The Perfect Chili

I’ve been making chili for 25 years now. Chili from a can, chili from scratch. Chili with common meats, chili with exotic meats. Mild chili, and chili so hot it’ll take the roof of your mouth off… you name it! And I’m happy to announce that, as of this past Monday, I have perfected my “everyday chili” recipe. Even better, I’m going to share it with you!


1 lb. 80/20 ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
6 oz. Mexican chorizo (approx.; see below)
1 large or 2 medium white onions
1 can Rotel Hot
1 can Ranch Style beans
1 packet Carroll Shelby’s chili mix
Beef base, or beef broth (see below)


1 large pot
1 medium skillet (optional)
1 strainer
1 large spoon
1 bowl
1 small whisk or fork

Lisa and I made tacos a few days before, but instead of using ground beef for my tacos, I used chorizo instead. I put the leftover chorizo in a small (10 oz.) Tupperware container, and it was almost full when I was done. This is where I got the “6 oz. approximately” in the ingredients list. You may add more or less if you wish.

Note that chorizo is incredibly greasy when cooked, so you might want to cook it in a separate pan, as it’s easier to drain that way. Also, note that I use “Mexican chorizo” (which resembles ground beef when cooked), as opposed to “Spanish chorizo” or “Portuguese chorizo” (which is usually dry-cured and is hard as a rock, like traditional salami). Lastly, if you’ve never cooked chorizo before, it’s most often sold as links; these links are packaged in inedible plastic casings, so you need to cut open the casing, extract the meat, and discard the casing when done.

1) Put the ground beef and pork in the large pot, and cook for several minutes until brown. You may add the chorizo to the rest of the meats, but for best results use a separate pan.

2) While the meats are cooking, chop the onion and add it to the pot.

3) Drain the fat off the meat. If you cooked the chorizo in a separate pan, drain it well and add it to the meat at this time.

4) Add the chili spices and all of the cayenne pepper from the Carroll Shelby mix, and stir into the meat. Let cook for 1-2 minutes, until the smell of the spices becomes pungent.

5) Add the can of Ro-Tel Hot, and then use the empty can to add one and a half cans of prepared beef base or broth (around 2 cups). Stir well.

6) Let chili come to a boil, and then cover, reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

7) Shortly before serving, dump the masa flour from the Shelby mix into a bowl and add enough warm water (stirring constantly with a small whisk or fork) so that the mixture is easily pourable. Note that the package instructions simply say “add 1/3 cup water”. It used to specify warm water, and although it probably doesn’t make a difference, I’ve continued to use warm water. Also, the “1/3 cup of water” is way off – I normally use 3/4 cup or so. You want to add as little water as possible, yet still make it pourable. Once the mixture is ready, pour it into the chili, and stir the chili well. One tip: rinse the bowl out as soon as possible. If the masa flour mixture dries out on the bowl it’s a giant pain to get off.

8) Dump the can of Ranch Style beans into the chili, sauce and all and stir well.

9) Simmer chili 5-10 minutes before serving.

10) Enjoy!

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