Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !!

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mayor al
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2003/03/14 18:42:10 (permalink)

Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !!

When I first tried chili at a small place in southern Indiana I wasn't prepared for what the locals refer to as Cincinnati-style chili !!! Digging deep into the bowl I expected to fetch up some beans and meat...or at least some beans. But NOOOOOOO, There was the residue of someone's Italian Dinner ( I thought) resting at the bottom of my bowl. My companion, a local resident, explained that " All Chili has some form of pasta in it somewhere". Being a Californian I was sort of accustomed to odd combinations, but had not heard of this before. Now, after a couple of decades of Midwestern life, I am not only accustomed... I miss the noodles when I go to those Tex-Mex or SouthWestern Style places. While I enjoy a moderate amount of 'Heat' in my Chili, I find my system agrees with the nutmeggy/cinnamon combinations found at Empress, Skyline, or Gold Star Chili parlor's. I just wish the pro's would use a bowl instead of a plate... Give me a bowl of 5 way, and I will just grin... You can have your Tex-Mex Bowl of Red anyday.
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    Michael Stern
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/03/14 21:09:46 (permalink)
    I too really like Midwestern chili, known in Chicago where I grew up as Chili Mac. If you do wantheat with this style chili, the place to go is[url='http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=301']Real Chili[/url] in Milwaukee or Chili John's up in Green Bay. Chili John Isaac is supposed to have been the man behind the invention of the spoon-size oyster cracker (to help dampen the heat of his chili).
    #2
    jennycola
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/03/17 13:32:03 (permalink)
    I'm looking for some chili help. I persuaded a chef to give me his chili recipe (my husband loves it) and it contains something called Brown Sauce, it apparently comes in a large can. Any thoughts on what this might be? Should I try a restaurant supply company to get some or is it like a tomato/beef stock sauce?
    #3
    jessicazee
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/03/22 20:32:47 (permalink)
    jennycola, how much "brown sauce" is called for? If it's only a little tiny amount, it might be Kitchen Bouquet? Although I've never heard of that going in chili. You should ask the chef. I'm sure it's something not used regularly in home cooking. The chef should have known that and given you another option...but...

    Here's a recipe I found for professional brown sauce - I guess it's like your general "white sauce" - only it's um, brown.
    http://www.recipesource.com/side-dishes/sauces/03/rec0334.html
    #4
    stanpnepa
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/03/22 22:45:53 (permalink)
    Skyline Chili cans their sauce and it's really easy to make---even I could whip up dinner in fifteen minutes---and the wife loves it too! A friend of a friend gave us a couple---they have relatives in Cincy, so I'm not sure whether Skyline is available for purchase by the can or by the case---but it's awfully good Roadfood that you can store in your cupboards.
    #5
    jennycola
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/03/24 12:46:18 (permalink)
    thanks jessicazee!- I thought of Kitchen Bouquet. The recipe does call for a lot, the amount of brown sauce is (gulp!) 2 gallons! I still hope to check out a restaurant supply house if the chef can't be more specific on what "brown sauce" is (trying to hide his secret recipe perhaps?). I think I'll try the brown sauce recipe you sent and see how it works out.
    #6
    jessicazee
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/03/24 17:59:17 (permalink)
    Cool! Tell me how it turns out. It seems like such a weird ingredient for chili. I put lots of stuff in mine, but never brown sauce - it must be a binder or thickener of some sort. I use a lot of beef stock and cook it for a very long time at a simmer, then besides all the other stuff, I'll add some cornmeal to thicken it a bit.
    #7
    seafarer john
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/04/22 21:56:23 (permalink)
    Brown sauce is Sauce Espagnole. It is made by making a brown roux.
    Butter or oil and flour cooked till it is a nice nut brown, and browning beef or veal with bones in the oven, and adding the roux and brown meat and bones to a pot of water and onion, carrot, garlic, parsley, thyme, bayleaf, salt and pepper, tomato paste, and simmering for several hours. it is usually used as the base for some other sauce- like chile. Or you can go to the grocery store and buy the stuff in a can.
    Or you can buy The Joy of Cooking (not to be confused with the Joy of Sex which you might also want to buy) and Erma will tell you more about Brown Sauce than you will ever want to know.
    #8
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/04/22 22:00:49 (permalink)
    That sounds really good. Under what label can you buy it? To me that sounds like a sauce that can improve a chile or any thing else.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #9
    Tacohead
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/05/23 17:30:46 (permalink)
    I was fortunate to live in one of the rare places outside of the OH/KY/IN axis that served "Cincinnati Chili". Gold Star made a run at the Denver market and opened a spot in the Tech Center. I had no idea there was an entire culture surrounding this unknown food (to me). As luck would have it, we had a new employee from the Cincinnati area (hi spamlamb!) who explained to me there is more to this than "just another fast food". After a few visits and coaching, I was hooked for life. A bad thing since the Gold Star folded (I'll save for another post).

