Actually, this sounds a lot like the chili I was raised on down in Springfield. Although I've never seen the ground beef "steam-cooked", the end result sounds similar.
The best chili houses around Springfield, including my grandfather's hamburger joints, made chili like this:
Start with suet, and fry the hamburger in that (the ground beef itself had plenty of fat; they didn't sell "lean ground beef" back then, at least not in Springfield).
Spices were limited to some commercial chili powder (Williams was the favorite) and LOTS of cumin. A little bit of garlic powder was often added, but one could rarely taste it.
Beans were optional, but it was always pintos if they were added.
The glaring exception to this recipe in Springfield was the chili made by Casper's
, which incidentally is the only one of the old places still open. Coincidence
The closest thing I could use to describe Casper's would be the chili at Steak 'n Shake, but Casper's is INFINITELY better.