apr 10, 2017
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  • 8 dried chiles, New Mexico and/or guajillo
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 - 2 1/2 lb boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
  • Tortilla chips, for garnish


  • 1
    Lay out dried chiles on a baking sheet and roast at 325°F for 8-10 minutes until chiles are fragrant. Add to a bowl and cover chiles with hot water. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  • 2
    Drain chiles (reserve the soaking water) and cut off stems. Remove seeds and roughly chop the chiles. Add to a blender with the cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour in about 1/2 cup of the reserved soaking water and blend until the mixture is in a smooth paste. You might need to add a bit more water if it is too thick.
  • 3
    Season beef cubes with big pinches of salt and pepper.
  • 4
    Place a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons vegetable oil and brown beef in 2 batches until it's browned on all sides, 8-10 minutes per batch. Remove beef and set aside.
  • 5
    Add remaining vegetable oil to pot and add onions. Turn heat down to medium and as onions sweat, scrape up bits stuck to the pan. After onions cook for 3-4 minutes, add garlic and cook for another minute.
  • 6
    When onions and garlic are soft, add beef stock (start with 2 cups) along with 1 cup of reserved chile water and 1 cup of regular water. Use liquid to again scrape up any bits on the pan.
  • 7
    Add beef back to pot with any liquid that has settled, plus the chile paste and cornmeal. Bring chili to a simmer and turn heat down to low so the mixture is barely bubbling. Cover and let simmer on low heat for 90 minutes.
  • 8
    Add vinegar and brown sugar to the pot, remove from heat, and let sit for 30 minutes so the beef can absorb the juices. Then gently reheat chili over low heat, adding more stock if the chili is too thick.
  • 9
    Adjust flavors to your liking by adding more salt or pepper.
  • 10
    Serve chili in bowls garnished with sour cream, lime wedges and corn tortillas or tortilla chips.

Expert Tips

  • tip 1
    You can make this chili with different beef cuts. Beef chuck roast is a classic, but you can also try it with a sirloin roast.

Nutrition Information

730 Calories, 47g Total Fat, 47g Protein, 29g Total Carbohydrate, 15g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
0 Starch; 0 Fruit; 2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 6 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 5 1/2 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • Big beefy chunks make this chili some of the heartiest around. But don't look for beans in there! Beanless beef chili – the real deal! Beans or no beans? Tomatoes or no tomatoes? These are the first questions most people ask when they ask about chili. If you ask these questions to a Texan, they will almost certainly say no to both! In fact, some will get mad at the idea of calling something chili if it has beans or tomatoes. It’s not the real thing that way, they'll say. To be honest, I tend to be a bit more flexible in my chili definitions, but for those diehard chili fans, this is how you make an official bowl of beef chili, or "Texas Red". The key to any good chili is good chile peppers. Don’t use chili powder! You need the real deal, so get some dried ones (with mild to medium spice). Okay. Let’s talk beef. To be honest, you could use a wide range of cuts here. Sirloin, chuck roast or brisket would work just fine. You really want about a half pound of beef per serving. Serve big bowls of it with sour cream, limes, and tortilla chips (or just corn tortillas). Impress your Texas friends with this one!
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