Just in time for cooler autumn weather, National Chili Month falls in October this year, and locals have their thoughts on what does — and doesn’t — make this dish delicious.
Members of the What’s Happening in Tahlequah Facebook group were asked their chili preferences on Oct. 11. Meat is an important component of the dish, and most group members said they liked either beef, pork, or both.
Some individuals, like Ray Jones and Christina Freeman, said they enjoyed their chili made with deer meat. Nancy E. Graham said she enjoyed bison chili, while Jessica Viland Chandler is a fan of white chicken chili.
While many said they enjoyed chili with and without beans, several were not keen on their inclusion.
“Beef with NO BEANS,” wrote Jim Trickett.
Still, many said they enjoyed adding beans to their chili. Barbara Burrows Coffman said she used chili beans in her recipe, while Deacon Michael Hopper said he makes his with kidney beans, as well as Bloody Mary mix.
From different spices to toppings, recipes shared from the group varied.
“Ground beef, beans, tomato sauce, petite diced tomatoes,” said Billie Tiller Arey. “Served with crushed Fritos, onions, and optional bread-and-butter pickles.
Cherokee Lowe, branch manager of the Tahlequah Public Library, shared that she can eat chili with or without beans, but said she loves a meaty chili.
“I use a lot of hamburger. I like most beans, so I’m not particular about which ones I use. Lots of cumin and chili powder. I love to use V8 as the liquid, throw in canned tomatoes, and diced tomatoes and green chilis,” said Lowe.
Lowe later said she scored this recipe off of the Pioneer Library’s System website about a year ago.
“It’s easy and I love it,” she said. “I do modify it sometimes, but this is the general idea.”
Chili enchiladas, a dish Lowe’s grandmother used to make, are her favorite way to eat chili.
“She would fry flour tortillas, place one on a plate, top with chili and cheese, second tortilla, more cheese, then lettuce, diced tomato, and sour cream,” said Lowe. “Delicious!”
Chili doesn’t have to be eaten solo. Vidalia’s Cafe Owner Michelle Naylor said she loves the Chili Bowl brand used at the restaurant and shared some popular combos.
“The obvious parings would include crackers, grilled cheese, a hot dog or even on a potato, but we think you could pair it with any sandwich as a side or a salad to warm you up,” said Naylor.