Warm up with three regional chilis and see why each has a cult following. The experts share their recipes with Food Network Magazine.
In Texas, chili is practically a religion, with one important tenet: Keep it simple. That means no beans and, often, no tomatoes — just beef and spices. “Texas red,” as the locals call it, gets its distinctive dark red color from a big shot of chili powder (a mix of spices that usually includes paprika, cumin and cayenne). Texans cook it low and slow, just like their barbecue, until the chili gets thick and the meat is super tender. Texas Chili Parlor in Austin serves one of the most well-known versions: The Austin American-Statesman called it “legendary,” and owner Scott Zublin says his customers put away up to 250 gallons every week. You can order it mild, hot or extra-hot; the recipe Zublin gave us makes a moderately spicy chili. To turn the heat up or down, just adjust the amount of chili powder. 1409 Lavaca St.; txchiliparlor.com
Try the recipe: Texas Bowl of Red (pictured above)