When the cold weather comes, many Texans consider chilli comfort food.  In fact, chilli is the official state food of Texas.

There is no such thing as Texas Chili. It is all Texas Chili.  I'll explain in a minute.

Regarding Texas Chili, there is one considerable debate we have to address right off the bat.  Does real Texas chili have beans in it or not? There are tons of posts and articles about this all over the internet.

Who knew that the Great Texas Bean debate ranked in the annals of history as one of the biggest culinary debates of all time?  It's even more significant that the "should you keep ketchup in the fridge or pantry?" debate.

There is a saying in Texas, "if you know beans about chili, you know chili ain't got no beans".

various beans on wooden surface
Diana Taliun


Why do we say, all chili is Texas chili? It's because Texas is the birthplace of chili. It did not come from Mexico. It is a true Texas invention. It was brought here by women from the Canary Islands who moved here in the 1700's. According to The Daily Meal, they cooked a Tangia-like stew with meat, cumin, garlic, chili peppers and wild onions which they cooked outside in copper kettles.

There were no beans in our original Texas Chili. There were also no tomatoes.

So, we can settle the bean issue once and for all. Texas chili doesn't have beans. Now, what about tomatoes?

With Texas Independence Day coming up on March 2nd, it is important to share former first lady Ladybird Johnson's chili recipe. Afterall, no one represented what it meant to be Texan better than she did.

Ladybird's chili recipe addresses the next controversy about whether tomatos should be added to real Texas chili.  The verdict: Ladybird's recipe includes canned whole tomatoes. Here is her ingredient list from the LBJ Presidential Library.

  • ground beef
  • onion
  • garlic
  • oregano
  • omino seed
  • chili powder
  • canned whole tomatoes
  • lquid hot sauce
  • hot water
  • salt

Of course, there is one thing about Texas that is stronger than all others. Texans are free. As such, you have a God Given Right to put whatever you want in your chili. Some add chocolate or cocoa powder.  Others add venison or wild game. Some even add peaches or apricots and still others add non-traditional spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.

heap of ground cinnamon

If that's what you like, do it. Just don't call it "Texas" chilli.

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