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.
Let me say, that the Wick Fowler packages are handy, and they make putting together a family-sized batch of chili together in no time so easy.
Maybe your spice cabinet is already full, so why not use what you already have on hand? These packages of chili mix are sold in the grocery store, they run just under 3 dollars. They portion the spices out for you perfectly. I am a big believer in using what you have on hand, instead of buying pre-made packages if you can avoid it.
The spice base of this recipe contains paprika, masa, dehydrated onion and garlic, salt, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and chili powder. Chances are you already have the paprika, salt, cumin, oregano, and chili powder on hand. You can use fresh onion and garlic if desired.
You may want to purchase some masa. The masa will thicken the chili if desired. You could leave it out as well, it depends on how thick you like your chili. In the box of spices, you will find a packet labeled “red pepper”, we are substituting cayenne for the red pepper. Cayenne is a type of red pepper.
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. I have added red kidney beans to the batch pictured here, but pinto beans, or even canned chili beans all work well.
You can make this chili in about 30 minutes, it does taste better the second day, and it is perfect to warm up on a cold day, or brown bag it at work.
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.
Upgrade Wick Fowler Chili
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, 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
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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. Simmer 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.