Texas Red Chili

For all of you non-bean chili lovers, this recipe is for you! In addition to the instructions below, I would gather and prep all of the ingredients before starting the process, as I found I needed to stir frequently. To avoid getting the chili too hot, I used a combination of mild and medium hot chilies. You can adjust the heat to your liking with cayenne pepper. I stayed true to the San Antonio recipe, using lots of onions, garlic, spices, and Wild Idea Buffalo Chuck Roast. The preparation was easy and I have to say the end result was pretty darn good! I hope you enjoy it too.

*A personal note on my introduction to Texas style chili can be found below recipe. 

Texas Red Chili

1 – 3 lb. Wild Idea Buffalo Chuck Roast, rinsed, patted dry and cut into 1/4” pieces
4 – tablespoons olive oil                                            
4 – tablespoons butter                                                                    
1/3 – cup masa/corn flour
2 – tablespoons Mexican oregano
2 – tablespoons cumin
2 – tablespoons Mexican chili powder
1 – tablespoon salt
1 – teaspoon black pepper
3 – Texas sweet onions, about 7 cups
6 – garlic cloves, diced, about 3 tablespoons
2 – cups organic beef broth
2 – cups water
4 – dried Ancho chilies, stems removed, seeded and coarse chopped
6 – dried medium red chilies, stems removed, seeded and coarse chopped
1 – fresh Serrano chili, stem removed, seeded and finely chopped
1 – tablespoon brown sugar ¼ – cup fresh squeezed lime juice
*optional ½ – teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Prep ingredients. Spread meat out onto a large baking sheet and sprinkle with the corn flour.
  • In a large cast iron or heavy pot, over medium high heat, heat pan and add 2 tablespoons each of the butter and olive oil
  • Add half of the floured meat to the pan and allow to brown, stirring occasionally, scraping the bottom up to keep browning even. Remove browned meat from pan with a spoon and place on a plate. Repeat this step with the remaining butter, olive oil and meat.
  • Add the first browned meat back to the pot, along with the seasonings, stirring to incorporate.
  • Add chopped onion and garlic, again stirring occasionally, scraping up the bottom. Allow the onions and garlic to cook for about 7 minutes.
  • Add the broth and water to the pot, stirring again as above.
  • Reduce heat to simmer and cover the pot.
  • Place all of the diced chilies in a food processor (small ones work best) and chop. After peppers are a bit more chopped, add ½ cup of the pot liquids to the processor and blend again, creating more of a paste.
  • Add the pepper paste to the pot, stir to incorporate and cover. Allow the chili to simmer for a couple of hours, stirring as above occasionally.
  • When the meat is tender, add the brown sugar and lime juice. Stir to incorporate, and allow to simmer a few more minutes.
  • Taste, and adjust seasoning to your taste, adding the cayenne if more heat is needed.

*My introduction to "RED": On a trip headed south for a little winter quail hunting, we made a stop in San Antonio, at the Pearl restaurant. Listed on the menu was a bowl of “Red”. The waiter proudly informed us that it was real authentic Texas Chili, that it was all meat with no beans, and that the chef had just perfected their recipe. We ordered a cup to share - it was delicious. I was curious about the history of this famous Texas dish, so I did a little research.

As the waiter stated, the recipes I found for Texas chili were bean-less and loaded with onions and chilies. I learned a few other interesting facts including, that the chili pepper was not native to this continent. A Spaniard named Don Juan de Onate first brought chili peppers into New Mexico in 1598. They soon after became a staple throughout the southwest. It was later on around 1723, when Canary Island transplants had settled in San Antonio that the meat dish first became known. It was a replication from their homeland, made with local peppers, onions, garlic, and spices. This became know as a bowl of “Red”. Red chili soon became a favorite of the cowboys on the trail, with the camp cook using beef or buffalo. And, according to Lyndon Baines Johnson, “Chili concocted outside of Texas is usually a weak, apologetic imitation of the real thing.”  I’m not so sure about that....

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  • This is very similar to the recipe I have used for over 35 years. I refined it in cook-offs in central Tx. Biggest difference is instead of beef broth I use two shots of tequila (1 for the pot, 1 for the chef) and 2 Tecates (same proportions). I usually make chili in the morning, and this sharing of ingredients always makes for a good day!

    Marty Halseth
  • You’re very wrong about the origins of chili peppers. When Columbus came to the new world in 1492, native Mexicans had been cultivating chili peppers since 3500 BC. The western world, and then in turn Asia and then India, acquired them in the Colombian exchange.

    Bret Bagley
  • I have known some folks to add a bottle (or can) of Coca-Cola for a bit of sweetness. Down here on the border in Arizona we can get the Mexican version in the old style bottles. Tastes better than the US product. And as my best friend, a native of Borger, Texas, always said, “Anyone who knows beans about chili knows that chili doesn’t have BEANS!”

    Robert Anderson
  • I made some like this a few times I only had deer meat + I used one Large jar of grape jelly & one can of 7-Up just add to the recipe for a little sweetness. I will try this with Bison. Oh my gosh I know this will be good!


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