Chili (spelled with an I because we are referring to the dish, not the pepper itself) is as provocative a subject among foodies as BBQ. The most widespread image of chili is chili con carne, the Texas archetype that is little more than what its name says: chili with meat. Beef is the usual meat, but attend a chili cook-off and you might find anything from chili con alligator to chili con zebra. Texas chiliheads are adamant about true chili not containing beans or, for that matter, any other vegetable. (Technically, the chile pepper is not a vegetable, but a berry of the nightshade family.) Outside of Texas, chili eaters tend to be more flexible in their vision of the dish. Beans are a common ingredient in the hearty chilis of New England and most of the northern U.S., as are tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Throughout the Midwest and even in chili parlors of the Northwest, macaroni or spaghetti noodles are part of such regional specialties as Green Bay chili, Cincinnati Chili, chili pasta, and Chili Mac. In these dishes, you might also find onions and a topping of grated cheese – both anathema to Texas-chili purists. It is a little-known fact that Springfield, Illinois, is the Chilli Capital of the World. So declared the Illinois state legislature; and yes, they spell it with two L’s. Springfield chilli is a forceful combo of “chilli meat” (seasoned ground beef) and beans topped with a slick layer of oil that ranges from moderately hot to temperature-of-the-sun. Oyster crackers always are served alongside.

Restaurants With This Dish

Dottie’s Diner


Four quarter-pound beef patties with cheese & condiments piled into a bun
Hank’s Hamburgers


Lubins-N-Links - Chili Link


Bidwell Tavern & Cafe


Highland Park Diner


Rainbow Drive-In


Chili Recipes

Cincinnati Chili


What do you think of Chili?

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