Cincinnati Chili was a certain acquired taste for me. Growing up on a more Texas style chili, Cincinnati style has a very odd assortment of flavors for one to consider it chili. Chocolate and cinnamon? Weird. Served over spaghetti and topped with a mound of cheese? Even odder.
But acquire that taste I did. After being around it, and ignoring it for the two years I lived in Cincinnati, I oddly acquired the taste for it not long after leaving. Then moving out west to California, I was once again cut off from it. While I can order it at a slight premium from Amazon or Walmart, it’s become easier (and cheaper) to make it myself. Even if it isn’t perfect, this recipe is my closest yet.
Cincinnati Style Chili Batch 21 Recipe
Makes around 1 gallon (4 – 4 cup storage containers)
Can easily be cut in half for a smaller batch. And it freezes really well, just cool completely and remove the solidified fat first.
3.5 lbs 80/20 lean ground beef
28oz beef broth (less salt version)
28oz chicken broth (less salt version)
18oz tomato paste
4 tbsp cider vinegar
4 beef bullion cubes
Add the above to a 6 qt stock pot or slow cooker and do not turn on the heat. Stir the above up until it become a thick paste. This will help break up the meat into tiny pieces and keep it from clumping.
If you use frozen ground beef, let sit in the COLD broth until it is matched the temp and it is no longer frozen. Failure to do this will result in lumpy chili. Use a potato masher or heavy whisk to help break it up if needed.
Once it’s a nice paste, put the heat on medium high and add the following:
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp paprika
4 Tbsp dark chili powder
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp hot chile powder
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp dry yeast
Then, stir every 10 minutes to keep mixed (the meat will fall to the bottom). Once a boil is reached, lower heat to a slow simmer and cover. Leave to simmer another 2-3 hours with the lid on, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Uncover for another hour to simmer off some of the water and thicken the chili (if needed). Remove bay leaves.
Refrigerate for 2-3 days before reheating and serving for best
results. This allows you to pull off the fat which will collect at the top when chilled. Otherwise try to pull off the top with a ladle before serving.
Serve as traditionally served or as you wish. I prefer over spaghetti with shredded cheese (3-way) and a side of oyster crackers and hot sauce (put the hot sauce in a broken oyster cracker to make what is known in parts of Cincinnati as a torpedo).