Cincinnati-Style Chili

There are probably as many different recipes for Cincinnati Chili as there are folx who make it, so I make no apologies for my take on this classic.

I use a ‘meatloaf mix” of ground beef and pork (bonus if I can find one with a wee, tiny bit of ground veal in it), chicken stock in place of the more usual beef, and I add onion and celery and garlic and black beans directly to my chili, fully realizing that for a classic “5-Way” I am gonna be adding additional onions and beans on top.

I do not, however, skip on what makes Cincinnati chili… well… Cincinnati chili.

Namely the cocoa and the cinnamon.

Trust me… it is wicked good!

•1 lb ground beef
•1 lb ground pork
•1 cup diced onion
•1 cup diced celery
•4 cups chicken stock
•2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•3 tbsp chili powder
•2 tbsp sherry vinegar
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
•2 tbsp + 2 tsp cocoa
•1 tsp cinnamon
•1 tsp dried oregano
•1/2 tsp cumin
•1/2 tsp celery salt
•1/2 tsp Cayenne
•1/4 tsp ground allspice
•1/4 tsp ground cloves
•1 bay leaf
•1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
•1/2 cup ketchup (optional)
•1 tbsp smoked bourbon sugar

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Brown ground meat with the onion and celery, then drain.

Add chicken stock and sherry vinegar to the pot and simmer for ten minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients, except for the ketchup and sugar, then simmer (uncovered) for one hour.

Remove bay leaf, skim off extra fat, and give it a taste.

Stir in the ketchup (if you are planning to use it) and the sugar and cook for another 30 minutes or so.

Taste it again.

I think that the chili is perfect.

Note: if you follow my seasonings, your chili will be a bit on the… zippy side, but, once you’ve added pasta (or hot dogs) and shredded cheese and more onion and more beans and… whatever else you like on your chili, I think that you will find the flavor is nicely balanced.


To serve…

In classic Cincinnati style, go with topping some freshly cooked spaghetti with the chili, then chopped fresh onion, more beans (if you like), and shredded cheese.

Lovely, and truly one of our fave ways to enjoy chili.


You could also opt for serving the chili over a hot dog on a toasted roll spread with a bit of yellow mustard.

Top with diced onion, shredded cheese, mebbe some chopped Ranch Pickles.

Also a mighty fine way to enjoy your Cincinnati chili – and/or, a nice solution for using up any leftover chili later in the week.

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