Texas Chili Burgers


I’ve had a lot of requests for this recipe since I posted the picture from Texas a few weeks ago. The secret to a good chili burger is, obviously, good chili, and good chili takes time. LOTS of time. So I suggest that you prepare the chili the day before, eat some of it for dinner, and save the left-overs to spice up your burgers the next day.

Texas Chili Burgers

  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 1/2 lb ground hamburger meat
  • lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices of cheddar cheese
  • Chili con carne (recipe follows)
  • 1 bag of Fritos
  • condiments of choice (mayo, ketchup, bbq sauce, etc)
for 4 burgers

Toast the hamburger buns in the oven under the broiler for 1 minute, careful not to burn them. Form 4 patties out of the ground meat. Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the burgers when the oil is hot and don’t touch them for a couple minutes. The burgers are ready to flip when they unstick naturally from the pan. Carefully flip the burgers and place a slice of cheese on the cooked side. Continue to cook until burgers reach the desired doneness. Salt and pepper the meat.

Assemble the burger from the bottom up in the following order: bun / mayo + ketchup / lettuce / tomato / onion / burger patty / cheese / chili con carne / fritos / mayo + ketchup / bun.

Serve immediately.

Chili con carne

  • 2 ancho chiles*
  • 4 pieces of bacon
  • 1 kg of chuck roast, (polpa di spalla) cut into 1 cm cubes and patted dry with paper towels.
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup of coffee
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 1 can of peeled whole tomatoes, or 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 chipotle peppers*
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp masa harina* or cornmeal
8 servings

If using dried chiles, toast them in a dry, cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat for a few minutes per side. Transfer chiles to a bowl, cover with cold water and let soak for 30 minutes.

Fry the bacon in a large, heavy pot with a small amount of oil. When golden-brown and crisp, remove the bacon from the pan and dice. Leave the bacon grease in the pot over medium heat and lightly the beef chunks in two batches. Transfer the browned beef to a bowl and set aside. Leave any juices and grease in the pot over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until the onions become translucent, then add the browned beef, garlic, coffee, beer, tomatoes, 1 cup of water, diced bacon and dry spices. Turn the heat to high until the stew begins to boil, then lower to a simmer.

Drain the soaking chiles and discard the water. Remove the seeds from the chiles then place them in the blender along with the canned chipotle chiles and 1/2 cup of fresh water. Puree until soft then add to the chili pot.

Leave chili, uncovered at a slow simmer for 4-5 hours, tasting for salt and adjusting spices to your liking. If you want a spicier chili, add another pureed chipotle pepper or a teaspoon of cayenne pepper (peperoncino). Add a bit more water if it gets to dry, but keep in mind that the end product should not be a wet beef stew, but a dense chili that can almost be eaten with a fork.

When chili begins to boil, turn heat down to low and let simmer for five hours, stirring occasionally. Taste it once an hour, and if the flavors are too muted, feel free to add more of any of the spices. Also, it starts to get too dry, add more liquid (your choice!).

Stir masa harina or cornmeal together with 1/4 cup of the broth until smooth then add it to the chili pot. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes.

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