It’s that time of year again. As the saying goes, “when it gets chilly outside, Texans get chili inside.” My newsfeed on social media is filled with photos of folks cookin’ up heapin’ pots of chili on their stoves tagged with comments of excitement and delight at the deliciousness they’re about to enjoy. I’ve just had enough of this beans in Chili debate. Enough is enough.
Chili Is Amazing
Cookin’ chili this time of year to warm your soul, clear your sinuses, and most importantly, fill your belly is about the most Texan thing you can do next to tellin’ a group of legislators that they can all go to hell, and you’ll go to Texas. As a good Texan, I’m sure you know, Chili is the official State Dish of Texas. It was declared so by the State Legislature in 1977. In my opinion it was a smart move on their part because like the late great Will Rogers, I truly believe that a bowl of chili is a bowl of blessedness.
The only major misstep on the Texas Legislature of 1977’s part, was not bein’ a little more specific about what exactly Chili consists of to be considered Chili. I know Texas is a diverse state and we might not all agree on everything. I know that if Opinion Givin’ was an Olympic sport, Texans would take home the Gold Medal every 4 years. I get it. I just think that if there’s any subject matter we should all agree on, it’s that the Official Dish of Texas proclaimation should for the most part, have some specificity as to what it contains.
Chili Truth Bomb
Now I’m gonna say somethin’ I know some of y’all just plain aren’t gonna be happy to read so if there are children in the room with you, please cover their ears and eyes.
BEANS DO NOT BELONG IN CHILI.
Chili or as it’s also known, A Bowl of Red, should only consist of a beautiful blend of Chili powder(s), spices, broth, and meat. I’ll leave some latitude over what spices you’ll include, though they’re generally Cayenne Pepper, Onion Powder, Cumin, Paprika, Salt, Garlic, maybe some Oregano, etc. I’ll even say that there’s room for what cut of beef you use (there ain’t no such thing as “Vegetarian Chili” so don’t even get me started on that). I personally like to buy Tri-Tip like the pros who win at the Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff. But when you’re done cookin’, your pot should only consist of a glorious concoction that consists of meat and sauce. What the partakers of your chili do with it after they ladle it in to their bowls is their business. You should just sleep well at night knowing you did your part in securing chili’s legacy.
Why do I have such disdain for beans you ask? Because the dish is called Chili Con Carne. It’s not called Chili Con Carne y Frijoles. I may not be fluent in Spanish, but I took four years of it in high school which I think more than qualifies me to translate the name to mean Chili with Meat. Meat only. That’s it. No more questions.
Once it’s done being cooked and the bowls have been served, folks are welcome to jazz it up with some Fritos to make Frito Pie. Toss in a little cheese or maybe even some sour cream if they think the bowl of red will be too spicy for their mild mannered tongue. Again, what they do with it on their own time is their business. It’s a free country. As the cook and keeper of the wooden stirring spoon, it’s your job to keep things legal and in the world of Championship Chili, and beans are not that.
You might be asking how I consider myself any sort of expert on the subject. Well, I sit on the finals judging table at the Championship Chili cookoff in Terlingua every year. The same one that’s been going on since 1967. That cookoff started by the late great Frank X Tolbert is the end all be all of Chili and no God Fearin’, Country Lovin’, honest cook has ever gotten a chili to the Championships, let alone the final round of judging by turning their perfectly tasty Chili in to some bizarre bean soup.
Beans in chili just ain’t right, and I won’t stand for it. As the disciples said in their letter to the Chili-inthians, “anyone that knows beans about chili, knows that there’s no beans in chili.”
DISCLAIMER: I really don’t care what you put in your chili. I just REALLY don’t like beans in mine.
DISCLAIMER DOS: Beans or not, there’s really no such thing as vegetarian chili. Sorry folks in Austin!