Posted by Alan on May 17, 2020

Beans or no beans?  That is the question everyone wants to know.


Chili's beginnings go back to the cattle drives of the Old West.  The chuck wagon cook often had some pretty gamey meat that was as tough as the saddles the cowboys rode all day.  The cook would simmer the meaCt in liquid for many hours with lots of pungent spices to cover up the taste of the meat and make it tender.  So, chili began as meat and gravy.  The traditional Texas bowl of red is meat and gravy.


Songwriter Ken Finlay wrote the song, "If you know beans about know chili has no beans."  Tommy Alverson wrote the song, "Chili Head - No Beans,"


However, as beef became less plentiful, beans were served as a side dish.  Pintos were the bean of choice.  Cowboys would mix the chili and the beans on their plates.  Thsu, the confusion begins. 


As the tasty dish, chili, spread throughout the country, many regional variations came to be.  Some areas know chili as a soupy dish with ground beef and kidney beans.  Some areas default to veggie chili with a variety of beans and other vegetables.  However, the purist will tell you that beans are a filler and not a chili ingredient and to prepare your beans in a separate pot if you like beans.  The noble dish called chili presents as meat and gravy.


So the questions remains - beans or no beans?  I say eat and enjoy your chili however you like it.