A recipe for San Antonio Chili

We were barely up and running on our Scrumptious Chef pop up restaurant series when we decided to tackle Tex Mex cuisine through the lens of the epicenter of Mexican food in USA: San Antonio, Texas.

“Keep San Antonio Lame” is a tee shirt you see worn half-heartedly by natives of the River City. We beg to differ as we’ve had nothing but good times in SA or Zahn Ahn Tonyeeo as residents call the 8th largest city in the US. But then again we’re mainly in it for the food, though if fashion was more our thing, we could sing hosannas to the highest for the women folk of that city as they routinely spend two hours or more in front of makeup mirrors prior to heading to the nearest HEB.

Makeup counters in San Antonio do land office business.

10 minutes before we flung open the order window at the 3 Little Pigs food truck a deluge opened up and we immediately fell into a despair. No matter, the crowd of 60 or so eaters magically made umbrellas appear as we began to feed the throng.

The star of the show that day was a massive kettle of San Antonio chili; an homage to the Chili Queens of the Texas of the 1800s.

We long ago penned the ultimate recipe for the classic Texas Red but til now have never revealed our formula for San Antonio Chili.

Without further ado we present it here:

4 lbs beef brisket, cut into small chunks

2 lb ground chuck

1/2 c. Masa, dried

1/4 c. manteca (lard)

4 Texas Sweet onions (1015s), chopped

1 Head garlic, chopped

2 qt chicken stock

4 Morita (dried red Jalapeno) chiles, rehydrated, puréed

6 Pasilla (dried Chilaca) chiles, rehydrated, puréed

1 T. Cumin (You’re encouraged to get fancy and toast and grind cumin seeds but you won’t be expatriated if you don’t)

1 T Mexican oregano



* Heat lard in large heavy bottom pan

* Add meat, sprinkle masa over meat

* Brown thoroughly

* Add onions and garlic

* Simmer one hour

* Add cumin and oregano

* Cook 15 minutes

* Add stock and puréed chiles

* Cook one hour more

There are as many recipes for San Antonio chili as there are for Texas Red. Some use all pork, some use a blend of pork and beef but we feel this one hews closely to what you might have found at the Haymarket Plaza or perhaps “La Plaza del Chile con Carne.”

* Pasilla and Morita chiles are common peppers in any decent Hispanic grocery store. If you can’t find them you may substitute other dried chiles like Guajillo, Ancho or Chipotle. Do a little taste testing and figure out what dried chiles fit your palate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>