Small Bite: Real chili does NOT have beans

Everybody thinks they know how to make chili. Some people do, some people don’t. Both types of people are fine, but what many of them fail to understand is that real chili is not supposed to have beans.

” Serve the beans on the side. Please? “

Now before you go all bean-militant on me and accuse me of being a bean hater, let me be perfectly clear: I love beans. I love beans in chili. But beans are not supposed to be cooked in chili. The correct way to do things is to the cook beans separately and then add them to the chili on a per-serving basis… just like pasta. You don’t boil raw pasta in sauce, do you? No. You prepare pasta separately in its own pot of salted water so that it comes out just so, and then you add your pasta sauce to it. And that’s how chili is supposed to be handled as well.


Confused? Outraged? Mind blown? Well don’t take my word on it. The International Chili Society is the single, official authority on what chili is and what it isn’t. As clearly stated in the chili cookoff event rules:

Chili is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA which are strictly forbidden.

I already know what you’re going to say: “But… but…. I make famous and awesome chili and it has beans in it!” No, I’m sorry, you make famous and awesome chili-style beans. That’s ok though, it’s totally fine. There’s nothing wrong with what you make, you’ve just been calling it the wrong name.

Before you get all huffy about it, I’m not here to tell you what you can and can’t do. You can make chili with toothpaste and pine needles if you feel like, and you can call it whatever you want. Just know that true, legitimate chili consists of exactly two things: meat and flavor. That means “vegetarian chili”, by definition, isn’t.

At this point you might be wondering if you’ve ever really had true, legitimate chili in your entire life, and the truth is there’s a good chance you haven’t. Not to worry! The winning recipes from every World Chili Champion from 1967 to today are posted right here for you to replicate and enjoy. If you can’t decide which one to try first, Tarantula Jack’s recipe is both delicious and easy, and it’s a perfect example of what true chili is supposed to be.

And for the sake of all that is good and wholesome in this world, serve the beans on the side. Please?

This graphic pretty much says it all.

This graphic pretty much says it all.

Nonstandard Disclaimer of Randomness
The views and opinions of the author are strictly correct and expressed as fact. If you find yourself in disagreement with any statements made in this post, stop smoking crack. Please also do not get your feelings all hurt because you just found out you were wrong about the bean thing. We all make mistakes. I once owned several pairs of tapered jeans, for example, but I stopped wearing them. Similarly, you can stop putting beans in your chili.

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