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The World's Best No-Bean Chili

No-bean chili is a Texas treat. Read on to see just how easy it is to make.

No-bean chili is a Texas treat. Read on to see just how easy it is to make.

Making Delicious Chili Without Beans

The eyes of Texas are upon you. If you make this chili, I think you will truly discover that you have cooked the world's best! Don't scrimp on your ingredients. Be sure to go to the extra effort to find a beef brisket, trim it up, and cut it into very small cubes. I leave a little fat on my beef cubes to add a lot of wonderful flavor.

You can also use a beef chuck roast, but you won't bet the same flavor. Way back in the old Chuckwagon days, cowboys enjoyed this chili at the end of a hard day's work. You will want to brown your beef brisket cubes before adding them.


  • 1 pound bacon, cut into very small pieces
  • 1 pound red sweet onion, diced very fine
  • 5 pounds lean, trimmed beef brisket, cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup McCormick chili powder
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 3 4-oz. cans of green chilis
  • 3 12-oz. bottles of Corona beer
  • 1 28-oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 six-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped very coarsely


  • If for some reason you do not want to use the beer, then use 36 ounces of apple juice instead. The flavor will be just about the same. (Note: the alcohol will cook out of the beer, so don't avoid it for that reason!)
  • Chocolate is one of the secret ingredients. It deepens the flavor and darkens the sauce. It also adds a distinctive flavor you won't get with any other ingredient. If you don't tell people that the chili has chocolate, they most likely will never be able to guess what the secret ingredient is. Try it and see what you think.
  • Use good quality, lean bacon.


  1. Start with a large skillet. In it, you want to place your diced-up bacon, onion, and garlic. Cook until the bacon is well-cooked and brown before you rake the cooked ingredients into a large stock pot.
  2. Now you will want to add all your other ingredients to the stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and cook for at least two hours, stirring up from the bottom often to be sure the chili does not stick. After two hours, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook two more hours, again stirring often up from the bottom of the pot. Be sure to cook the chili long enough!
  3. When the meat is tender, the chili is done. Test it out by trying a couple of pieces of meat. It should be starting to come apart. If it's not tender, keep cooking on a simmer. If it gets too thick, add another 12 ounces of beer or apple juice. To add more heat, add more cayenne pepper. I like to add Texas Pete hot sauce to the bowl when I am eating.


  • Serve with a garnish of shredded cheddar cheese, finely chopped cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, and hot sauce. Serve over a square of Mexican cornbread (recipe below) for an extra tasty treat.
  • Try adding a little lime juice to your chili in the serving bowl and you just may be hooked for life. Lime is wonderful, especially in a no-bean chili like the one here on this page. Try it and I bet you'll love it.

Beans or no beans?

I originally created this chili to serve on hot dogs and hamburgers at barbecues. Then people started wanting a quart to take home, and before long this chili made its way into the bowl with the addition of captains wafers or other good quality butter crackers. So no recipe is written in stone. If you want to add beans, then by all means add them.

  • Add 2 large cans of rinsed kidney beans halfway through cooking.
While most of the chilis I make do contain beans, this one here is the worlds best with no beans at all.

While most of the chilis I make do contain beans, this one here is the worlds best with no beans at all.

Skillet Corn Bread


  • 2 teaspoons bacon drippings
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 3/4 cups white cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground sea salt


  1. Coat the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast iron skillet with the bacon drippings. Heat the skillet in a 450-degree oven.
  2. Stir together egg and buttermilk. Add the corn meal, stirring well. Stir in the baking powder, soda, and salt. Cornbread batter should be fairly thin and pourable. If it seems too thick, add a little more liquid.
  3. Pour batter into a hot skillet. You will find that pouring the batter into a very hot skillet gives it a crispy exterior.
  4. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned.

You may ask yourself: white or yellow cornmeal? It really doesn't matter which type you use, though the white has a milder flavor. Plain cornmeal has no additives. Self-rising cornmeal has leavening agents and salt blended in the correct proportions to ensure that baked goods rise properly. Cornmeal mix is self-rising cornmeal plus flour added to lighten the result. Only liquid and sometimes eggs are added to prepare cornbread batter from mixes.

Corn Bread Croutons

Sometimes I make cornbread croutons. I let the leftover cornbread air-dry, then I cut it into small cubes, place them on a baking sheet, and bake them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until well toasted. They are oh-so wonderful in a bowl of chili.

Cornbread With Cheese and Bacon

This is not the usual old cornbread. It is rich with cheese and bacon, flavored with onion and green pepper. A bit of cream-style corn gives it moistness. Try this recipe and I just bet you'll love it.


  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/14 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup canned creamed corn
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced fine
  • 2 tablespoons green bell pepper, minced fine


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 10-inch round cake pan and place it in the oven to heat.
  2. Fry the bacon until it is very crisp. Drain well and crumble up fine.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl mix the eggs up well and add in the remaining ingredients. Stir well until very well mixed together.
  4. Pour batter into the hot pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Cut into 8 wedges and serve with butter.

© 2009 Thomas Byers