Cooking: Cincinnati Chili? The Sky Is The Limit!

R Dub’s Version of a Legendary Cincinnati Chili

I know, I know. R Dub has blogged about chili twice already. True, but…

My first chili blog “Chilly Outside, Chili Inside” featured R Dubs award winning chili that is a little left of center compared to what most people would consider traditional chili. But hey! The judges put the blue ribbon on it and that’s good by me.

Chilly Outside, Chili Inside celebrated the type of chili that is filled in a bowl and spooned up. My second chili blog entitle “Dog’s Best Friend” feature chili that is specifically designed to cover a hotdog.

Today’s blog is one that is not made locally and is designed to be either ladled over noodles or filling all of the spaces between and atop a hotdog in its bun. A hybrid chili if you will. This chili is WAY left of center.

In that first chili blog I mentioned three places where I love to sit down and pay to enjoy a nice healthy portion of this comfort food. Chili John’s in good old BD, Real Chili in Milwaukee, and Skyline Chili in Cincinnati.

We can enjoy Chili John’s and Real Chili most anytime we want. But jumping on a plane or driving 12 hours to enjoy a heaping helping of chili is not an immediate plan most any day. The actual recipe for Skyline Chili is a secret, but many of the ingredients are rumored and are fairly easy for the palate to pull out when tasting.

What is meant by palate? Palate can refer to three different things: the roof of your mouth, your sense of taste, or your aesthetic preference. In this case I’m referring to our sense of taste. A fork full of Skyline Chili is chocked full of many tastes not usually thought of when eating chili.

(That’s correct, I typed FORK full, not spoon full. Skyline Chili is thick enough to eat with a fork and have little left on your plate afterward.)

Disclaimer: The following recipe is NOT from that famous Ohio diner, it is my best guess and to be honest, I got pretty darned close. Try it, you will like it.

Ingredients that are rumored to be in this chili are cinnamon, chocolate, sugar.

Recently I watched Sam The Cooking Guy make his version of this Cincinnati classic. As usual, Sam altered the “recipe” to his taste. We did the same with Sam’s recipe.

Let’s go with the ingredients and cooking instructions combined:

Ingredients minus the ham stock.

3/4 diced onion – We sauteed it in avocado or EVOO oil for 3 or 4 minutes

Sauteed onions in avocado oil


1 clove pressed garlic

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon oregano

2 teaspoons cinnamon

and 1 teaspoon allspice and mix


2 cups (Sam used beef broth) we used ham stock

1 oz dark chocolate

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 splashes of Worcestershire sauce, mix and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat

Add 2 pounds of uncooked ground (Sam used beef) we used pork. Bring the mixture to a boil while breaking up the ground meat to small chunks. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 35 – 40 minutes uncovered. Sam used a wider and shorter pan then we did. Mine took 50 minutes to reduce, but the taste was worth the wait! I added a drained can of red beans in mild chili sauce, Sam did not. His is a four way, mine is a five way. Whats’ the difference? I’m glad you asked.

The skyline menu will let you enjoy their chili in a 3 way, 4 way, 5 way or on a coney dog.

3 Way: Noodles topped with chili and cheese.

4 Way: Noodles topped with chili, cheese and either onions or beans.

5 Way: Noodles topped with chili, cheese, onion and beans.

Noodle base
Chili with beans (Skyline would have these in separate serving bins and top one at a time)
Raw diced onion!
Heaped with cheddar cheese! They will put more than this on!

Published by R Dub's Rub

Conversational BLOG writer and contributing writer for LocaLeben magazine. My BLOG entries represent observations that intrigue, amuse, inspire or stimulate my appetite.

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