First off the debate on whether chili should have beans in it or not, was recently debated on the TV show Yellowstone. The room seemed divided however, Jimmy from the 6666 Ranch in Texas asked "who puts beans in their chili?"

We asked that same question "does chili have beans in it or not?" Listeners responded with quick and decisive answers. The other question was "where in Abilene can you get a good bowl of chili?" The most common answer was "my house."  That aside several restaurants were named.

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When it comes to finding chili at Abilene area restaurants (some restaurants only carry it during cold weather so call ahead), you'll discover that most restaurants that carry chili claim that their chili is the best, and the "beans in chili" debate is not even up for question.

I've eaten a ton of chili throughout my life and most recently for this article, I've had chili at least once a day for several weeks from Abilene area restaurants. In my most humble opinion, we have a lot of good chili being made in Abilene.

There's A Tie For The "Best Chili In Abilene" Title In My Opinion

There are two chili's that stood out because of their flavor and uniqueness. The first is from the Mexican food restaurant Farolito and the other is the Texas Roadhouse.

I did not expect Farolito to have chili in the first place, but their chili was straight up through and through a good old-fashioned bowl of "cowboy red," no beans and served with crackers (plain and simple great flavor). As for the Texas Roadhouse, their chili has a bold red chili flavor and is "flavorful."

I did discover that ALL the other restaurants have good to great chili. Places like Logan's, Perini's Steakhouse, Joe Allen's, Wendy's, Chili's Bar & Grill, and Betty Rose's all add or dress up their chili with toppings (like cheese, onions, cracker crumbles, and more).

The "Absolute Best Chili, Ever" according to our Facebook responses from listeners was in your kitchen. Now, If you want an easy chili recipe, here's my infamous, award-winning, Dragon's Breath Chili, enjoy.

This Is My Dragon's Breath Chili Recipe - Family Size

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds lean, coarse ground meat (beef)
  • 7 heaping tablespoons of dark red chili powder (better known as New Mexico Red)
  • super-secret ingredient 3 - 32 oz cans of chicken broth (preferably low sodium)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of finely ground oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt ( I prefer sea salt but table salt will do)
  • 1 - 3 teaspoons of cayenne pepper (this will be added to taste depending on how spicy-hot you want your chili.)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (peel and puree with onions in a food processor)
  • 3 medium onions, onions (peel and puree with garlic in a food processor)
  • 3 - 14-oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 small bottle of red food coloring (optional)
  • 3 tsp of ground powdered cumin (the final ingredient)

Directions

  • In a bowl combine the dry ingredients of chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, plus the pureed garlic cloves, and pureed onions.
  • Fry the meat in a skillet while stirring in only half of the dry ingredients mixed with the pureed onions and garlic. after the meat is fully cooked, drain all the grease and meat juices.
  • In a large stockpot add the cooked meat and half of the tomato sauce, two cans of the super-secret ingredient chicken broth (saving a can of chicken broth for the second secret of my recipe as you'll read below), Add the rest of the dry ingredients mixed with the onions and garlic. As you add your (fried and drained) meat into the pot, the chili will begin to thicken, thin it down by adding the rest of the tomato sauce (this is a texture preference, so it’s your call as to how thick or thin you want your chili)
  • Cayenne pepper is added for heat only, as some like their chili spicy-hot and some do not. My game plan has always been I added only a half of a teaspoon because some of the judges may or may not like a spicy chili. (one year, I didn't use any cayenne and I still placed first, so it's up to you).
  • Let simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, stirring constantly to keep from scorching. You know that can of chicken broth I asked you to save? Add into the broth about seven to ten drops of red food coloring (or more as you see fit for coloration only) then stir slowly into the chili this second-super-secret ingredient of red goodness I called my red fruit punch ingredient.
  • As the chili is simmering, add more broth and/or sauce as you think is needed for consistency. Adding the final ingredient 20 minutes prior to serving, stir in the 3 tsp powdered cumin (it adds aroma and a bit of spice), then stir it like crazy for the next 20 minutes. Then serve and enjoy!
Photo by: G.T. Ward
Photo by: G.T. Ward
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