clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What are the appropriate chili fixings? Finally, the debate settled.


We’ve shared our writers’ best chili recipes with you. Now, it’s time for the controversial stuff: What should you be putting on, in, and around that chili?

While I finally got off my duff and compiled all this like I’d promised long along, you’d be remiss if you also didn’t stop by Every Day Should Be Saturday to understand why (or why not—I’m not sure if Spencer can fire me, but I’d prefer if he didn’t) Skyline Chili is, in fact, a gumbo. Or not. Maybe it’s a jambalaya? I’m not really sure where we came out on this.

1: What fixings should you serve with chili?

Jesse Collins: I serve my chili with a mix of sliced jalapenos, chopped scallions, freshly shredded sharp cheddar, fritos, sour cream, queso if I can find it, and if I’m fancy and have had time? cinnamon rolls without frosting and/or jalapeno cheddar cornbread.

At that point, it’s on you how you want to do it. My go-to is fritos, cheese/queso, and a touch of sour cream and scallion. The heat in this chili is usually enough to where I don’t want jalapenos, but I’m in Texas and they don’t mess around down here with heat.

Boilerman31: Usually some saltines and some shredded cheddar cheese. Maybe some homemade cornbread. Keep it simple.

DJ Carver: Sour cream, jalapeño slices if you want more heat, diced up onion, cheese. Fritos as a vessel if you so choose.

Beez: Should? Sour cream, shredded cheese, Fritos, hot sauce of really any kind.

You also may serve it with rice, but that’s a Southern thing in my experience, and although it’s sensible and delicious, I still often skip it.

2: What is the worst kind of chili, and why is it Skyline?

Jesse: I’ve never had skyline but it sounds gross.

My real answer to the worst chili are the ones that are too tomato-driven and just blown out by acidity. The sour flavor of the tomato doesn’t allow for sweet and salty and it sucks.

Boilerman31: I’ve never had Skyline and I’m just fine with that.

Stew: Skyline is an abomination unto the Lord.

Beez: I’ve never had Skyline brand chili, but my friend makes his own version of it and it’s amazeballs delicious. Basically the most delicious pasta sauce ever.

MNW: This is the one place I will step in to note that while I have never been to Cincinnati (I make it a point never to go to the South unless specifically required to), I certainly did my time in Milwaukee, and there, the drunk food du jour is Real Chili.

I guarantee you each drunk sconnie (apologies for redundancy; fixed) here at OTE has a Real Chili story of some kind, and if they don’t, they haven’t lived.

Real Chili, the spaghetti sauce that it is, claims to pre-date Skyline Chili by 17 years (and, better yet, was originally served out of the basement of the Jesuit Residence on campus):
Some people call their product “Cincinnati style,” but technically speaking, Real Chili predates its Ohio counterpart by at least 17 years (and much longer if you count the Green Bay recipe). As for the Milwaukee location, it was originally in the basement of the Jesuit rectory on the Marquette University campus. It moved to 15th and Wells, and after a fire, it moved next door briefly, finally settling at 1625 W. Wells St. and 419 E. Wells St.

Having been drunk and in both of those establishments (Double Hot, cheese and onions, extra oyster crackers), I can say that Real Chili...has its time and place. And that time and place was usually when I was stumbling out of one of the neighboring bars.

3: Should chili ever be served over cinnamon rolls, and why not?

Jesse: Chili and Cinnamon Rolls are a good combo. No problems with it. Usually prefer without icing in these situations as the point is just to have a nice bread to sop the juice up. The cinnamon compliments the cocoa and coffee notes I have for a bitter element and brown sugar actually can help balance out the saltiness of everything.

Boilerman31: Cinnamon Rolls on the side, just like in my school daze in Indiana. It does make for a magical combination.

Stew: Cinnamon rolls as a side to chili is absolutely sublime and a will hear no arguments.

Beez: Sure! Also, the kids I hang out with call cinnamon rolls “donuts,” which would be pretty good with chili on them too.

4: Do you get’cher dadgum chili hot?

Boilerman31: I allow it to get hot but not so hot that your asshole puckers at the thought of chili night.

Beez: Nope. You could swap my bell pepper out for a jalapeno, if you want, but many of the people I like the most, and who get my chili basically delivered to them, don’t like spicy foods. Some because they’re kids, some because they’re adults who don’t like heat. But as I’ve said, hot sauce is an essential fixin, so you can get it as hot as you’d like!

MNW: I do, and I prefer it to lose in embarrassing fashion at home to Bowling Green and North Dakota State (but still beating Puntin’ Miami!) and wasting the career of Adam Weber.


Worst kind of chili?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    (19 votes)
  • 71%
    (66 votes)
  • 7%
    Other (comments)
    (7 votes)
92 votes total Vote Now