The first chili cook-off known to modern man took place in 1967 in uninhabited Terlingua, Texas (once a thriving mercury-mining town of 5,000 people). It was a two-man cook-off between Texas chili champ Wick Fowler (a Dallas and Denton newspaper reporter) and H. Allen Smith (humorist and author), which ended in a tie.
The cook-off challenge started when H. Allen Smith wrote a story for the Holiday magazine titled Nobody Knows More About Chili Than I Do, which raised the wrath of Texas chili graduate students. The cook-off competition ended in a tie vote when the tie-breaker judge allowed someone to ram a spoonful of chili into his mouth and promptly spit it all over the referee’s foot and then he went into convulsions. He rammed a handkerchief down his throat and pronounced himself unable to go on and declared a one-year moratorium in the world championship chili cook-off.
Learn how to make the delicious and award winning H. Allen Smith Chili Con Carne. It is sure to be an instant hit at any backyard barbecue or potluck.
Recipe from the book Chili Madness by Jane Butel, published by Workman Publishing, 1980.
Learn about the history and legends of Chili, Chili Con Carne.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 4 pounds beef sirloin or tenderloin, coarse chili grind
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 4 cups water
- 3 medium onions, coarsely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons red chile peppers, ground
- 1 tablespoon oregano (preferably Mexican), dried
- 1/2 teaspoon basil, dried
- 1 tablespoon cumin seed or ground cumin
- Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
Heat the oil or butter (or a blend of the two) in a heavy 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add the meat to the pot. Break up any lumps with a fork and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is evenly browned.
Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring just to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning.