This one’s for the haters.
For real though, if you’re a hater, it’s possibly because there’s an alternative way to think about Cincinnati chili. It’s really more of a Greek meat sauce with more traditional Middle Eastern spices. If you’re in Cincinnati, hit up a chili parlor, it’s a tradition.
And if you can’t get there, here’s a take on it that I believe is pretty close (and that’s from going to Skyline for lunch nearly ever single Friday for 4 years)
Basic ingredients and some crazy spices.
And the spices…lots of chili powder, along with cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, allspice, and cloves.
And cocoa powder. The secret ingredient.
Some recipes call for beef broth instead of the beef base and water, like I use in mine. Either one can be used, it’s just a matter of preference for me not to keep beef broth around. I like to use Minor’s Beef base for this.
Brown the ground beef. I like to do this in the Instant Pot. So convenient! I am currently using the Instant Pot Max and I LOVE IT. (affiliate link)
Moosh it up really good after it is done browning. The Pampered Chef Mix N Chop is my favorite tool for this. Drain the ground beef.
Add your spices.
Tomato paste and beef base.
And apple cider vinegar and water.
Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. You can also do this on the stove but I’d give it at least an hour on the stove. The pressure cooker REALLY makes the flavors come together quickly though.
When you’re done it’s going to look like this. In order to make it a proper meat sauce, you need some emulsification going on.
I like to use an immersion blender for this. I don’t completely blend it but when you blend some of it you’ll see it comes together nicely as a thicker sauce. You could also take out about 25% of it and blend in a blender as well, that should have close to the same result.
I package this up into 1 cup portions and freeze it for quick dinners. The traditional way to serve it…coney dogs (my personal favorite) or 5 way (my husband and daughter love this).
For a traditional coney, start with some yellow mustard.
Add your meat sauce.
And finely grated cheese.
And loads of Frank’s Red Hot sauce.
For a 5 way, start with spaghetti and sauce.
Add beans. Unless you want a 4 way. Then, no beans. These are chili beans from a can.
Finely shredded cheese.
And Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Some people add sour cream as well (maybe that’s a 6 way? Or 7 because I didn’t count the hot sauce?) In a real chili parlor you’d have oyster crackers to go along with.
Instant Pot Cincinnati Chili
- 2 lb ground beef
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3 tbsp cocoa
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp beef base
- 10.5 oz water
- Brown ground beef and drain fat. Combine ground beef with rest of ingredients and pressure cook for 20 minutes, or stove on medium (covered) for at least an hour. Immersion blend until thickened or blend 25% in a blender. Add back and serve over hot dogs or spaghetti.