Texans take their chili seriously. Maybe too seriously. But since Texans claim bragging rights to many things, it should be no surprise they profess to have the best chili, too. The main point of pride with the Texas variety is the absence of beans. It’s meat and spices only. Beans are for wimps. And Yankees.
There’s no denying the results, however. A meat-based chili puts the emphasis where it belongs, on tender beef (or occasionally venison) enhanced by a blend of fiery peppers and flavorful seasonings like garlic, onions, and oregano. Chili cook-offs are traditionally cultural celebrations in Texas towns, and winners become local celebrities. In fact, the granddaddy of all chili competitions, the Original Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff, held near Big Bend each year, draws hundreds of renowned chili “chefs” by invitation only from across the country, much to the delight of the thousands of chili-heads in attendance.
Not surprisingly, Texans claim to have the original chili recipe, though food historians trace the dish to Incas, Aztecs, and Mayan cultures. The Texas connection is tied to Canary Islanders, who arrived in San Antonio  in the early 1700s with traditional meals of meat blended with herbs, garlic, wild onions, and other veggies, including pungent local peppers. These days, Texans typically opt to prepare their chili at home, since restaurants could never duplicate the perfect combination of ingredients passed down through the generations in family recipes.