Cookbook:Jailhouse Chili

Jailhouse Chili
CategoryChili recipes

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This is a modern version of Jailhouse Chili, as served in the Texas prison system. In the early part of the 20th century, those likely to regularly spend time in local detention facilities in the American Southwest were said to rate the accommodations among themselves by the quality of the chili con carne they were served. This became a matter of local pride and competition with other communities.




  1. Sear beef in a little cooking oil (not lard) until lightly browned. Drop the seared beef and chili peppers in a large stock pot, and add enough water to keep the meat from burning. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer about 30 minutes.
  2. Take pot off the stove and add spices and garlic. Put back on the stove, bring to a boil again, lower heat, and simmer another 90 minutes, keeping the lid on as much as possible. Stir when necessary, but remember that too much stirring will tear the meat. Add a little more water if anything seems seriously in danger of burning (but as little water as possible).
  3. Take pot off the stove and skim off all or most of the grease. Serve hot.