Lancer Of Layers

All problems can be solved with a right big can of chili. It’s one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. If you’re ever in the DC area, you must get to Ben’s Chili Bowl. Absolute must for chili lovers.

Now I know there are all sorts of regional variations of chili. Cincinnati chili has a touch of cinnamon. Some consider beans sacrilege. Some can’t eat a bowl of chili without beans. I’m not much of a stickler. I’ll try just about any bowl of chili that’s put in front of me. So what are some of your regional favorites for you chili lovers out there?

  • Alice

    Fast, lazy chili: brown one pound ground beef, pour off grease (if any), add one can S&W brand “Chili Makin’s: Original”, simmer of about 20 minutes. Prepare for a delicious meal and the condemnation of your foodie friends.

  • Sai

    My boyfriend’s family ladles their chili over pasta and sprinkles a little balsamic vinegar on top… which I thought was blasphemous, but is actually pretty delicious.

  • radcake

    I am way too much of a grown-up and food snob to do this now, but I remember many a late night of drinking in college ending with a can of spicy chili being stirred into some Kraft macaroni and cheese. It was awesome every time.

  • Demitrious

    First time I ever made chili, I did it all wrong. I mean, I got the beans in there, with some corn, tomato, onion, and green bean for filler. Then added a pound of 80/20 ground beef, and a pound of ground Italian sausage.

    So wrong, but so, so riiight . . .

  • Zelia

    An old buddy of mine put me off chili for good by introducing me to chili with a Bowl of Lava. My inner ear was burning for hours…

  • Keysmash

    You mean the part where you forgot to cook the meat?

    Despite what the no beans people think, meat would not have been a major component of the original. And what was there would have been jerky style at some point. Do they really think the people taking their cattle to market would stop and slaughter one every night?

    Having eaten the peasant food in Mexico (peasant food everywhere = the cheapest way possible to get all needed protein) I’m a purist the other way. Beans over rice, yum.

  • Lord Burn

    I don’t know the exact recipe, but my mom’s is kinda close to Cincinnati chili, spicy (for us) with beans and pasta. The pasta really extends it and gives it a unique texture. LOVE IT.~<3

  • Dave

    I am aware of one family that puts sugar in their chili… Myself, after visiting Cincy a few times like the five way chili route, but hold the cinnamon, please.

  • mgspeed

    I have long since consented to beans, but otherwise it’s just meat, tomato (cooked down to sauce), and spices. 6 tablespoons of various chili spices to 1 lb ground and 1 lb cubed meat. No other vegetables allowed!

  • punman

    Mine varies a lot from batch to batch but it’s generally 2 lbs ground beef, 1 lb bulk spicy italian sausage, chopped onions, chopped peppers (both hot and sweet,) beans of some sort, liquids in the proper ratio (tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes and whatever else, but not QUITE enough liquid yet, because the secret ingredient makes up for it) plus various spices, random things like worcestershire, brown sugar, salt, etc.

    Oh, and the secret ingredient. Two bottles of delicious beer. Not that cheap shit. Two 12 oz bottles of the darkest, most sinful stout you can find. No, not Guinness, get that shit away from my chili. Pour one into the chili. Pour the other into a glass, and consume while the chili simmers for an hour.

  • purplelibraryguy

    Not sure I ever heard of chili without beans before. But as long as the spicey is good, sure I guess. I gotta agree–I’ve hardly ever tasted chili that was actually not-good.
    But my favourite chilis have usually involved some fresh fairly-hot peppers. They kind of, I dunno, make the spicey be more interesting-tasting than when you just have chili powder. They don’t have to be “OMG this is the hottest pepper in creation”–I like it better when spicey means flavour rather than pain. I want to know what it tastes like, not test whether I’m manly enough to face it.
    I know some people like to put in corn. I’ll eat chili with corn but I’ll be thinking “I kind of wish they hadn’t put corn in this”. Druther chili con carne than chili con corny. I say leave that stuff on the cob or make it into a tortilla or something.

  • Wallfairy

    “I like it better when spicy means flavour rather than pain.”
    I second this.

