The Major Swap You Should Consider For Your Next Batch Of Chili

Chili is a fairly standard dish, so no matter what kind of restaurant you order it from or part of the country that you're in, you know what you are basically going to get: Ground beef with tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions. The two most common variations and disagreements tend to be over beans or no beans and macaroni noodles or no noodles. While in most states, chili is served with a variety of beans, you won't be finding any in your Texas red chili. According to the Daily Meal, in Texas, the focus is on the meat in the chili and beans are just a filler ingredient. According to the HuffPost, Texas chili contains only meat, chiles, and tomatoes. 

It was this "bowl of red" version of chili is similar to the original chili con carne recipe, according to While the exact origins are debated, it's said that a San Antonio market began to sell chili in the 1880s. From there, chili's popularity grew across the country and restaurants serving chili in the western United States were fairly common by the end of the 1920s, according to After that, the ingredients began to evolve, and a 1920s cookbook called for beans to be included, per National Geographic.

While people may continue to debate whether chili should have beans or macaroni, ground beef has been the standard meat. However, you may want to reconsider that choice.

A simple meat swap gets big results

Food & Wine recommends still using beef for your next batch of chili but suggests incorporating short ribs, brisket, or beef chuck as other tasty options. For short ribs, pull the meat off the bones and then cut it up into smaller pieces. Food & Wine states this will give the chili a more luxurious taste. The trick to using brisket in chili is to let the meat stew for at least two hours for it to be tender so it can be shredded. The same is true for beef chuck, according to Food & Wine, which reports that the meat is tough unless it has been stewed for at least 90 minutes. The result is a more flavorful meat addition than ground beef. 

The one cut of meat that Food & Wine advises against is steak and states to use cheaper cuts of beef that need to be cooked through to achieve the best flavor. A different recipe on Food. suggests using two different types of meat: Ground beef and ground pork. But why stop at two kinds of meat when you can have three with a recipe from Taste of Home that calls for cubed pork tenderloin, ground turkey, and ground beef cooked with pinto and baked beans? 

This chili season, try something new and swap out the classic ground beef for a meat not usually used that might give you a surprisingly delicious and unique pot of chili.