Peering around on Roadfood earlier this evening we stumbled upon a recipe for “real Texas chili con carne” which is a topic near and dear to us. A poster from Arizona named foodbme had put up a recipe claiming to be authentic Texas chili.
That always perks our ears up cause genuine Texas Red is a food that sustains us through the hard times…a food that carries us back to San Angelo and Sonora and a food that always has us reaching for one of our old Doug Sahm or Ernest Tubb lps when we’re getting ready to hit the kitchen. Then, appended at the bottom of the recipe, the shrinking horror that is the Serious Eats website was credited with authoring the formula.
We have a natural aversion to this website brought on by the fact that we have little use for the prim, maiden aunts whom they’ve hired to be their overseers. We’ll put them alongside Chowhound in this regard. We have little interest in prudery and/or websites that seek to stifle the freedom of the people.
That’s not how we were raised.
But then we did it. We clicked on a hot link that took us straight to the yawning, chasm of despair that is the Serious Eats website.
Thankfully we got out safely and actually had a few laughs while we ran over their “authentic” Texas chili recipe.
For all we know this Alt-person is the earnest sort and may even be a talented recipe author. Furthermore, this recipe may even taste good.
But one thing that it’s not. Not by a longshot, is genuine, authentic Texas chili.
We wrote the rules of Texas Red.
Or, to be more precise, during our lifetime of cooking chili, we honed the rules, explored the rules and researched the rules til a few inalterable truths revealed themselves to us. Then we wrote the rules.
If you search for these rules on google you’ll get about 36 million responses. Scrumptiouschef is in the number one spot so we reckon that’s a pretty good metric. Here they are:http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2009/11/11/The-Rules-of-Texas-Red
Then, if you search for how to make an authentic kettle you’ll get just under 4 million responses. We’re in the number 3 spot. Right above best selling author the Homesick Texan. http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2009/11/18/How-To-Make-Authentic-Texas-Red-Chili
We’re alright with being number 3. Gives us something to work towards.
We love our readers so we can’t in good conscience put up a link to the Serious Eats piece.
We’ll keep it short and sweet as to where they went wrong. Firstly and this is a guess. They probably weren’t concocting this recipe in a wood frame house on the western edge of Abilene Texas or out in an old adobe near Eagle Pass. There is something to be said for terroir in your cooking.
But more importantly, real, genuine, authentic Texas chili con carne does not have fresh chiles in it.
Nor does it have onions in it.
Read the rules. When you put one or both of these items in your chili you are then making stew.
Not Texas Red Chili which by the by is getting damn near impossible to find here in Austin. We love the stuff and make it often but ever so often we like to just sit down and go to eating without the multiple hours it takes to construct our own in the kitchen.
Where are y’all getting your Texas chili fix these days?
I’ll toss a couple suggestions in the air to get the ball rolling. Max’s Wine Dive, believe it or not, puts out a highly edible version. We are not fans of this place but their chili is fine.
Another good one is Whip In. They’ve got an odd Indo-Pak take on Texas Red that is superb.
Neither of these places offer an authentic rendition nor do they claim to. But each dish sure does eat good.
Now let’s all hit the kitchen and make a big kettle.