Growing up, homemade chili at my house was made from Wick Fowler Chili packages. You can easily make this chili at home without the package. All you need are some simple ingredients that may already be in your pantry.
If you have never tried one of the Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili packages sold in most spice sections of the grocery stores you are missing out on some easy to make chili. They have an optional red chili packet inside of there so you can dial up the heat to the chili if you desire. We always went all in, living in Texas I think our levels of heat are different than in some parts of the country.
Chili is one of those things that is always going to divide people. Some like mild chili, while others can only enjoy a bowl if it’s spicy enough to make their noses run. Then there is the whole bean dilemma. With or without? And don’t even bring up the subject of whether adding corn is ever culinarily acceptable.
Whatever your personal preferences are, having a good middle-of-the-road recipe like the one below in your back pocket is great if you ever need to whip up a crowd-pleasing meal in a hurry. And talk about easy.
This recipe is almost as simple to prepare as ripping open a store-bought 2 alarm chili kit and a whole lot cheaper. Make a homemade chili mix kit or two and bring it along to your next tailgate or on that weekend camping trip. You won’t be sorry!
What is Masa Harina?
You know you are in the presence of a real chili master whenever you walk into the kitchen and see a bag of masa harina on the counter. Masa harina is a flour made from corn; however, it’s not the same as ordinary cornmeal. Masa harina is more closely related to hominy grits as both are made from corn kernels that have been cooked and then soaked in an alkaline solution.
Masa harina is widely used in Mexican and Southwestern cooking to make doughs for corn tortillas and tamales and thicken stews, much like cornstarch. In fact, if you can’t get your hands on masa harina where you live, you can use an equal amount of cornstarch instead (dissolve the cornstarch in the water or tomato sauce before adding to the chili). Other alternatives are using a few crushed corn chips, finely chopped corn tortilla, or even hominy grits.
Let’s Talk About Beans
I am not going to choose a side when it comes to the great debate of whether beans have a place in chili, but if you fall on the pro-bean side of the divide, you might as well do it right. That means skip soaking dried beans overnight and then cooking them low and slow for hours.
Yep, canned beans are the best for chili, and they are so much more convenient. As for which variety of beans to use, there are a lot of opinions out there. In the country’s southwest region, pinto beans are preferred but order a bowl in any diner in the Northeast, and you will get chili with red kidney beans. Of course, you can consider using black beans or even pink beans, but you probably want to stay away from cannellini, chickpeas, and fava beans.
Tips for Making, Serving, and Storing Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili
- Make a few extra chili kits and stash them in the pantry. Measuring out the spices takes the most time, so plan ahead for those nights when you don’t have enough prep time.
- Serve with lots of topping. Provide shredded cheese, chopped onions, sour cream, sliced avocado, crushed corn chips, and hot sauce on the side. Let your guest customize their chili according to their taste.
- Chili freezes beautifully. Cool the chili to room temperature before filling freezer bags halfway. Let chili defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Here’s a list of what you need:
- Ground beef
- Dehydrated onion
- Dehydrated garlic
- Cayenne pepper
- Chili powder
- Dried oregano
- Tomato sauce
- Masa, optional
In the box of 2 Alarm chili spices, you will find a packet labeled “red pepper”. We are substituting cayenne for the red pepper. Cayenne is a type of red pepper.
Masa will thicken the chili if desired. You could leave it out as well. It depends on how thick you like your chili.
While it is controversial for some, I always add beans to my chili. I know many fine people who are against adding beans to chili, and that’s ok. Red kidney beans, pinto beans, or even canned chili beans all work well.
What makes this recipe unique is that you control the heat with the cayenne pepper. If you don’t like your chili too spicy, don’t add the cayenne pepper at all. If you like it a little spicy, add half of the cayenne pepper, and if you want it spicier add all of the cayenne pepper.
How to Make 2 Alarm Chili
- Brown the beef in a large pot or Dutch oven.
- Drain the beef and return it to the pot.
- Add the spices and stir in thoroughly.
- Add tomato sauce and water.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.
- Simmer for about 30 minutes.
- To thicken the chili, combine masa and hot water and stir until smooth.
- Pour the masa mixture into the chili.
- Cook until the chili thickens and serve.
Here are a few ideas on how to change this recipe:
- Instead of adding water, add tomato juice. The tomato juice can really intensify the flavor of the chili.
- Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Chipotle powder. Chipotle powder is made from smoked jalapenos. The chipotle powder adds lots of smoke without adding a lot of heat.
- Swap the paprika for smoked paprika to add a nice bit of smoke to the chili.
- Use a coarse grind of beef, ground brisket is amazing.
- Create a topping bar for your chili containing Fritos, shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and sliced green onion tops.
Love Chili? Try these recipes!
- Chilis Chili
- Wendy’s Chili
- Chili Verde
- Quick Chili Recipe
- Midwestern Chili
- Coney Island Chili
- Cincinnati Chili Recipe
- Five Way Chili
- WW White Chicken Chili
More Copycat Product Recipes
Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons masa
- 2 teaspoons dehydrated onion (1/2 cup chopped fresh onion)
- 1/2 teaspoon dehydrated garlic (1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 16 ounces water
- Brown the beef in a large pot or dutch oven. Drain beef.
- Add the spices (with the exception of the masa) and stir in thoroughly. Add tomato sauce and water. If desired add 1 (14 ounce) can of beans. Reduce temperature to simmer.
- SSimmer for about 30 minutes. If you want to thicken the chili, mix the masa in a 1/4 cup of hot water. Stir the masa until smooth. Pour the masa mixture into the chili. Cook until the chili thickens and serve.