Cincinnati "Skyline" Chili

Skyline Chili from Cincinnati
  • 4 hrs 21 mins
  • Prep: 21 mins,
  • Cook: 4 hrs
  • Yield: 6 servings
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This famous chili recipe was created by Nicholas Lambrinides, a Greek immigrant who founded a popular chain of chili restaurants in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1949. The inventor's Greek roots can clearly be seen in the unique blend of spices. As you'll see, this chili is quite different from the more common southwest-style chili you're probably used to. The secrets to this recipe are the long slow cooking as well as the overnight refrigeration, which allow for all the excess fat to be removed. I've also included the five ways to order this wonderfully different chili in a restaurant, which is usually served over spaghetti.

What You'll Need

  • 1 quart cold water
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cups crushed tomato
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • cooked spaghetti to serve chili over, optional

How to Make It

  1. Add beef and water to a 4-quart pot. Bring to a simmer while stirring until the ground beef is in very small pieces. Simmer for 30 minutes and add all the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Simmer uncovered on low  for 3 hours. Add water as needed if the chili becomes too thick.
  3. Refrigerated the chili overnight; the next day, remove the layer of fat from the top before reheating and serving.

The Cincinnati "Skyline" Chili Ordering Code

  1. Just the chili
  2. Chili served over spaghetti
  3. Chili, spaghetti, and grated Cheddar cheese
  4. Chili, spaghetti, cheese, and onions
  5. Chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans

All are served with oyster crackers.