The best chili is at Krystal’s

Well, that’s not entirely true. The best chili is my own in my beautiful Staub cocotte, which is a very fancy word for Dutch oven that Staub likes to throw around. The word not the actual pot. If anyone threw that around it would hurt. And you’d be out about $300 and nobody wants that.

But I digress. Krystal’s chili is remarkably good. King Daddy just loves it and you know that’s some damn good chili when King Daddy bypasses the burgers and loaded fries to tuck into a Styrofoam cup of chili served quite appropriately with oyster crackers. It has a pleasing level of spiciness that’s rare in anything you find at a fast food joint.

So today, with all the choices we faced for lunch, it had to be the Krystal’s for chili.

By the way, the average age of the patrons at the Krystal’s we frequent is 81.5. And I am constantly amazed at how much these folks can pack in. Today, a geriatric couple had a tray with 10 cheese Krystal’s on it plus fries. Maybe they were reliving their drunken college days. Krystal was founded in 1932 so it’s possible.

So here’s my recipe for chili. It relies heavily on a more beefy taste than one of tomato and also on adding a basic chili mix packet and then adding in additional spices to really boost the flavor. As always, taste as you go.


1 pound ground chuck

1 package chili seasoning mix

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained

1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, drained

1 tablespoon dried onion

¾ cup beef stock or broth

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Dash of hot sauce to taste

Salt to taste

Heat a Dutch oven to medium high. Add the ground chuck and brown thoroughly until the fat has been reabsorbed into the meat. Add the chili seasoning packet and stir for one minute. Add the tomato paste and mix thoroughly, continuing to cook for another minute.

Add the diced tomatoes, beans, onion, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder and hot sauce. Taste and add additional salt if necessary.

Simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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