Chili Recipe: Reno Red  the Original

This is the chili recipe that virtually won the west changing the way chili was judged in I.C.S. In 1978 this recipe won a regional chili cookoff held in Reno Nevada. Prior to this time most of the chili recipes were comprised of large quantities of vegetables and tomato sauce. This is the Texas style chili recipe that has won four world championships (over 100,000.00 in prize money) and numerous regional chili cookoffs.

5 pounds coarsely ground heavy beef chuck, round or brisket.

1/4 cup wesson oil or rendered kidney suet.

2 medium onions

5 level teaspoons of Cumin seeds

8 heaping tablespoons of commercial chili powder

3 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of msg  (optional)

5- 15 Chili pods, depending on heat level desired

(if pods are not available, use cayenne pepper to taste)

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Reno Red Chili Recipe cooking instructions:

Remove stems, membrane and seeds from chili pods, cover with water and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove pods and blend into paste. Hold water.

Chop onions.

Crack cumin with rolling in or grind with mortar and pestle.

Brew 1 teaspoon oregano leaves in 1 cup of water

Brown meat in several batches, add black pepper while browning, Brown onions with meat 

then remove with slotted spoon and hold.

Combine browned meat, onion and add the following : cumin, 8 heaping tablespoons of commercial chili powder, 3 cloves garlic (pressed) and msg.

Cook ten minutes, using just enough pepper water to keep from burning. Stir constantly. This cooks the spices into the meat.

Add chili paste and half of oregano water.

Cook slowly, adding pepper water as necessary. Add additional oregano to taste, salt to taste. The meat should tender in around 1-1/2 hours.


*Make sure you get chili powder, not a chili mix or ground chili pepper!


Cooking Variations:

Add 1 to 2 cans of tomato sauce 8oz.

Hand cut meat to about the size of a navy bean. (A lot of contestants now use half chili grind and half hand cut) 

Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar 10 minutes before serving.

Use white pepper instead of black pepper

Use masa flour to thicken (mix flour with cold water and whisk until smooth, then pour in while stirring)


If You really do not have the time for this we have a pre-blended Mix for you at