Editor's Note: The East Texan is a light-hearted advice column written with colloquial savoir faire. Need advice on life in our neck of the woods? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear East Texan:
Our neighbors are from Minnesota and we disagree concerning the ingredients for chili. Will you please list the proper ingredients for a bowl of Texas Red?
Chili Head in Chireno
I spent a lovely evening in the kitchen a few nights back pursuing one of my favorite and more successful culinary endeavors, making a pot of Texas Red. For you snow birds who may be passing through, Texas Red is chili – thick, spicy and tantalizingly fragrant and preferably hot as a pickup bumper in July.
Not only will I be more than pleased to share my favorite ingredients for a great bowl of chili, I will tell you what not to put in chili. The meat for chili should be beef or venison, not pork or chicken or emu. Ground meat is the most popular ( coarse ground, or as a chili head would say, “chili grind”) and to the meat add tomato sauce, onions, oregano, cumin, salt, garlic powder, masa harina, paprika, chili powder and lots of it.
The best bowl of Red I ever concocted had a bottle of beer and two tablespoons of honey added, the latter as a whim.
Some folks use a few shots of Patron from time to time and occasionally it goes in the chili.
Chili recipes are as plentiful as mesquite beans in Texas, but the most fun is experimenting and creating your own recipe for Texas Red; however, beans do not belong in chili. Beans are a dish unto themselves and should never be added to Texas Red. It’s just not right, in East Texas anyway.