    Anyhoo - I finally made it to the Cincinnati area last year and tried both thwe legendary Skyline (in Norwood - was told to stick close to the city center. I also had Skyline in Columbus and didn't notice a difference) and Dixie Chili (Erlanger, KY). Both were outstanding! So now the big question:

    Next time I happen to be in the area, what is the best couple of places to try: Empress Chili, Camp Washington Chili, Pleasant Ridge Chili, US Chili, Chili Time, Blue Ash Chili, others?????
    #10
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/05/23 17:37:17 (permalink)
    Tacohead, I am anxious to hear the response you get. I have tried all of the above and I liked them all. I have stopped at the "Gold Star" many times as they have several facilities in the Cincy area. I did "Skyline" and they were also good.

    Several more facilities in the Cincy area do a better job as they are smaller and control their quality better.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #11
    Michael Stern
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/05/23 20:24:48 (permalink)
    I like[url='http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=119']Camp Washington[/url] best. And for double-decker sandwiches (a lesser-appreciated aspect of Cincinnati Chili Parlor cuisine), [url='http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=1166']Price Hill[/url].
    #12
    Hastyman
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/05/23 21:12:45 (permalink)
    There's a Chili John's in Beaver Dam, WI which is unrelated to the Chili John's in Green Bay. It's a very retro-looking-and-feeling place, like stepping back into the 1940s. (They have a KILLER neon sign on their facade.) The chili is more of a peppery hamburger-and-onion stew; I don't think there's any tomato in it at all. Also, unlike the rest of Wisconsin's chili, it's pasta-free.
    #13
    Hastyman
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/05/23 21:16:29 (permalink)
    Oh yeah . . . I'm willing to bet the most unique chili place in the Midwest is New Chili Time in Minneapolis (Dinkytown, near the U of M). It's a combination Cincy-style chili parlor and Ethiopian restaurant. A friend of mine from Cincy said it was "like a mom-and-pop place back home, but not as good as Skyline." The Ethiopian food--well, it's really not to my taste, but the Africans I went to grad school with raved about it.
    #14
    paul and louise
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/08/27 18:19:28 (permalink)
    i have never made the same chili twice
    some good, some too adventuresome
    make your texas red, or basic meat and tomato sauce chili
    add beans, then a little cocoa and ginger, cinnamon, turmeric to taste
    personally i love cincy chili on a dog[hot that is]
    #15
    Bushie
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/08/27 20:00:34 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by paul and louise

    i have never made the same chili twice
    some good, some too adventuresome
    make your texas red, or basic meat and tomato sauce chili
    add beans, then a little cocoa and ginger, cinnamon, turmeric to taste
    personally i love cincy chili on a dog[hot that is]


    What I usually do is make "real chili" the first day for dinner, then let the rest set a couple of days in the fridge. I'll add a little cocoa, cinnamon, allspice, and a tiny bit of brown sugar, then serve it over spaghetti with chopped onions, grated cheddar, kidney beans (canned) and whatever hot sauce I have open on the side.

    I love "5-ways", but my wife and daughter only eat this meal to be polite, I'm convinced.
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    EliseT
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2003/08/28 02:38:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Hastyman

    There's a Chili John's in Beaver Dam, WI which is unrelated to the Chili John's in Green Bay. It's a very retro-looking-and-feeling place, like stepping back into the 1940s. (They have a KILLER neon sign on their facade.) The chili is more of a peppery hamburger-and-onion stew; I don't think there's any tomato in it at all. Also, unlike the rest of Wisconsin's chili, it's pasta-free.


    We have a Chili John's in Burbank that was opened in the 50s by the Green Bay guys. I thought it curious that they claimed to invent the oyster cracker, but I guess "inventing" a size of cracker is more plausable. It is charming because there are all these metal pots in an island in the center of the counter and they dole out whatever combo of ingredients and heat you order, then throw handfuls of oyster crackers in the to go bag. But I have to say I still like my chili better than any I can ever buy, so I don;t go there much.
    #17
    Tristan Indiana
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/02/16 19:45:38 (permalink)
    I alway thought cincy chili was german based being there is such a strong german population there. Imagine my shock when I found out the chili shops were started by greek immigrants to cicny.
    #18
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/03/26 10:36:02 (permalink)
    A short review of mr Stern's favorite Cincinnati chili establishment appeared today in the weekend dining section of the local paper: http://www.cincinnati.com/freetime/dining/reviews/032604_campwashchili_yum.html
    #19
    Wallyum
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/04/13 00:07:59 (permalink)
    For anyone interested in online ordering:
    http://www.dixiechili.com/
    http://www.skylinechili.com/
    http://www.goldstarchili.com/
    This is the "Big 3" of the Cincinnati variety. Like someone said earlier, it makes for a quick and easy dinner for those nights when you just don't feel like going overboard.
    #20
    Lone Star
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/04/13 16:13:17 (permalink)
    Here in Houston on the local radio afternoon commute talk show, there is a running feud between the host of the show and his new intern, a young lady from Cincinnati.

