HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Best Meat for Texas Chili

Hi there,

I was wondering what type of meat everyone likes to put into their chili. Especially what cuts of beef you like to use. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I like my chili meat a little more fatty (about20%), and use a heavier chili meat grind instead of the traditional ground beef.

    I also like to add diced steak (usually ribeye) into the chili as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kingofkings

      Problem with adding ribeye or the like is that if the chili sits on a warmer those cuts get dry; the delicious fat melts away.

      Those cuts are best for a quick sear, not any low n' slow approach.

      The typical cuts (chuck, etc) have more connective tissue, which takes t-i-m-e to make it tender; perfect for a dish that often sits around on a warmer while waiting to be tasted.

    2. I like do an all-chunk chili (no ground beef), cooked low and slow for a good long time. Chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into bite-sized chunks, is my beef of choice. It has enough connective tissue to give a good mouthfeel without being too fatty.

      You can make good chili from everything from alligator to zebra, but chuck is my favorite.

      2 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        Round or chuck roast. To me, it's traditional and what my father used.

        1. re: alanbarnes

          I don't know about alligator and zebra, but one thing that didn't work out so well was pork belly :)

        2. Round or Chuck cut into 1/8 to 1/4 inch size. Some people grind their meat, but most of the winning chili cooks cut t heir's by hand.

          1. Please, no round. Round is inexpensive and lean, but also tough and has a slight liver taste. Trimmed chuck or sirloin is best.

            1. I usually go with chuck cut in 1/2" cubes, but lately I've been using tri-tip.

              I will also add chorizo on occasion.

              1. Chuck and no other. Cut into 1" cubes, browned well and then cooked for a very long time with home made chili powder, garlic, etc. No beans please.

                1. Put me on the "chuck" wagon too, cut into 1/8 to 1/4 inch cubes, no ground beef and no beans.

                  1. Made a pot of "Texas state prison" Chili last week with Brisket cut into half inch cubes. oui la la

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: paul balbin

                      Sounds intriguing. Got a recipe to share?

                    2. Brisket is my first choice. But I also like to use an assortment of leftover meats that I keep in a gallon ziplock bag in the freezer just for that reason. Which could include sausage, pork, cold cuts and whatever. I just made a pot with both brisket and chuck (not leftover, raw roasts) and the brisket was definitely the better meat in there.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: coll

                        I like your style. Use what ya' got. I usually buy the cheapest beef in the case and knife-cut it.

                      2. my last chili was fantastic (and I don't usually LOVE my outcomes, they always need tweaking the next time - but this was "no changes, awesome"! I used 5 meats in mine. Ground chuck, tiny cubed rib eye or sirloin, bacon, cherizo or spicy sausage like Andouille, and tiny cubed pork.

                        This was my guide - I adjusted and made changes to this recipe:

                        1. I'd go with a 'blade' roast cut into one inch cubes and browned. Next best IMO would be 'chuck (shoulder) but tell the butcher you want the end with the most connective tissue. There is a difference.

                          1. I use shin for pretty much any beef braises/stews - I think that's generally called shank in the States.

                            1. In know Grady Spears recommended venison, but...sadly I have no supply. I have made it using ground bison. I liked it, but it is an awfully lean meat.

                              When pressed for time: Ground chuck and (I know - not exactly authentic), Carroll Shelby's chili mix.

                              1. Lately I've taken to braising either chuck or round in a covered roasting pan using beer as the liquid of choice. The braising is done at a low temperature for several hours until so tender that the meat easily shreds. The shredded meat is refrigerated over night.

                                The liquid resulting from the braising is reserved in glass jars over night in the refrigerator allowing the fat to rise to the top and solidifying so that it can be discarded.

                                The chili is made the next day by sauteing onions and extremely hot chiles in oil. This past summer I discovered a hybrid chile plant in the garden that was a cross between the ghost pepper (bhut jolokia) and a c. annuum. The resulting pods are extremely incendiary.

                                A combination of milder chile powders are also added along with ground cumin and Mexican oregano (Lippia graveolens) which is a verbena instead of Mediterranean oregano.

                                2 Replies
                                1. I use Chuck for both Styles(Ground or Cubed)