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Chili Bun



Chili Bun

1 hot dog bun

Ball park mustard

About 4-5 tablespoons Chili Bun Chili (recipe follows)

Chopped white onion

Hot sauce to taste

Chili Bun Chili

1 cup flat beer or water

1 pound lean ground beef

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

6 saltine crackers, finely crushed (1/8 cup cracker meal)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons New Mexico ground red chile, or cayenne

1 teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon cinnamon


For the Chili:

  1. Put the beer and ground beef in an unheated medium saucepan. Use your fingers to gently break apart beef by rubbing pieces lightly until it makes a slurry with the liquid. You don’t want chunks or lumps.
  2. Stir in garlic, salt and cracker crumbs and place over medium high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring as you do to keep it from sticking to the bottom of pot.
  3. Turn heat to medium low and cook mixture, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Cook until liquid has largely evaporated. The chili should be a finely grained aggregate that holds its shape on the spoon.
  4. Stir in tomato paste to incorporate. Remove from heat and stir in the spices. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

To assemble: 

  1. Lightly paint the inside of the hot dog bun with yellow mustard.
  2. Pack chili into bun, starting with spoonful in center that you smooth in with the back of a spoon. Add more, moving out to either end and smoothing lightly as you go, until bun is filled. (You’re not making a sloppy joe; chili should be firm in the bun.)
  3. Top with chopped onion to taste—lots is better. Pass hot sauce on side for those who want to spike it up.

Chef’s Note: I like Hefeweizen, so I pour out the cup of beer to go flat and then drink the rest. The citrus and coriander notes in the Hefeweizen probably don’t survive the slow simmer, but I like to think they do. You can use any light flavored beer, but not a stout or porter. Cheap beer is traditional.

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