Goodbye turkey, hello chili! Here in Texas, we love our chili. We have multiple ways to cook the dish, and just as many chili contests –– at last month’s Fort Worth Firefighters Chili Cook-off, I got to judge firehouse classics from about two dozen participants. Some had secret ingredients –– bear meat, beer and whiskey were among the most interesting.
We’re approaching what passes for winter in the Fort. Is there anything better than a bowl of red? Whether you like your chili in a bowl, over Frito chips, with saltines, or on top of a burger, hot dog or fries, you can shed your leftover-induced blues at one of these 13 places.
- Tim Love’s Chili Parlor in the White Elephant Saloon only serves one kind of chili –– Texas Red, accompanied by corn bread and your choice of a plethora of toppings, including cheese, sour cream, jalapeños, and Fritos corn chips. They’re slinging chili for lunch, dinner, and on the weekends, after midnight. Chef Love has been generous enough to share his recipe with us –– see below!
Texas Red Chili
(Serv. Size: 8oz)
5 Ancho Chili, Deseeded
5 Guajillo Chili, Deseeded
10 Arbol Chili, Deseeded
3 White Onion, Small Dice
4 Red Bell Pepper, Small Dice
3 Jalapeno, Chopped
.5 cup Garlic, Minced
20 Roma Tomatoes, Grilled
Ground Beef 5 Lbs .00
Tenderloin Scrap, Grilled 5.00 Lbs
0.5 cup Chili Powder
2.5 oz Cumin
2 cups Chipotle Puree
10 Red Corn Tortillas, Cooked, Crushed
2 qts Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Dutch’s Hamburgers serves up their chili several ways: on top of their classic hand-cut fries, as part of the chili cheeseburger, and as the star in the absolutely perfect Frito Pie (along with queso, shredded cheese, and pico). Although Texas Monthly’s purist food reviewer says you only need saltines, the Frito Pie is a staple of my childhood.
- El Rancho Grande offers a version of Mexican chili: The carne guisada is a traditional Mexican stew made with beef tips, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and Mexican seasonings to make a rich, spicy gravy (guisada).
- At Fred’s Texas Café, the chili con carne is loaded with chunks of sirloin (no ground beef for Outlaw Chef Terry Chandler) and topped with fried onions, jalapeños and cheddar cheese. Unfortunately, Fred’s chili is like Texas winter –– it’s a specialty item, only here for a short time, usually in December and January.
- HG Sply Co. brings forth a clean-living bison chili Frito pie. Although it’s not Whole 30 or Paleo-approved, the dish still sounds pretty good: South Dakota bison, three kinds of beans, with poblano, jalapeño and ancho chiles served over Fritos. The whole thing is topped with cheddar cheese, coconut lime crema, and guacamole.
- Hoffbrau Steak & Grill House has a Smokin’ Chili, which comes loaded with cheese and jalapeño peppers. You might want to ask for a side of crackers, just in case!
- Meso Maya offers another classic Mexican take on chili: a red pozole with pork, a medium-hot guajillo chile broth, hominy and vegetables. Ask for a side of their house-made corn tortillas to dip in the savory broth.
- For five decades, Pulido’s has been serving Mexican and Tex-Mex home cooking in Fort Worth. In addition to the chile sauce on their enchiladas, you can get a bowl or cup of the restaurant’s chili. Pulido’s hedges their bets –– whether you like your chili with or without beans, you can get either with a side of cheese, chopped onion, and saltine crackers.
- Rodeo Goat makes a high-class version of the classic bowl of red using brisket, which ups the flavor and tenderness ante. Get a bowl by itself or get the chili over cheese fries for a great spud-based take on nachos.
- Shaw’s Patio Bar & Grill will also sell you a bowl of their house-made chili (onions and cheddar cheese on request). But the chili also comes atop the very excellent, eponymously named burger or hot dog. Best of all, your chili cheeseburger is half-price every Tuesday from 4-7PM (dine-in only)!
- In addition to excellent sweet treats, Curly’s Frozen Custard offers a chili dog featuring a legendary Nathan’s all-beef hot dog base, chili, cheese and shards of chopped onions.
- Dublin Square doesn’t offer a stand-alone bowl of chili, but at the little sports bar/pub in North Fort Worth, you can get chili on your nachos, on a chili cheeseburger and on a pair of hot dogs.
- At Horseshoe Hill Café, chile con carne comes in appetizer form (the Bob Armstrong layered dip) or on two of the chicken fried steak plates: the Farmer’s Way (chili gravy and a fried egg top the giant CFS) or Matt’s Way (with chile con carne and queso blanco).
BONUS: And if you want chili at home without all the work, Texas Chili Company has been making chili to go since 1952! The Fort Worth-based outlet offers a five-pound bucket of chili or a chili sampler with express shipping.
Main PC: @trey.sm.chapman of Billy Oak Acre chili