Food & Drink | January 10, 2023 7:00 am

Behold: Chef Tim Love’s Chili Recipe

The Fort Worth chef shares how to make this essential winter dish

Texas Red Chili
Texas Red Chili
White Elephant Saloon

There’s no bad time to eat chili, but the confluence of cold weather and the upcoming NFL playoffs clearly makes for the best time to eat chili. If you want to score a good bowl out in the wild, try the Chili Parlor inside the White Elephant Saloon, the legendary bar that’s part of chef Tim Love’s Fort Worth empire. The Texas Red Chili is just $6 and comes with homemade cornbread, so it’s one of the better deals in town. 

But that doesn’t help you when you need to feed a crowd of hungry football fans. In that case, enlist the same chili, but make it at home.

Tim Love’s Texas Red Chili features multiple peppers, lots of spices and has a deep, rich flavor. It’s an homage to the chilies served in the Fort Worth stockyards a century ago. And while Love includes beer and tequila in his recipe, there’s nary a bean in sight.

“It’s very simple. Chili is made with beef, chili powder of some blend, water, tomato and aromatics,” Love tells InsideHook. “If you add beans, then it becomes bean soup with beef and chilies.” And good luck getting all your friends to line up for a bowl of bean soup.

Love says that chili’s simplicity is also why it’s difficult to make a great bowl. But that doesn’t mean you can’t spruce it up a little. If you want to add a few flourishes via toppings, he recommends sticking to the classics, like sour cream, cheese (Love likes smoked cheddar), minced onion, cilantro and either saltine crackers or crumbled tortilla chips. “In Texas, we also love to add pickled chilies for some great heat and acidity,” he says.

You heard the man. Now gather your ingredients, and don’t forget the beer.

Chef Tim Love’s Texas Red Chili

Servings: Serves 15-20, or one lucky person for a week.

  • 4 medium onions, minced
  • 2½ pounds lean beef brisket or equivalent beef cut, rough chopped
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 serrano peppers, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon guajillo chili, ground
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili, ground
  • 32-ounce can San Marzano diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 ounce tequila
  • 1 can Lone Star beer
  • 3 ounces red chili powder
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 20 tortilla chips, finely ground
  • 1 package saltines
    1. Brown onions and beef in oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.

    2. Stir in garlic, serranos, oregano, salt, dry mustard, tomatoes, tequila, beer, red chili powder and beef stock.

    3. Wait 15 minutes, then add the ground dry chilies and cumin.

    4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for two hours.

    5. Add ground chips and stir well.

    6.  Simmer for 30 more minutes.

    7. Serve with saltines and optional toppings of your choice.