I am writing this to start a food fight! I was visiting family in Cincinnati, and the hotel I was at was next to a Skyline Chili, and it got me thinking. What is the Mt. Rushmore of chili?Everybody has a favorite, and there are so many choices; what is the best? This is my opinion on the subject, and I will give my arguments for each iconic chili type. Feel free to chime in on your favorite.
Detroit – This is my hometown chili. It was based on the New York chili by a Greek man, Constantine Keros, in 1917 at American Coney Island. It is more savory than spicy, hearty with a lot of oregano. Coney places are as common as White Castles in Detroit. It is usually served on a hotdog with onions and cheese or in a bowl with the same toppings. It is made with suet and ground beef, so it is not waist line friendly. There is another with the similar recipe – Lafayette Coney Island which was started by his brother two years after the original.
Cincinnati- Skyline Chili originated this unique chili which has cocoa, onions, kidney beans, and cheese piled high and is served with spaghetti (Five Way). This has been a staple since the 1920’s. There are over 180 chili locations in the area. This chili also has Mediterranean influence with cinnamon, allspice, and cocoa. I know I used cocoa twice, but it is unusual.
Texas – Also called bowl of red. This is made with chuck roast cubes, tomatoes, beer, ancho chili, tomato paste, and onions slow cooked to perfection. No beans here – this is also the base for the Texas classic Frito pie. This chili is tangy, fruity, and meaty, thicker than most chili, and eats more like a winter meal. This traces back to its origin in West Texas where cattle drives originated.
Kansas City – This is the most meat-forward; since Kansas City is a BBQ town, the chili reflects the BBQ roots . The chili has brisket and pulled pork running through it. It has a tomato base and does have beans. This is sweeter than other chilis due to the addition of molasses but still has a kick due to its chili pepper level.
New Mexico Chili Verde – This is a green chili made with roasted spicy hatch chilis. It is also unique with the use of slow roasted pork. This spicy chili also contains garlic, cilantro, water, and may contain tomatillos. This chili is huge at breakfast, lunch and dinner.