  • hswoolve

    chili chat aside, it’s good to see Lance and Kane playing like this. I get the feeling they’re friends as well as cousins.

  • Frank Bromley

    served on rice with shredded chedder chese and a dolip of sour creme

    oh and my ersonal recipe uses no cuman but instead uses smioked paprika and cocoa powder

  • toag

    i am partial to dinty moore stew (which resembles alpo… dont think about it while you shovel it into your piehole though!)

  • Smudged

    I’m having mates around for a chilli cookup on Saturday and have been wondering how I could tweak my recipe a bit. I’m definitely trying this!

  • reynard61


    Also, I once had a chili that used chopped pork instead of ground beef and had a strong hint of BBQ sauce. It was actually quite good, but I could *feel* the cholesterol piling up in my arteries. Needless to say, I try to keep my chili addiction under control.

  • RemoteControlAxe

    We recently went to Ben’s chili bowl, and in all honesty, it didn’t really do much for us; it was ok but nothing special. Anyway, my wife normally makes a 5-bean chili. It’s riciculously easy (no worries about under-cooking meat) and fairly healthy. Really, we just take 1 large can each of diced and crushed tomatoes, 1 normal can each of black, pinto, cannellini, dark kidney, and light kidney beans, various spices (she knows better than me, but it includes cayenne, chili powder, cumin, and others I can’t remember), and put it in a crock pot for a few hours.

  • WayneZombie

    Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen is my bible. I make their Basic Chili with one variation, one can of black beans instead of two. I’ve always been a “no beans in chili” man, but I made it a couple of years ago for a BBQ at a friend’s and made it without beans to more easily apply to hot dogs and burgers, and it tasted terrible! Ran off to the store, bought a can of beans, let it cook for another hour and it was fine. I have no idea what a can of black beans brings to the party, but it is profound.

    My friend was jokingly not happy, my chili totally eclipsed his BBQ.

  • JarrysKid

    I once decided I wanted to make chili, but found I had very little ground beef and one small can of tomato. I did have almost a pound of bacon, and plenty of barbecue sauce, so I made up the difference with them. I wish I’d written down exactly what I did, because I’ve never been able to recreate the deliciousness.
    Also, my ex used to make chili with celery, peas, and carrots. (shudder)

  • punman

    Good luck. Let me know how it turns out.

  • Jamie Noguchi

    Oh my god, BACON CHILI FTW!!!!

  • Jamie Noguchi

    Cook’s is totally legit. Everything I’ve ever made from their magazine always turns out excellent.

  • Jamie Noguchi

    So is the five bean totally veg? Doesn’t sound like you need any meat for that one to be infinitely tasty.

  • Jamie Noguchi

    My ex loved that stuff which has kind of tainted it for me, unfortunately. But it is damn tasty.

  • Jamie Noguchi

    Chili, cheese, and rice is such a great combo!

  • Jamie Noguchi

    Third! This is the best kind of spice.

  • Jamie Noguchi

    Sounds like a great recipe!

  • Jamie Noguchi

    Definitely a fan of chili and pasta! It’s the next best thing to spaghetti and meatballs.

  • Jamie Noguchi

    BOOO! That’s a sucker punch.

  • Jamie Noguchi

    Dude, that sounds like perfect college fuel!

  • Jamie Noguchi

    Yup, chili and pasta are a killer combo.

  • Anonymous

    My chilis always tend to turn into a curry if I’m not careful, because that’s really my preference, but the best chili I ever made was black bean and pumpkin. Not veg (because I used turkey stock to start it off), but could be made veg pretty easily, and the pumpkin made it thick and creamy. And gruyeré is a great cheese to put on your chili.

  • thisfox

    I’m rereading these comics, and I got here and thought “wait… what is Chilli?” I had assumed last run through that this was curry, I think. But from the descriptions I’m reading in the comments section, I think it might be Bolognaise sauce with chillis in it. I love the beautiful hot capsicum variants -grow them in the back yard- but what the actual definition of the actual dish Americans call “chilli” is is a mystery to me.

    Next stop Wikipedia! A repository of all things American. :)

    As an aside, enjoying this just as much the second time through as I did when I was reading it day by day. Yay!