Ground Beef, tomatoes, and beans are simmered together with a unique blend of spices to create the iconic Cincinnati Style Chili. It is delicious when served in a bowl, over spaghetti, or hotdogs. The coneys are the best!
You guys! We finally got our first snow this year! That calls for some celebration around the house. I always get so excited when snow appears. I am of the opinion that if it is going to snow, then it needs to snow me in. Enough snow to make a snowman that isn’t half dirt and dead grass. Enough snow that going to work is cancelled, not just an extra treacherous annoyance. Enough snow that it’s worthy of the grocery store not having my favorite bread. Enough snow that calls for sitting by the fireplace and a piping hot bowl of stew or chili after sledding.
With superbowl this week and snow on the ground, it could not be a more justifiable time to serve chili. But this chili is special. We all have special dishes we delighted in as if they were some special delicacy from a foreign land. Although I spent much of my childhood in Nashville, I have roots in Cincinnati and New Orleans. For me, Cincinnati Style Chili is the only chili. Of course, there were no Skyline restaurants for hours near Nashville, so we did the best we could using the powdered seasoning packets from Kroger. Here in Virginia, we don’t even have the luxury of having a Kroger’s. So years ago, my mother and I set about figuring out the secret Skyline Chili recipe. With the help of some internet sleuths and an article from the Cincinnati Inquirer, we put together a version that had all of the darkly smokey flavor of the authentic version.
I will say that my own preferences run a tad bit different from the traditional Skyline version. First, their chili is often almost a meat sauce consistency and the meat is crumbled very small. I usually make mine chunkier, similar to other types of chili like Texas style chili. Secondly, I cannot eat my chili without dark red kidney beans. There is just something about those beans that adds additional flavor to the chili that I cannot live without. I dump the whole can while cooking, juice and all. Tastes amazing.
How to East Cincinnati Style Chili
I am always delighted to serve up Cincinnati Style Chili at work chili contests (I have even won a few!). I always tell people who haven’t had the pleasure of this chili before, that they need to throw out their preconceived notions of what chili tastes like. I find that when people expect one thing and don’t get it, it can ruin the experience of something new. Cincinnati chili is like traditional chili’s lost cousin. There is some resemblance to call it in the same family, but far enough apart to note the striking difference. Although I am very partial to the coney, there are many unique ways to serve Cincinnati that are as much a part of it’s identity as it’s unique flavor profile.
Option 1 – In a bowl. Add oyster crackers, shredded cheddar cheese, and onions or additional dark red kidney beans.
Option 2 – Coneys – Serve a warm hot dog in a bun smothered with chili. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, onions, and/or dark red kidney beans if desired.
Option 3 – Traditional Spaghetti with Cincinnati Chili – Serve chili over spaghetti noodles and top with shredded cheddar cheese, onions, and/or dark red kidney beans if desired.
Option 4 – A burrito – Rolled soft tortilla filled with chili, tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream
More home-cooked favorites: