I have rules when it comes to a great Chili.  It is essential that they are followed in order to maximize the experience with one of the world's most perfect food.

Chili Must Be Homemade

Credit: MackoFlower
Credit: MackoFlower

I am not saying that every ingredient has to be started from scratch, but it must be a mixture of ingredients that are cooked on the stove using a recipe.  NO CANNED CHILI.  I am sure many of you will argue that you know of a brand that is great heated up from a can.  This could be fine for your tastes, but for me, homemade is it.

Chili Must be Made With BEEF.

Food Price Inflation Drives Grocery Store Prices Of Meat And Poultry Up
Credit: Justin Sullivan / StaffGetty Images

Beef should be the primary meat ingredient in your chili.  I do not believe in chicken chili, there is no such thing.  Don't even mention vegetarian.  Beans are fine, just so the ratio of meat to beans means I am hunting for a piece of meat.  Simple math, 70% meat, 30% beans will do fine.

Chili Must Be Naturally Spicy

Jalapeno pepper isolated on white with clipping path.
Credit: epantha

When I get my chili in the bowl, it must be almost too spicy to eat.  I am addicted to that lingering hot spice flavor that you can only get from a great chili.  This comes from the flavors that are placed in the pot while cooking.  I do not want to add hot sauce or red chili peppers.  That just is not the same.  Sure it heats it up, but full-flavored spice comes through cooking it into the chili itself.

There Must Be Cornbread

Cast iron skillet with cornbread resting on a wooden background.
Credit: AimeeLeeStudios, Getty Stock, Thinkstock

Don't even attempt to serve chili at my table without cornbread on the side.  Unlike the chili itself, the cornbread can be made out of a box.  I don't even care what brand it is, just so there is plenty of it.  I like to eat it with just butter along with my chili and then for dessert, add honey to a big piece.  Nothing is better.

Chili Must Be Plentiful.  Leftovers are Required

fresh grilled hot dog with mustard chili and onions

After the initial feast, there must be at least an equal amount remaining for chili's multiple uses. The next couple of days are filled with chili dogs, chili burgers, chili over cornbread, and finally another chili dog. Find the largest pot you have and fill it up, please.

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These rules are easy to follow.  This is not a contest, just some basics that make chili what it was intended to be, comfort food for cooler months.  There is nothing that tastes like it and it is easy to make.

One last word of advice.  Don't ever judge a Chili Cookoff.  It is a lot of fun and tastes wonderful during the event, but after, not fun.  Not fun at all.

LOOK: Best Beers From Every State

To find the best beer in each state and Washington D.C., Stacker analyzed January 2020 data from BeerAdvocate, a website that gathers user scores for beer in real-time. BeerAdvocate makes its determinations by compiling consumer ratings for all 50 states and Washington D.C. and applying a weighted rank to each. The weighted rank pulls the beer toward the list's average based on the number of ratings it has and aims to allow lesser-known beers to increase in rank. Only beers with at least 10 rankings to be considered; we took it a step further to only include beers with at least 100 user rankings in our gallery. Keep reading to find out what the best beer is in each of the 50 states and Washington D.C.

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