    Apparently, to people who grew up eating Skyline chili, being deprived of it would be akin to a transplanted Texan trying to find some enchiladas. This poor girl was so desperate she even tried an off brand can of midwestern style chili, which was awful.

    As you can imagine, she gets a lot of grief from the Texan audience about her "so-called" chili.

    They keep talking about arranging for some Skyline chili to be sent down and compare it with the one of the chili competition champions.

    I have never had that kind of chili, so I could not say, but the feud does provide for some drive-time entertainment!
    #21
    mayor al
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/04/13 18:46:19 (permalink)
    Lone Star,
    As I said in the very first post on this thread, The difference in the flavor plus the pasta in the bottom of the bowl threw me for a loop my first time around. However I must admit it does grow on you. I prefer my chili in a bowl as opposed to a platter that looks like a variation of of spagetti dinner rather than a bowl of 'Red'. Flavor is a matter of "there is no comparison"
    Much the same as there is no reasonable way to compare BBQ Beef and BBQ Pork...It is an Apples and Oranges type of thing. I hope you get the chance to get some good Cincinnati style chile sometime soon. While you may not jump on the bandwagon, I would expect you to recognize it as a new curve on an old favorite.
    #22
    Wallyum
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/04/13 23:27:57 (permalink)
    Our old neighbors were transplants from Detroit, MI and Erie, PA. Neither of them had previously been familiar with Cincinnati chili and naturally I suggested Skyline and Dixie as potential quick meals when I welcomed them to the neighborhood. He eventually acquired a taste for our chili, but his wife never stopped referring to it as "spicy hamburger soup over spaghetti".
    My wife and I have friends who live everywhere from the Carolina's to Florida. Whenever they find that we'll be in the "neighborhood" they ask us to pack along a case or so of the local product. (Either Dixie or Skyline. Gold Star seems to be regarded as okay only in a pinch.)
    #23
    Tacohead
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/04/24 21:35:54 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Hastyman

    Oh yeah . . . I'm willing to bet the most unique chili place in the Midwest is New Chili Time in Minneapolis (Dinkytown, near the U of M). It's a combination Cincy-style chili parlor and Ethiopian restaurant. A friend of mine from Cincy said it was "like a mom-and-pop place back home, but not as good as Skyline." The Ethiopian food--well, it's really not to my taste, but the Africans I went to grad school with raved about it.


    I made a note of this place for the next time I was in Minneapolis. Well I'm here now - and it appears to be gone - or at least it's not listed in the phone book... bummer!

    #24
    Tacohead
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/04/24 21:43:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    Tacohead, I am anxious to hear the response you get. I have tried all of the above and I liked them all. I have stopped at the "Gold Star" many times as they have several facilities in the Cincy area. I did "Skyline" and they were also good.

    Several more facilities in the Cincy area do a better job as they are smaller and control their quality better.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN


    Well Paul, it's been 2 years and not a lot of response. However, I've been back to Cincinnati twice on business since and managed to stuff 3 more places in. Empress Chili is VERY similar to Skyline/Gold Star/Dixie. Camp Washington has a similar flavor but a different texture to the pasta (more spongy). Price Hill Chili (sort of the "home" for this style of food - at least the home of Skyline). Again the pasta is of the spongy variety, but the chili itself isn't as heavily spiced as the more well-known places. Reminded me of Steak and Shakes generic attempt " />. I guess these days, Price Hill is more known for "double decker" sandwiches. No matter what - GREAT ambience. They don't make places like this anymore. And I was called "hon" by someone I wouldn't normally want that from. C'mon, it doesn't get better.....
    #25
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/04/25 00:01:06 (permalink)
    Next time, get to Blue Ash Chili...and be sure to get some Goetta somewhere, I believe both Camp Washington as well as Price Hill Chili both serve it
    #26
    AndrewO
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/05/20 19:11:05 (permalink)
    I've lived here in cincinnati for almost a year and can't at all handle the so-called chili, and i started with an open mind. I love regional foods but this is some crazy stuff. Maybe because it's called chili, is what messes me up. I can't handle it even on top of hot dogs, and I consider myself a chili dog conneiseur, at least in the south!
    #27
    mayor al
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/05/20 19:18:27 (permalink)
    Andrew
    it's kinda like a Jedi-Starwars thing... Close your eyes and open you mind to the Force !!! I like my peppery spicy chili, but If they would only serve the Cincy Chili in a bowl instead of a plate I would vote it an equal to the Western Style. Different strokes---
    #28
    UncleVic
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/05/21 00:22:58 (permalink)
    Around here they call it Chili Mac (West Michigan)... My old landlord is a chef and he used to bring me a quart of the stuff home maybe once a week... Not bad, and was very filling... Though well appreciated, being a Northener, I prefer the juice - meat - and Beans variety of chili! If I was to have pasta with meat and sauce, make it a Lasagne! or Sphagetti dinner!!!
    #29
    hawkeyejohn
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    RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! 2004/05/21 09:08:01 (permalink)
    As a midwesterner, I do not want to be associated with this type of chili at all.....'cause it ain't chili.
    #30
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